Chicago Antiques Guide

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To Restore or Not To Restore

Posted Monday, May 15 by Brian

My family has passed down to me this lovely cedar chest - pictures attached. It has a lower exterior draw and an internal cedar box shelf on moving hinges that are attached to the lid. It is in need of some restorative repair, which I understand would affect its value. Can you give me some guidance to help me decide what to do: leave it alone based on its value or repair it and enjoy the beauty and family treasure. It is date stamped September 1938 on the postcard attached inside the lid... which was never removed to mail in for the warranty. Kindly reply with any information you have to share. Dawn
Cedar Chest to Restore.jpg
The chest appears to be structurally sound. If there is no missing veneer, it just needs to be refinished. In this case, refinishing should increase its value, because it really isn't displayable "as is". If you can do the refinishing yourself, that would be great. It can be rather costly to pay someone else to refinish furniture. If you do decide to pay to have the work done, be advised that the absolute top dollar in perfect condition for your cedar chest is in the $450 range. I wouldn't invest more than that to restore it. Hopefully you can find someone to do the work for much less.

Unfortunately, I have seen many restorers tell people their stuff was worth far more than is realistic, to justify the high cost of restoration.

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