Comparing Herter Brothers Marks – When Is It Authentic?
Marked, signed, or labeled furniture in the Victorian era is the exception and not the norm. The higher-end furniture makers seemed to be as neglectful in this regard as any of the rest of the cabinetmakers. One of the most successful high-end makers, Herter Brothers, occasionally branded their furniture with “Herter Bro’s” and two of those marks are shown below:
We often associate Herter Brothers with furniture of such grandeur that when more common-looking furniture bears their brand, we look at the piece a little closer and wonder if someone just constructed an appropriate device to mimic the original Herter Brothers stamps to up the value of non-Herter furniture.
Notice the two marks above. As shown in the “Herter book”, the bottom mark is the one that I have seen most often – with the apostrophe. Note the one above does not include an apostrophe. It also includes a painted number, while the book describes Herter numbering to have been done in pencil or is impressed. I have not come across a reference to painted numbering on Herter furniture, but maybe some of the fervent collectors out there have seen this on authentic pieces.
The top image is from a cabinet that is currently for sale (ending today), shown below. It is currently bid up to $405, which for Herter furniture, when authentic, is a steal.