Q: When I moved, the movers lost the finial to my piece of furniture. Is there any hope at all of getting a replacement? Also, can you give me any insight into the item — its age, worth and so forth?
A: The Mahogany Association label on the piece is one used on veneered items. The Mahogany Association was formed in response to wood that was grained to look like genuine mahogany and colored with aniline dyes, which easily misled many unwary buyers. The look-alikes became a problem around the turn of the 20th century, and the Mahogany Association was an organization of manufacturers that used the label to certify they were using genuine mahogany.
The labels generally had a number on them that referenced the particular maker that manufactured the piece. Your secretary bookcase appears to have the number "134" on its label, which was reportedly used by the Maddox Co. of Jamestown, N.Y.
This is a little vague and may be the Maddox Table Co. of Jamestown, which was founded in 1898 by William Maddox. The company changed hands in 1919, was sold again in 1978 and was out of business in the mid-1980s. But we also found references to Maddox Colonial Reproductions, also of Jamestown, but this could be a brand name used by the Maddox Table Co., or it may be a separate entity. The history we found was not precise and we cannot be sure on this point.
We do know it is a medium quality reproduction done in the Chippendale style, and when we went looking, we found several pieces exactly like it on eBay. Indications of age on these ranged from the late 1930s to the 1950s. We believe this piece is probably circa 1940. It is definitely pre-1969, because that is when the Mahogany Association Inc. ceased operations.
To find a replacement finial, you might consult thegrandfinial.com, craftparts.com, Amazon or even eBay. Or, you might go to a cabinet making or woodworking shop to have one custom made. Be sure to bring along a picture (there are several online) to show the craftsman exactly what you want.
Maddox secretary bookcases such as yours can be purchased online in the $400 to $750 range.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques. E-mail them at treasuresknology.net.