My Grandma Fanny and Grandpa Joe bought this piece sometime in the late 1920s in the Bronx. It was passed along to my mother, who has never been fond of it, or the matching dresser that came with it. When my parents sold our family home, I took possession of the two pieces. I loved the formality of them, along with the connection they offered to relatives that I never really knew.
To me, these pieces are dignified and representative of a more elegant time in home appointments, when there was no such thing as Ikea or the concept of “disposable” furniture. I have moved these solid mahogany, enormously heavy pieces 6 times since then, including into and out of a fourth-floor walk up and around many impossibly tight corners.
At each of the first 5 locations, and in my Glen Ridge home for the past 20 years, they have brought me a certain familiar comfort. These things were my family. Until now…
Suddenly, all those years of my antique-savvy mother telling me to sell them have caught up with me. Maybe it’s a symptom of my looming empty nest, but I am determined to streamline my house (and life). I’ve begun to look for an appraiser and ultimately am thinking of selling the vanity to the highest bidder — if I’m lucky. I have actually been told that furniture from this era isn’t in great demand right now, and that the Mid-Centruy Modern is the current rage in antiques. However, it’s not so much about raising funds, but of de-cluttering my house.
Just considering selling my old friend leads me to the question: Does being the keeper of a family heirloom somehow obligate you to hold onto it until it can be successfully handed off to the next generation, or is it OK to get rid of it and move on? Do all those folks on Antique Road Show actually value their pieces enough to hold onto them, with all the stories that go with them, or are they seeing dollar signs and hoping to sell the stuff on the way home.
Have you sold pieces with family value? Are you holding on to something that has significance, but that you’d just as soon get rid of?