A. In order to get the best idea of how to find the value, you may have to drag it out, but an antique shop may not be your best bet. If you were to go the antique shop route, you’d be wise to find one where you can be reasonably sure they have an adequate knowledge of Asian antiques.
Another route would be to hire an appraiser. You can find an appraiser with a knowledge of Asian antiques at the Appraisers Association of America web site.
If you don’t want to incur the expense of hiring an appraiser, you might consider sending a photo to an auction house that deals with Asian antiques. Skinner in Boston may be a good option.
I do not have much knowledge in the area of Asian antiques, but from some preliminary research it appears the smaller chests are generally more valuable than the larger clothing chests. Some of the most prized chests are apparently made entirely of something called keyaki wood or kiri wood. Auction records for tansu chests reveal a wide range of values from less than $100 to $30,000. Most fall in the range of $100 to $500. The only way to know for sure is to have someone knowledgeable in Asian antiques (ideally more than one) to look at it.
If anyone out there has any knowledge on this subject, please email us! If you have an items you’d like to write to us about, please send a photo and email to urbanantiques at gmail.com