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Antiques: Match holder could strike a high value

Delhi News-Record 2019-08-13 02:16:11

Elk match holder. Supplied

Q I came across a wood carving and have no idea what it is or what is was used for. The animal looks like the head of an elk. It’s about 15 cm long (six inches). The bottom metal piece that swivels to cover the opening does not look original. There is also something missing at the top between the antlers. I appreciate if you have the time or if you know what it is. Hope you have a good day. Thanks.

Andrew, Iroquois, Ontario

A I believe the elk suggests this is bijouterie for a hunter – a decorative match holder likely made of walnut. The hand carving is wonderful and the checkered background gives many surfaces to scratch the match. It will date around 1890 and 1910. The cover was probably a hinged, snug-fitting single piece of wood. The hole between the antlers is threaded and is the attachment point for a toggle to attach to a vest. The patina begs cleaning but I wouldn’t touch it. This is rare – possibly unique – and competition can be fierce when all the ducks are aligned. In a related field a rare carved duck call sold in 2012 in an auction of duck decoys for $100,000 by a known American carver – one that had never left the family hands, it was gifted by the carver in the 1920s. Even though yours needs a small bit of attention I would start the auction at $1,000 and let it go from there.

Q My parents were given a beautiful hand-worked marble lamp with stand. It belonged to my grandmother’s maternal great aunt and uncle. He was a stone mason who made tombstones and they purchased it in Europe quite a while ago. I cannot find anything even remotely close to this. We cannot find any markings on the lamp or pedestal. The lamp is 57 cm high and the pedestal is 110 cm high from the floor (22.5 and 43.25 inches). Hopefully you can shed some light. Thanks.

Nathan, Kingston, Ontario

Marble lamp. Supplied

A These lamps, made primarily in Italy, are most often described as Art Deco alabaster/marble from the 1920s and 30s. Yours may be a little of both but it does not affect value greatly. Emilio Fiaschi is one artist of note associated with these lamps. This lamp is rare, if not unique, with the elaborate shade with a pierce-carved leaf and scroll edge. The pedestal (not shown) with the octagonal foot, Corinthian pillar section, a rope twist and leaf and scroll capital topped with a square platform is far better than most. It is worth $450. The lamp is the better part of the value. The two together are awesome and total $1,250.

Q I purchased this pair of chairs for $200 in 2007 from an antique dealer who could only tell me they had just arrived from an embassy. I like the way these two chairs are mirror images of each other. I had one reupholstered and discovered that a portion of the back frame had been “splinted” using a yard stick to support the back for all that time. The second chair is all original. They are very comfortable and are 104 cm high by 63 cm wide (41 x 25 inches). I am curious about their age, style and value and look forward to learning something about them.

Pam, Ottawa, Ontario

Louis XV chair pair. Supplied

A Your fine armchairs are based on the lavish styles of the reign of King Louis XV from the mid-1700s in France. Note that every piece of the chair frame is curved – there are no straight lines. The scrolls and carved details typify rococo and baroque tastes. The opposing lattice work pairing is not common in furniture. The style remained popular from the 1700s, making dating difficult in many cases. Your chairs date to the earlier part of the 20th century. They are often very solid and made of beechwood. They suit modern-day tastes with the French Provincial painted cream finish. This lends itself to modern-day tastes in repainting furniture. Your pair will carry a tag of $500 today.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To submit an item to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at www.johnsewellantiques.ca. Please measure your piece, say when and how you got it, what you paid and list any identifying marks. A high-resolution jpeg photo must also be included. (Only email submissions accepted.)

* Appraisal values are estimates only.*