Duncan Phyfe Drop Leaf Dining Tables
Duncan Phyfe Drop Leaf Dining Tables are items of wooden furniture produced by the renowned American craftsman Duncan Phyfe.
History & Description
Duncan Phyfe was a nineteenth century American furniture designer and maker.
Born near Loch Fannich, Scotland, Duncan Fife immigrated to Albany, New York, when he was sixteen and begun an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker. He changed his surname to Phyfe in 1792 and moved to New York City where he opened his own business in 1794.
By the early-nineteenth century, Phyfe employed over 100 workers and had established himself as one of the leading cabinetmakers in America.
His work encompassed the period’s most prevalent styles, including French Classical, Federal, Regency, Sheraton and Empire. He is perhaps best known for his simple and uncluttered style, a reaction to the heavily imported French designs at the time.
Guide for collectors
Instances of Duncan Phyfe drop-leaf dining tables sold at both national and international auction houses are quite common. Collectors should look out for dining tables made of mahogany, as these usually achieve the highest prices at auction. In addition, drop-leaf dining tables that only have one single drop leaf instead of the normal two are considered to be quite rare.
Collectors are advised to seek professional advice if a piece needs restoring, as any substandard restoration could significantly decrease an item’s price.
Notable auction sales
On March 3rd 2007 at Flomaton Antique Auction on Flomaton, Alabama, a Duncan Phyfe Federal drop leaf dining table, circa 1820, realised a price of $6,500.
On October 4th 2007 at Sotheby’s in New York, a Duncan Phyfe Neo-Classical drop leaf dining table, circa 1820, realised a price of $5,000.
On October 7th 2004 at Christie’s in New York, a Duncan Phyfe classically carved mahogany drop leaf dining table, circa 1810, realised a price of $4,451.
On March 31st 2007 at Harlowe-Powell Auction Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia, a Duncan Phyfe mahogany drop-leaf dining table, circa early-nineteenth century, realised a price of $2,500.
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