Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Age of furniture


QUESTION: I am purchasing this piece of furniture from my grandfather, he said 20 years ago he was going to sell it for $1000. I am interested in the piece because I feel it is a antique. It says Maddox on the back with a orange sticker and has 3 lines , but I didn't write down the information. I have attached a picture, can you give me an idea of the age or worth.

ANSWER: 1920-40 mahogany veneer and sweet gum wood secretary with bookcase top often called a governor winthrop desk although he never had one.
Maddox made quality furniture.

the top arches are called swan neck or broken arch with pediment.
desk section is called a slant front or fall front.
drawers are called serpentine shaped.
feet are ball and claw.

retail in a shop 850-1200 depending on condition.

hope this helps

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I just have a followup if you don't mind. I had someone who supposedly knew about it say it looked to be from the 1950's and around $200 at auction. Why the variance? He also said it was mahogany veneer, but he said it was hard to tell by picture ,but looked to be from the 1950's. I have no plans to part with it, I plan to buy it for $400 from my grandfather who is looking to sell stuff. Thank you.

Hope this will help explain:

I would say the variance could be that they dont know what they are talking about.  Or, and more politely and friendly towards the other party, say that I am not there with my hands on the furniture and yes, there were made up to the day Maddox closed in the 1980s and I missed on the date.  So to be certain I would want to see the back, inside the drawer holes, the drawer joints, close up of the woodgrain in the top, sides, doors and interior, and the labeling and wear on the piece but about wear, I have bought very old pieces out of homes that looked pristine so you have to go back to materials and methods used for construction.  More, any manufactured piece could have a 20-40 year lap of using the same machinery.

at auction these sell at 400-450, i know because i have bought several and have two or three in my shop.  I sell them after cleaning up and doing any repair needed at the price i quoted as retail.  There is a wide variance of quality in these.

I assume it is the Maddox Table Company in Jamestown, NY.  which may have a brass label on the back with an ox on it.

some info from my files:
The Maddox Table Company began operation in 1898. It ceased operation around 1985. It was founded by William Maddox, son of an English immigrant, who invented a variety of furniture making machines, , which he sold to manufacturers throughout the United States.

Mr. Maddox owed much of his success as a table manufacturer to his invention of a machine for polishing wooden table tops. As late as 1900 however, the principal machines in the furniture factories were slash saws, band saws, planers, moulders and shapers, and many operations continued to be done by hand. It was the mechanization of the industry and the fact that many of the Jamestown companies were small operations unable to afford to update, that lead to the demise of the industry in Jamestown.

One of the first furniture manufacturers in the United States to trademark his products, in 1898, Mr. Maddox sent a showman named Cedarine Allen on a world-wide promotional tour to Great Britain, Spain, Egypt, Arabia, Ceylon, Malaya, China, and Japan.

In 1919 the Maddox family sold its table making business to the Shearman Brothers Lounge Company. In 1978 the company was again sold to the Crawford Furniture Manufacturing Company.

Some of this information is from an article by Paul A. Spengler titled The Furniture Industry, published by the Fenton History Center in Our Town Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 7.  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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