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What's It Worth?

Bedroom Set That Has English Look

November 11, 2000|KATHY BRYANT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

WHAT IS IT?

A five-piece bedroom set, comprising a mirror, two night stands, a dresser and a highboy. The pieces are made of oak with a mahogany veneer.

WHAT'S THE LEGEND?

"I bought this set three years ago," says Trabuco Canyon resident Suzanne Ellis. "The man I bought it from said that it had been his parents' furniture. He thought it had been made in the 1930s. When they died he had it shipped here from New York.

"We paid $1,000 for the whole set. We had the furniture refinished and the refinisher said that it was excellent-quality furniture, with dovetailed drawers and joints. This was our first experience with buying antique or older furniture and it has inspired us to purchase more."

WHAT'S ITS HISTORY?

Tom Stansbury, owner of Tom Stansbury Antiques in Newport Beach, confirms that this is good-quality furniture. "It is definitely American-made," he says. "However, it's difficult to say whether it was made in the 1930s, '40s or '50s. This style, an adaptation of English Georgian mixed with neoclassical, wasn't really being done in the 1930s."

This furniture is typical of many made in the 20th century; it copies an antique English style and adds an American twist. The marking on the furniture says it was made by Hellam Furniture, a company that seems to no longer exist.

WHY IS IT

POPULAR TODAY?

Although not technically an antique because it's less than 100 years old, furniture like this is prized because it is well made and usually sells for less than new furniture of the same quality. To hold on to its value, it's better not to refinish furniture.

WHAT'S IT

WORTH TODAY?

Stansbury estimates that the night stands would sell for about $300 each, the chest of drawers would bring $1,000 and the highboy $800.

WHERE CAN I FIND IT?

Garage sales and estate sales are the best sources for this kind of furniture. Some antique or collectible stores also carry it. Selected pieces can be found on auction sites on the Internet.

For more information about furniture collecting, read "Antique Furniture" by John Andrews (Antique Collectors' Club, 1998, $25).

* To have an item considered for this column, send information, a photograph of it and a phone number to: What's It Worth?, Home Design, The Times' Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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