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Thread: Interesting Ebay Find, Skillfully Made Mystery Box

  1. #1

    Interesting Ebay Find, Skillfully Made Mystery Box

    Hi Gerstner fans. So I watched this box on eBay, and really liked it, made an offer less than the asking price because of cigarette burns on the lid. $350 including shipping, now in my collection. Looks like it's a home made box done by a skilled woodworker. Here's what I know. Dimensions are 24W, 10.5D 10H. Six drawers, Till on top. Top and back have veneer. Corbin latches which were shaped to a curve on top. Nice joinery, leather handle. Name plate on front says John Budy. Drawer pulls are green bakelite and look original very bright in pictiures. All slotted screws. A lot of effort went into the mouldings and construction. There is an interesting winged logo plate inside of the lid which covers the handle screws, no rivets anywhere. Plate inside the lid is large and reads Premier Grand. Seller thought that the case was 1930's because of the bakelite pulls. drawers are not lined. Front cover pins at bottom and is held shut by the spring pins like a Gerstner, but not made the same way. Top till looks like a canvas sheet was glued to bottom. Premier Grand may have been a piano maker in NYC best guess. Under the closed lid, the sides are open at the top. I'm thinking this could be for moisture control. Just looking for your expert opinions as to the age of this one and if you agree that it's home made? Would be nice to learn who John Budy was..
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I have not seen another manufactured chest like it, It may have been home made, but by a real craftsman. It has the earmarks of an earlier chest, maybe from the 19 century, but who knows? Many "home made" chests were the final project or final exam in an apprenticeship.

    Whatever the case may be, I wish you good luck and congratulations.

    Great score!

    Terry

  3. #3
    Thanks Terry, I had the thought that possibly Premier Grand had a furniture division for making the pianos, and that the craftsman worked there and made this box. Very interesting about the apprenticeship exam. No luck finding anything about the winged logo so far.... I fixed one stuck plunger pin by making a new one. Other than that and some cleanup I'm leaving this one as is.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lanso's Avatar
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    Can you add photos of the drawer joinery?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I don't know anything about it except that it is a beautiful box indeed.
    JohnCote
    Hoosier Pocket Watch Collector
    Collector/Lover/User of Gerstner Cabs to Store Watches and Parts

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Lanso's Avatar
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    Thanks Danno for taking the time to post the photos.
    Like most furniture, I always find the uniqueness of a custom made piece more interesting than a production one.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I agree Danno. Looks like a very skilled craftsman made it. Tis beautiful.......Ted

  9. #9
    Thanks everyone for your comments, and for taking the time to check this box out.

  10. #10
    Final thoughts on this one. I've stumbled upon a possible source for this chest, and hopefully not another avenue for emptying my pockets of money. If you have a chance to search images in good old google, take a look at sewing machine "coffins" and sewing machine cases. Beautiful boxes which remind me of my recent find, and some of the portable sewing machine boxes look very much like machinist boxes with similar lids and hardware, even the leatherette covering. So my final thoughts other than "don't start buying sewing machine boxes" are that my mystery box might have started life as one of these fine old cases from the 19th century.

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