- Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:23
- Published on Wednesday, 11 March 2009 19:23
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A writer from Northumberland County asks about this spool cabinet which his mother bought at an antique shop in Sandy Spring, Maryland, about 60 years ago, for a price of $30. Much later she had it re-finished, otherwise remains as she purchased it. The wood appears to be maple and pine, and the knobs are original.
This is a fine example of store furnishings. The cabinet was both the container of and display for Clark's sewing thread in a dry goods store which sold their products. It dates from the 1880s, and looks to be in great condition.
Unfortunately, the four etched glass draw-front signs denoting the contents of each are gone. I suspect individual ones might be available through the internet. If so, I recommend replacing them to make the piece complete. Sadly, many of these cabinets lost the glass signage when inexperienced antiques afficianados thought they were making improvements by removing them.
Almost certainly, the legs are not original, rather likely having been added to allow the piece to serve in a private home. In the stores, such pieces rested on the countertops, but the legs do not hurt the piece, and make it more serviceable. Today these cabinets often are used as silver chests in dining rooms, as the small drawers work well for storing silver flatware.
I hope all of the writer's mother's investments were as successful as the purchase of this spool cabinet. Today it would be worth $300, and the family has had the use of it all these years that it has appreciated in value. The re-finishing probably did not add to the value, but these are such popular items that it also probably did not hurt the value.
Again, the best course to take would be to pursue getting the glass panels for the drawerfronts, thereby returning the cabinet to a more pristine condition.
• Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.
The appraisal service began in 1976. Write to him there, or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered." Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.