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Reupholstering and value

Published Sep. 26, 2005

Question: My grandfather bought this chair at a Prairie Avenue house sale in the 1930s. y mother had it reupholstered in the 1950s or '60s. Did the reupholstering devalue the chair?

Answer: There is the strong possibility that your chair was made by the Tobey Hand-Made Furniture Co. of Chicago, a large firm that made furniture for Chicago hotels. Although Tobey furniture was copied by other makers, the lavishly carved dragons and griffins on your chair give it the feeling of pieces Tobey did before the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1880s and 1890s, says Richard Norton, owner of the showroom that bears his name in the Merchandise Mart and the dean of fine antique furniture dealers in Chicago.

Your chair probably was upholstered in leather originally, he says.

Reupholstering devalues furniture only if a historically documented textile was removed in favor of a newer fabric.

The style of your chair is out of favor right now, says Norton, but because of its quality it could be worth $400 to $600, depending on its condition.

Send photos of objects with identifying marks visible (sorry, we can't return them), your daytime phone number and a brief history to Home&Garden, Chicago Tribune, 435 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, Attn: Antiques Sleuth.

1999 Chicago Tribune

Carnival glass show

and sale Feb. 12

Times Staff Writer

The Tampa Bay Carnival Glass Club will hold an auction at 4 p.m. Friday and a public show and sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Hampton Inn Clearwater Central, 21030 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater.

A preview to the auction will be held at 2 p.m.

Admission to both events is free.