Can you give me the approximate age and value of the pictured chair from the following information? On the seat bottom: “Colonial, S bent & Bros, Gardner, Mass; Chairs, 513; 017; ANT 30” — R.G.
Your chair was made by the S Bent & Brothers, a furniture company established in 1867. They closed in 2000. At one time Gardner, Mass., was known as the “Chair Capitol of the World.” Other well-known furniture companies located there were Conant-Ball, Heywood-Wakefield and Baumritter, the company that became Ethan Allen.
S. Bent and Brothers was known for producing well-made, high-quality furniture. They specialized in the style known as “Colonial Revival.” The two most common primary woods are maple and ash stained to look like oak. S Bent & Brothers were known for their well-made chairs, especially the Windsor type. They also produced dining room tables and other types of household furnishings. From the number of chairs I found in auction results, S Bent and Brothers must have made a great many Alumni chairs for a wide range of colleges and universities.
Your chair is an arrow back Windsor. Unless you have a set of six or more, most of the reproduction Windsor chairs by Bent sold at auction in the $100 range.
More on Hummels
I received an inquiry about the value of some “Hummel” figurines in an e-mail in late November.
If you have looked at as many Hummels as I have over the past 40 years, then you know immediately that these are not “real” Hummels. They are probably Japanese copies made after World War II. Everything about these figures tells you they are not authentic Hummels.
The modeling of the figurines is less detailed than the Goebel produced Hummels. The painting is less careful and the colors are the wrong hues. Every authentic Hummel has impressed on the back of the figurine the name of the original designer M I Hummel, a sister in a nearby convent. They also do not have the Goebel manufacturing mark
Sister Maria Innocentia, a professionally trained artist, was producing note cards for her convent. Her work was brought to the attention of Franz Goebel who owned a nearby pottery. He was charmed by the children Sister Maria drew and arranged with the convent to produce pottery copies of her figures.
By 1935, the company was beginning to produce Hummel figurines. These are the most valuable Hummels, with a crown mark on the base. Trgically, Sister Maria died at the early age of 37. Every Hummel still bears the impressed M I Hummel mark.
The value of Hummels reflects current market conditions.
There are currently 4,443 Hummel figurines, plates and other Hummel related material for sale on eBay this week. Only very large figures and the ones with the two earliest marks are selling for high prices.
The Hummel copies bring only $5 or $6.
Julie McClure, has 30 years of experience in the appraisal business. Send queries and photographs via e-mail to McClurescolumnAOL.com or regular mail to About Antiques, The Herald, 102 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205-8810.