"You said this piece has been in your family since the early 1950s, when
your mother purchased it at an estate sale. Correct? Well, the Philadelphia
Chippendale side chair was a prime example of true artisan craftsmanship in
colonial America from about the mid-1750s to just after the Revolution, as
some of the finest cabinetmakers in the world resided in Philadelphia
during this period. The rocaille shell, acanthus leaves, and cabriole legs
with claw-and-ball feet were hallmarks of this style.
"However, this is not a Philadelphia chair. You have the Hoboken stool.
This was a poorly-conceived furnishing that no doubt would have been an
embarrassment to someone had that person possessed any sense of taste. Note
the lack of technical proficiency in the assembly, as well as, the absence
of any artful lines. Frankly, cordwood has more value. Had this been a
Philadelphia chair, I would expect it-in excellent condition and with no
restoration-to bring up to $35,000 at auction, certainly enough to have
someone well on the way to a gently-used double wide and a new satellite
dish. Your mother chose poorly, but I appreciate your bringing it to the
show so our viewers might know what to avoid when browsing those
treacherous junk sales. Thank you so much."
Paul Weidknecht’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rosebud, Shenandoah, The Los Angeles Review, Pisgah Review, The Comstock Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Yale Anglers’ Journal and Outdoor Life, among others. He has been awarded a scholarship to The Norman Mailer Writers Colony and is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC. For more, please visit: www.paulweidknecht.com.