QUESTION: Recently purchased this. I have been researching a bit. This chest is rather rough. Artwork is similar to some...but all that I have seen have black unicorns. The only thing I know is that the sellers mom purchased it in an antique store in PA.
It looks like a very interesting old chest, however it is very difficult to evaluate an item such as this from pictures, because it sometimes takes a close inspection to tell if the painted decorations are original and/or touched up as well as the style of any hardware, hinges, etc.. It does look like a very old chest with pegged construction, however to me I'm not so sure the decorations are original. The wear on them doesn't appear to be quite consistent with the chest condition and I may be wrong about this but I don't recall seeing the silver color used on early chests. But while I've seen a number of similar PA Dutch chests over the years I can't really call myself an expert on those as I specialize more in the travel trunks, their hardware and history. I think you would need a very knowledgeable antiques dealer or appraiser to inspect this to tell the age and value.
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QUESTION: Is there someone you would recommend in the central NJ/Phila area?
While I don't know anyone specific in that area personally, for an item such as that I would recommend an expert appraiser such as TimeTravelerAntiques.com in Princeton, NJ. You can find detailed information about them online. But you may be able to find someone else by calling some reputable antique dealers in your area. Good luck.
I can answer questions related to antique trunks, their age, manufacturers, styles, patents, etc, including all types of trunks such as steamer trunks, saratoga trunks, Victorian trunks, slat trunks, toy and doll trunks, stagecoach trunks, valises, hat trunks, and others.
I have over 40 years experience in trunk restoration, collecting, and research. I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc. related to antique trunks. I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.
Organizations Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.
Publications Primarily on the website www.ThisOldTrunk.com
Cotton & Quail Antiques newspaper (Southeast). Antique Journal magazine.
Education/Credentials Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia. I have conducted extensive research related to the topic of trunk manufacturers and trunk styles in the U.S. and Europe.
Past/Present Clients Have consulted for the Pawn Stars TV show on antique trunks.
I have sold antique trunks to museums in California and Florida and to customers around the world.