If you are a Herter Brothers collector, here would be a special item to add to that collection. In 1879, Christian Herter began his “magnus opus, the William H. Vanderbilt residence on Fifth Avenue at Fifty-first Street. It was the largest, most elaborate commission in his career.”1
This dresser is branded “Herter Bros” and is signed in pencil, “N 411 Vanderbilt Esq.” below the marble and “Vanderbilt” behind the mirror. There is a reasonable chance that this was either Mr. or Mrs. Vanderbilt’s own personal dresser. Since Christian designed each room with it’s own theme in the house and the owners’ bedroom(s) was done in the Anglo-Japanese taste, this dresser would have been an appropriate part of the decor.
To explain the “N 411″ written on the piece, on a whim, I Googled “411 Vanderbilt” and turned up another prominent New York businessman’s home in Brooklyn, Cornelius Hoagland, who became very wealthy making baking powder and his home was built in 1882. It’s address was 409-411 Vanderbilt Ave.
He had the money and lived in the timeframe in which he could have bought a dresser like this from Herter Brothers, but it is an unnecessary diversion from reality. “Vanderbilt Esq.” ties the dresser directly to William Vanderbilt Esq. “N 411″ is likely a number to identify the piece: a model number or order item number.
The dresser will sell on August 26th, starting at $20,000 with expected range of $40,000 to $60,000. More at the listing.
1 “Herter Brothers Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age”, Howe/Frelinghuysen/Voorsanger