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Common Sense Antiques



This oak cabinet from the early part of the 20th century qualifies more as a "press" than as a "wardrobe".
















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As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, November 2006

Q. I was wondering if you can give me any information on this rocker I had purchased at an auction for $7.00? It is in good shape. It is 29in high and 19in wide. My wife and I have been buying and selling antiques for the past year and there is so much to learn. It is great fun and can be addictive in way.

After doing some research, could this be a Boston Rocker, early 1900's? Also could you give us an idea of what the rocker might be worth? I would appreciate any information you might be able to give on this. Robert G.

A. You are exactly right about antiques. There is always so much to learn and it is quite addictive. Your chair is indeed a Boston rocker but a slightly smaller version known as a "baby" Boston or "little" Boston because of its diminutive size and lack of arms. The style was also referred to as a nursing rocker or a slipper rocker for the same reasons. The "baby Boston" almost always has only five spindles such as yours does.

The baby form first appeared around 1850 and was made continuously for the rest of the century. Many, like yours, had painted stripes or decorations similar to the Sheraton "fancy" chairs of the period.

The earliest forms of the Boston are identified by the single board used in the seat. Later versions, after 1840, generally used three boards in the seat, one for the platform itself and one each for the front and rear rolls. From the photos it appears that this is the case with your chair. Since the form showed up first around 1850 I would venture a guess that yours was an early model based on the hand plane marks visible on the seat bottom. I would put yours anywhere from 1850 to 1870. Recent price guides indicate a price range of $150 - 200 for good Bostons of that era.

Q. I have a "minipianette" made by Hardman-Peck. It is stamped/embossed in gold on the front "As used by Princess Ingrid and Princesses Margaret Rose and Elizabeth". I have found several numbers in different places on the piano but can't figure out which one is the date. On the back of the piano are the numbers 890-2-064. Other numbers on the piano are 1999914, 1968695, 4-30-35, 7-31-5, 914 and 154912. The most logical date number would be the 4-30-35, meaning April, 1935. What do you think? Also what do think the piano is worth? Thanks, Kristina.

A.  Your Minipiano was popular as a beginner's instrument from the 1920's to the 1940's. Hardman - Peck was founded in 1842 by Hugh Hardman at 33 W. 57th St, NY. Leopold Peck joined the firm in 1890 and the firm added him to the name. In the late 1800's and early 1900's Hardman - Peck specialized mostly in expensive player pianos for the upscale urban market. When Peck joined the firm they produced a foot powered player version that sold for $1295, a princely sum at that time. Hardman-Peck over the years came to control a number of piano brands including Autotone, Harrington, Minipiano, Playtone, Standard and Hardman Duo Player.

The princesses referred to are of course Princess Ingrid of Denmark, born in 1910, died in 2000, Princess Margaret Rose of England who died recently  and Princess Elizabeth who has reigned as Queen Elizabeth II of England since her father's death in 1952.

Piano makers traditionally do not put the date of manufacture on a piano but rather give it a serial by which the piano can be tracked. The only number which you have found that has the right format and the right number of digits is the 154912 number found under the keyboard, an unusual place for a serial number but I believe that is it. That indicates a manufacture date of  early 1949 which would fit with the references to the royalty.

Local prices for pianos vary markedly and transportation is always an issue so I suggest you contact reputable piano dealers in your area for an idea of current local value. A check of related Internet sites turned up retail prices of well under $1000 for Hardman-Peck Minipiano "beginners" in average condition.

If you have any questions, you can Email us at

The Antique Shoppe
"Florida's Best Newspaper for Antiques and Collectibles

PO Box 2175, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-2175
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