October 19, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Antique mixing table

“Antique mixing table” is what the auction catalog said. Meant to mix what? How did you use it? When was it made? Where did it belong in the house? An online search was no help.

Today the name “mixing table” refers to the electronic consoles that are used to create music recordings. A search of several large modern dictionaries, books on period furniture and more online searching got pictures, but no explanation.

But there was a clue.

The auction’s piece was probably made by Anthony Quervelle (1789-1856). He was a popular furniture maker who worked in Philadelphia about 1815. He specialized in carved wooden, usually mahogany, pieces in the Classical style.

The mixing table was used in a Southern dining room to mix drinks. There were special shelves to store bottles. Its marble, not mahogany, top was less likely to be stained if a drink was spilled.

The top of the table was 40 inches from the floor, the perfect serving height. To add to the room’s decoration, mixing tables were made with decorative scrolls and panels.

A Neal Auction in New Orleans sold a mixing table attributed to Quervelle for $3,200. Several other similar tables sold in the past few years for a comparable price.

How much is a deck of playing cards from Air Force One worth? The cards have a facsimile signature of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to travel in an airplane. His successor, President Harry Truman, was the first to give decks of playing cards to VIPs and guests who flew on the presidential plane. The presidential plane was not called Air Force One until 1953.

The tradition of giving playing cards continued, except under President Carter, who thought the giveaway was a waste of taxpayer’s money. The first playing cards to include the president’s signature were those given by Johnson in the 1960s.

Unopened decks, still in their cellophane wrap, are worth more than decks that have been opened and used. Prices for memorabilia from some presidents are more than those from others.

Recent prices for President Johnson’s Air Force One playing cards include a boxed set of two unopened decks for $125 and a boxed set with two decks that have been opened for $50.

Current Prices

Doll, Madame Alexander, Wendy Goes to a Garden Party, plastic, titian hair, bent knee walking body, embroidered Swiss organdy dress, satin shoes, 1956, 8 inches, $345.

Sampler, needlework, alphabets, flowers, verse, Go Forward, Rachel C. Pittenger, May 3rd 1845, Manalapan, New Jersey, frame, 18 x 17 inches, $750.

Silver flatware sterling, Acorn pattern by Georg Jensen, 6 each dinner forks, dessert forks, spoons & knives, butter knife, cheese knife, 26 pieces, $1,025.

Tip: Sap bleeds from the knots in old wood and it stains the paint. This discoloration is one way to determine if paint is old.

Terry and Kim Kovel

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.