For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chair

by John Werry on November 25, 2008

jw hamburger prince wales For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chair

In another installment of “For The Record” on Rare Victorian where I feature the work of low profile makers of the 19th Century, I’m pleased to present what I strongly believe is a Joseph W. Hamburger Prince of Wales chair.  An image from their ca. 1870 catalog below shows a model #33, “Prince of Wales” design.

I have been wanting to run across one of the Hamburger chairs in the flesh for some time now and luckily the opportunity arose on Ebay in the form of the one above.  It is currently up for sale and is listed as having been made by John Jelliff.  If this chair alone doesn’t teach us all to stop attributing all the carved female bust chairs to Jelliff, then nothing will.

More about the chair above for sale at the listing.

j w hamburger catalog prince of wales For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chairjw hamburger prince wales3 For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chairjw hamburger prince wales2 For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chair

Here’s a little more history on the J.W. Hamburger company.  Joseph Hamburger patented a rocking chair mechanism (patent #212,461) on Febrary 18th, 1879.  You can see the X-shaped mechanism and read the patent application below.

jw hamburger patent rocking chair For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chairjw hamburger rocking chair patent For The Record: J. W. Hamburger Prince Of Wales Chair

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad November 25, 2008 at 6:44 am

Well, at least it’s priced right.

The real problem with this sort of thing is, if someone uninformed buys the chair thinking it’s Jelliff, then later learns it’s not, they are not likely to ever buy antique furniture again.

Reply

RareVictorian November 25, 2008 at 7:05 am

Sometimes I wonder if I’m overly sensitive to the attribution thing and I sound like a broken record to my readers. I’m reminded of the problem every day when I look at a published furniture books from the 60s or 70s or possibly earlier with Meeks pieces attributed to Belter.

As a matter of fact, this month’s (Feb ’09) Victorian Homes magazine has an obvious problem in it (mis-attribution).

If only we could realistically have an antique certification organization kinda like the baseball card grading organizations.

Having a “certified” antique by a particular maker could greatly add value to the piece and give the buyer piece of mind.

Problem is with card grading, the process is minimally subjective, assuming well-documented standards.

With antiques it would be way more problematic.

Reply

james conrad November 25, 2008 at 7:33 am

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m overly sensitive to the attribution thing and I sound like a broken record to my readers.”

No, i dont think so, as a matter of fact it’s a public service to alert readers to a real problem within the industry. There are ways to deal with this, a good first step would be to require all sellers that claim “attributed to” to publish the reasons they are attributing in the sales offering.

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John Hutchinson November 25, 2008 at 11:19 pm

In the state of PA, there is no ‘license’ to be an appraiser of furniture, art or APPRAISAL. Therefore, as always, “consumer beware,” of who you speak to and who solicit to advise, in regards to valuation of art and antiques. It would be impossible and improbable that an evaluation of grades and standards be applied to this realm, unlike in baseball cards or motor cars, because ultimately the value, to the consumer, “is in the eye of the beholder.”
“Attributed” is just another adjective. Your friends who watch and read this site, are clearly self educating. Parameters for discourse are only that, which has very little to do with/ or everything to do with, real money.
Keep reading Rare Victorian.
John, RVR

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Chris Zangari April 15, 2009 at 5:20 am

I am just wondering why no one has attributed the posssibility
that Jelliff used these companys as additional outlets to sell
product and alot of times we forget that the items we have
a great appreciation for were still back then product that needed
to be sold to sustain a companys survival and growth.You also
have to consider that maybe some people were not maybe as
likely to buy furniture from an african american and Jelliff needed
these additional outlets for his company because maybe retailers could move product in circumstances where he could not.For a company of his size just like today we need to sell to survive.I currently own 15 items 2 of which are high end parlor tables one being the exact form documented by Newark Museum
which is thoroughly documented.I can tell you personally that the carving in the figures is all well executed and very similar.
Just because these companies claim work as their own does not mean that they actually produced it.Would it not make sense that if there was a good controled profit was available to be made that these items would not be purchased and resold???
I also own a documented bureau by Herter Brothers which is beautiful but there have been branded beds which I think are lackluster when compared to for examples the items which came up for sale recently as shown in Rare Victorian.I think sometimes we get caught up in the greatest items these companies produced and forget that not all of their clients could afford custom one of a kind items out of their shops.Also with Rare Victorians permission I would like to purchase from anyone
documentation,catalogs or any other info that anyone might have on Jelliff items and can be reached at kzangari@comcast.net.
Thanks
Chris Zangari

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