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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5772
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I have a "barrel" chair that my mother found in a basement

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I have a "barrel" chair that my mother found in a basement in Massachusetts in 1956. It is oval in shape and the back is slatted and is level with the arms (looks connected all the way around. The only other time I have seen one is online someone was selling as an arts & crafts chair. The foot style is basic queen ann.
JA: I always love having an appraiser look at my stuff. Sometimes its turned out to be surprisingly valuable. Is there anything else important you think the Antiques Appraiser should know?
Customer: Not really, the chair is very hard to discribe

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your chair.

Could you very kindly attach a photo of it and one of the underside of the seat, and any other distinctive details in many have.

Many thanks,


PS. Once you have the photos in your computer (if you are using a smart phone camera, just email them to yourself) it's then a simple matter to attach them. Just click on the paperclip icon, located above the text box where you are typing to me. If there's no paperclip, click on the "Add files" tab.

You need to be logged in to the JustAnswer site to do this. You can’t do it from email.

If you get stuck go here for help.

Alternatively, if you can collar a passing teenager with an iPhone they would have photos posted here in about two minutes.

Thanks R.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Here's the best pic I could get

Thanks for the photo, however it came through very small, so I can't see much detail.

It seems like you may not have the chair available to photograph, at the moment, which I quite understand and I maybe can work with the image you sent. If it is to hand, however, could you attach a photo of the underside and a clear close up of the woodwork.

Many thanks,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Here's a better picture.

Thanks for the photo, that's a better one! Do you have the seat for it?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No. Seat is missing & I can't find a makers mark anywhere.

Okay, no seat, I understand.

Leave this with me and I'll have an answer for you as soon as I can. It will be tomorrow morning at this stage as it's gotten late here, I'm on Eastern Time. I hope that's okay.

Have a great night,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for your patience, I've been seeing if it's possible to trace the maker of your chair, however, to cut a long story short, none of these distinctive barrel back chairs with shaped slats and cabriole legs, has been found with a factory or maker's name, and no records survive as to who made them.

What what we do know is that they date to the first quarter of the 1900s at a time when this barrel form was fashionable and when Arts & Crafts and Mission Oak features were incorporated into the design of factory made chairs such as this one.

Originally, the finish would have been a stained oak or mahogany and looked like this one with a padded and embroidery upholstered seat.

Most of the examples I found in the sales records tended to have structural condition issues, which I notice yours has too (where a steel plate has been added to brace the joint at the top of the back leg) and which seems to be design flaw with these.

As for values, this example, sold at auction for $60 and this example sold for $10 (it was damaged in the same place as yours) so I'm afraid to say the value of yours, without its seat, with a later covering of paint over the original finish, and with the damage to the seat rail is effectively zero, but would certainly make a great foundation for a restoration.

I hope this is not too disappointing and you won't shoot the messenger! But you'd be doubly disappointed if I gave you false hope that it was worth $$$, if and when you came to sell it.

I do hope this helps!

Please let me know if you'd like me to explain or expand on any of the above, I would be glad to.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you so much! Not looking to sell it, just restore it.

So glad to hear you are going to restore it! It will be quite the project, but the finished result will be well worth it, I'm sure.

Good for you!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you again! It will stay in my family for probably the next 60 years ��

Wonderful! You go girl!

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