Start free trial

Home > News, Articles & Multimedia > Blog Entry > Ask A Worthologist Question: Cobbler’s Bench

Ask A Worthologist Question: Cobbler’s Bench

by Mike Wilcox (02/14/11).

Having to downsize, Arthur M. wanted to know what this cobbler’s bench was worth before deciding what to do with it.

Arthur M. has an unusual piece he inherited 20 years ago. Downsizing, and not sure of his options, he engaged WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist service. The question was forwarded to me. Here’s his question:

“I inherited this bench along with a bunch of other items stored in a farm outbuilding about 20 years ago. I used as a decorator piece for a short while, but put it in storage when I changed the decor of the living room. I’m downsizing now to a smaller place and a lot of stuff must go, but don’t want to give something away without knowing what it’s worth. It’s about four feet long and sits about 20 inches high. There are no marks or signatures of any sort I can find on it anywhere.”

Here’s my response.

This is something that takes me way back to my beginning in this business. This is a “cobbler’s bench.” Back in the early 1960s, when I was a mere observer in my family’s antique business, these cobbler’s benches were some of the hottest items around. Demand was so great for them at the time that magazines such as Popular Mechanics provided plans so dads everywhere could build one in the basement or garage for use as end tables or coffee tables.

Based on your images, this one is pretty typical of the type, constructed primarily of pine and dating from the second quarter of the 19th century. Pine cobbler’s benches of this type were once quite common, but largely discarded by the time factory-made shoes and mail-order catalogs made their appearance in the late 19th century. Most of these pieces were roughly built, simply functional examples made by rural cabinet makers, each tending to be unique in its construction details. We have seen very few that were marked or dated; any dated example should be considered suspect unless there is a provenance to back it up.

There is not as much demand for cobbler’s benches as there was in the early 1960s, but these pieces still do sell in the $250-$650 range, depending on condition, provenance and wood type used in construction. I’d recommend a replacement value in the $400-$500 range for this example.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

———————————

WorthPoint—Discover Your Hidden Wealth

14 Responses to “Ask A Worthologist Question: Cobbler’s Bench”

  1. Frances Boullaouz says:

    I just pick up an item that looks just like this cobbler’s bench. On the botton of the drawer there is a stamp which says “Finland”. would that indicate the bench was made in Finland and would that increase the value of the bench.

  2. Dan Monnier says:

    I have a friend who has a brace made by the TE Wells co. in philidelphia. We assume the circa is early 1800,s.
    The brace is in perfect condition and he would like to find out information on the TE Wells co.
    Also what would be the approx. vallue of this item.

  3. marvin says:

    I have a 1916 b&l microscope, serial number #110516 model model kd-4 . this microscope is in a wooden case and has several accessories to it. I was lookin for input on this leading to its worth thank u.

  4. Justin Dumas says:

    I have an original caprice telefunken 5051 am/fm radio made in germany in 1950. I am trying to find what its worth? looks brand new an never used.really i cant believe my eyes,looks like its been a box for 60 years… Can any1 help me?

  5. Mike Wilcox says:

    Frances, the marking Finland only indicates it was most likely made after 1891 when such markings were required for Importation into the USA. It does not add any value to it.

  6. Mike Wilcox says:

    To Marvin,

    You’ll have to post your request over in the community forums, this one is reserved for answering questions about the item in the article. The community forum is listed as a link at the top of the Worthpoint page under “Community”

  7. Mike Wilcox says:

    To: Justin,

    You’ll have to post your request over in the community forums, this one is reserved for answering questions about the item in the article. The community forum is listed as a link at the top of the Worthpoint page under “Community”

  8. Mike Wilcox says:

    Dan,

    You’ll have to post your request over in the community forums, this one is reserved for answering questions about the item in the article. The community forum is listed as a link at the top of the Worthpoint page under “Community”

  9. Recherchee says:

    How can there be a discussion of cobbler’s benches with no mention of either the monkey or the weasel? So disappointing. :-)

  10. Tiera says:

    Can you please explain to me why a cobblers bench is so low? I just bought one and don’t understand how it was functional being so low to the ground
    .

    • Mike Wilcox says:

      Well for a number of reason, one being wear to the legs, the other the average height for men born Circa 1800 was about 5’4″, meaning at least half were even shorter than that. In some cases the legs have also been cut down on these bench’s to make them coffee table height.

  11. Jani says:

    Hello, I just acquired one of these benches but without the drawer. Mine has on the right side, holes as if to hang tools in as well. On the bottom is a picture of a pilgrim, if you will, and Plymwood Furniture Corp., Sugar Hill Pine stamped as a carving on bottom. Can you tell me about its age, history, and value?

  12. Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

    Based on your description your piece is a fairly modern reproduction, most of these postdate the 1950′s. Not much value we retail these for under $200.00 as Decorator pieces.

Want a picture icon with your comment? Sign up with Gravatar to get one.

Leave a Reply