A rare oak livery cupboard was recently sold at auction in London, standing out among other pieces of oak furniture. It featured a number of drawers, which is particularly unusual for that era.
The antique cupboard dates back to 1520 to 1540, the time of Henry VIII’s reign. While it is common for the occasional cupboard dating back to the Elizabethan era to come up for sale, they would rarely have drawers when made during this period.
The piece of furniture is 4ft high and is 4ft 5in wide, with two drawers in the centre, two cupboards above them and one cupboard below. The cupboard is relatively plain, while those that do feature drawers would generally be more elaborately carved when dating from this period. The most unusual feature of the antique furniture is the drawer mechanism, featuring grooved runners to make the drawers open surprisingly smoothly.
According to the specialist, David Houlston, the item had previously been sold at Sotheby’s in 2005 for £24,000. It came from “a very famous collection” by John and Judith Adler, and was in very good condition at the time. The estimate given this time was rather higher, coming in at between £50,000 and £80,000.
As it turned out, an English collector bought the antique oak desk for £60,000., and also paid a buyer’s premium. This is not necessary when collectors buy from an antique store, where they also have the luxury of being able to browse at their leisure before buying a high end piece of furniture.
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