Q: Enclosed is a picture of a chest that we were told was purchased around 1890. It stands 51 inches high and is 40 inches wide. Could you please give me an appraisal of its value and tell me what style it is?
A: This is an Eastlake chest, named for English architect and designer Charles Locke Eastlake. The style was a reaction to the heavily decorated and ornate furniture of the 1800s. Eastlake believed mass-produced furniture should be sturdy, have straight, simple lines and be well-made. The style became popular in America from 1870-1890, but manufacturers didn't always heed his warning about quality workmanship.
Floral and geometric motifs incised in low relief, reeded edges, rectilinear lines and brass-plated handles are some characteristics of this period. Eastlake chests similar to yours are seen in antique shops at $600 and up.
Q: We have an erector set made by A.C. Gilbert Co. in New Haven, Conn. The model is "No. 7," contains 473 parts and is in a hinged wooden box. The instruction manual has a copyright of 1925. There are no missing parts and it is in good condition. Does it have any value?
A: The "No. 7" erector set by Gilbert is currently listed in "Kovel's Antiques and Collectibles Price List" at $125.
Letters with picture(s) are welcome and may be answered in the column. We cannot reply personally or return pictures. Address your letters to Anne McCollam, P.O. Box 490, Notre Dame, Ind. 46556.