NEW YORK -- A stunning mahogany block-and-shell carved bureau table created  a decade before the Revolutionary War by Rhode Island cabinetmaker John Goddard sold for $5.7 million at auction.

According to Christie's New York, the sale price for the "Catherine Goddard Chippendale Block-and-Shell Carved and Figured Mahogany Bureau Table," placed it among the highest auction prices ever realized for an item of American furniture.

The masterwork, offered at $700,000 to $900,000, was pursued by multiple bidders, who drove the price to $3 million. From there on, Christie's said, "two dedicated bidders in the saleroom battled back and forth for the handsomely carved table before a hushed audience of clients and onlookers, until auctioneer John Hays dropped the gavel at $5 million." With premium, the final price realized was $5,682,500.

Goddard was widely recognized as one of early America’s most talented cabinetmakers and his creations were sought-after by the port city’s most well-to-do merchants.

A handwritten label in the top drawer of the table indicates that Goddard made the knee-hole bureau circa 1765 expressly for his daughter, Catherine Goddard, and may have given it to her as a wedding present. The table remained within his daughter’s family through several generations of descendants until it was sold by the cabinetmaker’s great-great granddaughter Mary Briggs (Weaver) Case in the early 1900s. The table last sold at auction in January 2005 for $940,000.

Read more about cabinetmaker John Goddard's masterwork.

Posted by Rich Christianson

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.