Antique cedar chest can be found at nearly any garage sale, but understanding what differentiates between old and antique is only the beginning of the search process.
Antique cedar chests were often associated with older women, containing their deepest secrets including a dowry, quilts, and photos and clothing which were saved in anticipation of a wedding day. The memories contained in them encouraged the colloquial term “hope chest”. Estate sales, attics, basements, and yard sales are often a great place to not only purchase a chest, but to purchase the memories which are contained therein. A cedar chest was a traditional gift meant for young couples at their wedding. They were meant to store items such as blankets, bedding, the wedding dress, clothes, or special items for the bride. They were brought as the main—and sometimes only—transportable storage facility when families moved from one place to another. Now the tradition of giving cedar chests has transformed into giving it as gift for weddings, anniversaries, or holidays.
Vintage vs Antique
While a piece might seem perfect for you, from your 99-year old grandmother, it might not qualify as an antique for another year. Anything which is between thirty and one hundred years is deemed vintage while those things over one hundred years old are antiques.
Those cedar chests which were created before the 20th century are very rare. These antique cedar chests amount to costs upwards of thousands. The chests created during this time are unique because of the fact that they were created during a period of time where they were made by hand. The time and energy required to make such pieces are revealed in the woodwork. At the corners of these chests one will notice the trapezoidal cuts at the dovetail corners. The ones which are uneven demonstrate the cuts made by hand by skilled woodworkers who devoted hours to their tasks. Lane Furniture as well as Ed. Roos were popular cedar chest manufacturers during the 20thcentury, whose designs were produced in bulk and can still amount to larger value for those rare styles among them.
While an antique cedar chest might appear to be shabby or worn, this does not negate its value. Original condition is of course worth more in terms of an investment but might not contain as much of the antique appeal that is associated with a used cedar chest full of memories. The visible wear is referred to as a “patina” and can contribute to its value dramatically.
There are many features and styles that antique cedar chests may boast. The ornamentation is a reflection on the manufacturer or the woodworker and can increase the value of the piece. The largest cedar chests are referred to as blanket chests for the obvious reason that they hold blankets. Because of their size and durability, these are worth more than smaller versions. Plainer items might mean more to collectors because of the rural families or associations which they represent, while richly features pieces whose hardware and inlays are reflective of decorative craftsmanship can be considered more valuable. Antique cedar chests which have hand-carved ornaments and those which are unusual—such as multiple-drawer models or high-legged models—attract a higher value.
Drawers of Secrets
Bargains and treasures can be found simultaneously. Older models of hope chests can not only serve as a treasure or a bargain, but as an economic storage facility and attractive decoration for any room in your household. They serve as perfect gifts for friends and primarily for family. Their function as the perfect storage facility because they can be placed in the centre of a room and used simultaneously as storage for guest blankets and pillows as well as a coffee table or foot rest. When placed in a bedroom they can be used as footboard of sorts, a bench, as well as a storage facility for additional blankets, movies, tools, pillows, clothes, or bathroom accessories. The scent these natural wood pieces provide any room acts as a natural air freshener and is often associated with the image of a wood cabin in the mountains.
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