Discover Vintage America - SEPTEMBER 2015

Victor Victrola defined the record player for Americans

Q: My husband and I purchased this hall tree about 50 years ago at an antique store. At the time we purchased it the shop owner was unable to tell us anything about its origin or age. Any information that you can pass on to me would be greatly appreciated.

A: I have had the pleasure of examining this antique hall tree in person and it is a beautiful English Victorian piece. I actually found this exact piece in one of my furniture reference books. The maker is unattributed.

Victorian furniture is generally considered to be pieces made during the reign of Queen Victoria, 1830-1901. It was during this period that we saw the transition from primarily handcrafted furniture to the introduction of machines to do most of the time consuming labor. This allowed the middle class to own quality wood furniture at affordable prices.

I know that the condition is near perfect with some minor separation of the wood in the curvatures of the umbrella holder and that you also have a few extra pegs all of which are original to the hall tree. In its current condition it would sell for $1,800 - $2,000.

(The owner is ready to sell so if you are interested in this English Victorian hall tree, which is crated and ready to ship please contact me. The asking price is $1,500 plus freight charges.)


Unlike some of the popular TV appraisal shows I don't have "a team of colleagues" who can assist me with identifying items that stump me. So for this reason I need your help.

At a recent appraisal event a photo of the above item was presented to me to identify and place a value on. I have used every avenue I can think of and cannot determine what this might have been used for. I know that it is marked "Italy."

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated please email me with your observations and ideas.

Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one-on-one appraisal.