I recently purchased this writing box at a thrift shop. Everything appears to be original with the exception of the keyhole escutcheon, (but dark staining shows the original escutcheon was larger), and perhaps the side handles, but not sure. There is only one set of holes for the side handles. Also, I was wondering about the moldings around the base, as the color is slightly different. Small nails securing the bottom panel look like small hand made ones, but only the inset heads are showing, so a little hard to tell. I think, but might be mistaken that the wood is walnut (could be Yew or something else I suppose). I knew little about writing boxes, but this is different from the mostly late 18th century, early 19th century ones I could find on line. There is no "slope" ,and only a lid with edge molding,(somewhat warped) rather than a deeper cover. The feel is very different from the veneered 19th century boxes that are common. Also, this has exposed dovetailed corners, which I only saw on a couple of early boxes, with the brass corner strips inlet into the surface, as are the top brass pieces. The iron lid strap hinges are the only ones I have seen on a writing box after searching on line. These make me wonder if it is of an early date. Also, I have never seen something similar to the small brass lifting pieces on the two compartment lids. The center section lifts out to expose the storage space at the bottom of the box. I am very curious as to the approximate date. To me it feels early, but I could, of course, be wrong. Thank you for any information you might give.
Good afternoon, Clifford,
Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry.
At first glance this looked "right" but on further inspection and after reading your comments, something isn't quite right. Those large strapwork hinges are too large for a lid of this size (though I notice some warping of the lid so it's possible the straps were later additions to offset further warping) and the base molding looks later...at any rate, the color variation in the wood is a bit suspect. The brass bindings are a nice touch, but again, it's sort of "over-engineered"...you see that with much larger boxes where the weight of whatever is inside the box requires some "reinforcing" but a box of this small size wouldn't require that.
I think it is likely this was made at some point in the 20th Century, of old or antique elements. I don't want to call it a "fake" but it should be priced decoratively rather than something with genuine original age. That said, based on the photographs and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:
A Georgian style walnut brass bound writing box
Possibly comprised of antique elements
CONDITION: Not examined firsthand; possibly made of antique elements
PROVENANCE: acquired at a thrift shop
*represents a fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.
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