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Chests

Chests were first used in the Middle Ages both in the home and as luggage for wealthy nobles. Considered by many to be the “grandfather of furniture,” the chest ultimately helped spawn a flurry of furniture design.

The earliest chests were boarded or planked, crudely fashioned from six wood planks held together with nails. These early iterations often warped due to shrinkage and so developed into externally framed chests, which were less likely to warp and often adorned with carved friezes and eye-pleasing locking mechanism. Some of these early chests, including bible boxes, dowry chests, painted wedding chests, and blanket chests, became culturally significant folk art traditions and coveted antiques.

Chest-on-chests, also known as highboys, provided grand style to buyers with more extravagant tastes. Chests of drawers, or dressers, are now the most common form of storage furniture.


Quick Facts

  • In a 2011 Skinner auction, a rare Federal flame birch and mahogany veneer reverse serpentine chest of drawers sold for $314,000
  • A very important circa 1800 Johannes Spitler painted yellow pine blanket chest sold at a Jeffrey S. Evans auction for $356,500
  • In 2006, a chest of drawers by Robert Crosman, made in 1729, sold at a Christie's auction for $2.6 million

Recommended Items at Auction

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English, provincial 18th Century oak chest of four drawers, H97, W91, D48cm
Feb 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
English, provincial 18th Century oak chest of four drawers, H97, W91, D48cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD1,500- AUD2,000
AUD42513 Bids
Wooden Apothecary 18-Drawer
Feb 22, 9:00 AM EST
Wooden Apothecary 18-Drawer
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$7010 Bids
High Chest and Dressing Table
Mar 01, 5:00 PM EST
High Chest and Dressing Table
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$859 Bids
Dower Chest
Mar 02, 9:00 AM EST
Dower Chest
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$2209 Bids
Rare late 17th Century English raised chest of four drawers (139 x 102 x 60cm)
Feb 25, 7:00 PM AEDT
Rare late 17th Century English raised chest of four drawers (139 x 102 x 60cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD3,000- AUD5,000
AUD9008 Bids
MINIATURE TIGER MAPLE CHEST
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
MINIATURE TIGER MAPLE CHEST
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $500- $700
$7008 Bids
Important Thomas Day Milton N.C. School Furniture Chest Of Drawers
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Important Thomas Day Milton N.C. School Furniture Chest Of Drawers
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$805 Bids
Antique Victorian Edwardian Inspired Chest Of Drawers
Feb 24, 10:00 AM MST
Antique Victorian Edwardian Inspired Chest Of Drawers
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$505 Bids
Metal Trunk with Wood Banding 25 1/2” H x 36” W x 20” D
Feb 23, 9:00 AM EST
Metal Trunk with Wood Banding 25 1/2” H x 36” W x 20” D
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
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ENGLISH TWO-PART CAMPAIGN CHEST Late 19th Century Height 43”. Width 41”. Depth 17”.
Feb 27, 9:30 AM EST
ENGLISH TWO-PART CAMPAIGN CHEST Late 19th Century Height 43”. Width 41”. Depth 17”.
by Eldred's
Est: $1,800- $2,200
$1,3004 Bids
Vintage Steel Storage Trunk
Feb 24, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Steel Storage Trunk
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
17th Century Oak Panelled Carved Coffer 64cm x 134cm x 56cm
Feb 25, 12:00 PM AEDT
17th Century Oak Panelled Carved Coffer 64cm x 134cm x 56cm
by Pottle Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD3504 Bids
Vintage Lyon Metal Foot Locker
Feb 24, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Lyon Metal Foot Locker
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$253 Bids
Lane Mahogany Slant Front Cedar Chest 28” H in the back x 38” W x 18 1/2” D at the bottom
Feb 23, 9:00 AM EST
Lane Mahogany Slant Front Cedar Chest 28” H in the back x 38” W x 18 1/2” D at the bottom
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
Small Primitive Chest
Feb 23, 9:00 AM EST
Small Primitive Chest
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
Restored Antique Mahogany Specimen Drawers
Feb 25, 10:30 AM AEDT
Restored Antique Mahogany Specimen Drawers
by Kerleys Auctions
Est: AUD60- AUD110
AUD453 Bids
ETHAN ALLEN CHERRY CHEST
Feb 23, 11:00 AM EST
ETHAN ALLEN CHERRY CHEST
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $400
$2253 Bids
Pine Dovetailed Dome Top Chest with Cast Iron Hinges 13 1/2” H x 32 1/2” W 20” D
Feb 23, 9:00 AM EST
Pine Dovetailed Dome Top Chest with Cast Iron Hinges 13 1/2” H x 32 1/2” W 20” D
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$453 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chests


William Smith Auctions

William Smith Auctions

Wilkinson's Auctioneers

Wilkinson's Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center