Here's what happens when you buy furniture produced by a master craftsman.
You get to enjoy it for a lifetime. Fast forward a few centuries, and a lucky descendant is finds out this piece of furniture is worth a tremendous amount of money. One such lucky descendant happened to an own a Chippendale cabinet which had been in the family since around 1770. No one realized that it was a rare piece, the work of John Townsend, a highly regarded Colonial cabinetmaker.
The four-shell kneehole Chippendale bureau table was discovered and identified last fall by Christie's John Hays, when he visited the family. It is one of only seven such pieces known to exist. The cabinet is expected to sell for between $700,000 to $900,000 at Christie's Americana sale.