Who would have thought that a wooden slide bought on a window shopping expedition would turn out to be the last of its kind, a veritable collectible, during an antique appraisal? In the antique appraisal business, we often come across stories of interest, where seemingly ordinary items come to possess a lot of value.

One such incident is the story of a client who acquired a rare wooden slide. She was on the hunt for office furniture but happened to come across a wooden slide instead. Little did she know that something that was initially an impulse buy would have so much demand. It was only when a friend mentioned doing an antique appraisal, and considering getting it insured that the thought of it being worth more than face value, occurred to her.

Her search for an antique appraisal expert or curator who knows about vintage playground equipment led her to an astounding conclusion, that such experts were not only few, but virtually non-existent. The journey allowed her to discover more, and from what limited resources were available she gathered that it was a piece constructed in 1920, by an American firm, Hill Standard Company, based out of Indiana as a part of the Fun-Ful line of play equipment.

The earliest authenticated wooden slide was developed in the year 1922, by Charles Wicksteed, of North Hampshire, England. However, she was unable to find the right expert for an antique appraisal for this piece. She managed to find some of their equipment in the back issues of the American city magazine, but her antique appraisal still didn’t progress as her piece wasn’t in the pictures. Despite speaking to numerous appraisers and auction houses, she had no information on my attempt to do an antique appraisal. She hoped to find that there are more pieces of this very beautiful vintage slide, and that perhaps one day, it will find a place in the American history collection at a museum, when its background is revealed. Although the American history museum librarians have been helpful and encouraging, she couldn’t find a curator who is an antique appraisal expert. We came across her blog, and are in the process of valuing what could be a very valuable vintage piece of equipment. The stories behind the ‘discovery’ of an antique are often quite interesting, and the process can be quite long without the right antique appraisal expert to assist you.

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