Skip to main content

The Yankee Express

Flag-topped table

This unusual, flag-topped table is handmade but not unique. Another almost identical table sold at an auction years ago. It had only 23 stars. This table has 35. Could there be others?

“Unique” is a word that is often misused by collectors. It means one of a kind. There can never be a unique mass-produced chair but there can be a rare one. More than 20 years ago, the Kovels’ newspaper column wrote about a table with a top that was made to look like an American flag. A similar table is being sold by Woody Auction. The Kovel table had 23 stars on the flag. Maine was the 23rd state, added in 1820. The table being sold at Woody has 35 stars, suggesting it was made to honor the statehood of West Virginia in 1863.
The 35-star table was marked by the maker: “Made & Designed by F. Wedin, Roxbury.” Recent research by the auction gallery suggests he was a piano maker from Massachusetts. Both tables were made of solid wood with inlaid stars and stripes. The wavy edges of the 35-star table make it look windblown. It has a drawer with carvings of dueling pistols, side supports like anchors, cross braces like rifles, legs like cannons and cannonball feet. It is estimated at $20,000 to $40,000. It is truly unique.
Currier & Ives
Q: I picked up what I think is a Currier & Ives print from a thrift store. I’m just trying to see if the name of the print is a legitimate Currier & Ives print. It’s titled “A Mountain Home.” If the title matches a real print made by Currier & Ives, I’d like to know if it’s a reproduction. I bought it for $6, so even if it is a reproduction, I wouldn’t care since I like the print.
A: Currier & Ives was in business in New York City from 1857 to 1907 and is famous for its American lithograph prints. Reproductions and fakes have been made. “A Mountain Home” is not one of the prints listed in books that catalog the original Currier & Ives prints. It’s often offered for sale online, identified as a Currier & Ives print from 1890, but one seller probably got it right when he said it is “after Currier & Ives,” which means it was done in the style of the famous printmakers.
Warped table
Q: My mother has an antique table that is in good condition, but the top is warped. Can it be fixed? Is that expensive? Is it smart money to replace it?
A: It depends on what the value of the table would be if it were perfect. A repaired top will lower the retail price by about 20%. The cost of the repair is based on the job, not the value of the piece, so the better the table, the more important it is to put it in the best possible shape. But it must be a very good repair, and that requires a restorer who is used to working on antiques. 
Current prices
Weller, coppertone, beaker-shaped, bright green mottled glaze, c. 1975, 6 inches, $125.
Banjo clock, Federal, inlaid, mahogany, 8-day brass movement, pierced brass side arms, c. 1850, 29 1/4 x 10 inches, $250.
Tramp art comb box, 3 tiers, mirror, Pure & Sweet cigar box drawer, porcelain buttons, c. 1900, 27 x 7 1/2 inches, $435.
Map, Rocky Mountains, Oregon and North California, lithograph on paper, John Charles Freemont, 1845, 33 x 54 1/2 inches, $685.
Tole coal scuttle, black, crackled pattern, gold bands, tapered rectangle, ball feet, domed lid, 17 x 18 inches, $45.
American Indian basket, Choctaw, Mississippi bamboo, river cane, natural dye, large diamond pattern, black, orange, tan, square base flared to round top, c. 1970, 18 x 19 inches, $280.
Architectural, frieze, terra-cotta, semi-circular, shield, 2 stylized dragons, acanthus tails, egg & dart band, squared border, made up of 10 sections, $480.
Advertising sign, “Twin Drive-In Theater,” “Turn Right” printed inside arrow, metal, painted, green, reflective yellow letters, New York City area, 24-inch diameter, $750.
TIP: Permanent marker stains can be removed from most wood or textiles by wiping with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.
The Kovels have navigated flea markets for decades. Learn from the best with “Kovels’ Flea Market Strategies: How to Shop, Buy, and Bargain the 21st-Century Way.” Order the full-color, 17-page booklet at Shop Kovels, or call 800-303-1996. Just $6.95, plus postage and handling. (c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc