Occasionally, as my busy schedule permits, I will stop by and visit one of the several local auction houses. From time to time, I even take some pictures and share. A few weeks back, I came across a blanket chest that looks an awful lot like this:

Just another chest or so it seems.

Just another chest or so it seems.

I cleared off the lid and looked within. There I saw the typical lidded till on the left, as most tills tend to be. This one was a little unusual with that appeared to be a drawer below the till.

A drawer beneath the till. How unusual.

A drawer beneath the till. How unusual.

Only it’s not a drawer. It is a drawer front sized panel that is loosely mortised into the carcass front and back. The mortise in the case front is a bit deeper. To remove the panel, one slides it toward the left and lifts the right side of the panel out of its mortise and pulling it free.

No drawer but still storage.

No drawer but still storage.

“Secret” compartments in chest tills are fairly common. Usually it’s the front of the till that lifts up or out to reveal the hidden compartment. Others have a false bottom that slides out or lifts up. I always wondered how “secret” they really were. It’s usually quite obvious to me that there is some space not accounted for. Yet I still need to point out these tills to auction staff and dealers. They either didn’t see it, didn’t care or are allowing me to be the clever one. Then again, maybe I see more tills that the average dealer.

I’m not sure this one qualifies as secret. It’s got a knob. It’s just storage. There was some effort expended in creating the two mortises to capture the panel. The panel is a bit fussy getting it in and out. The geometry of the compartment makes thing a nuisance to get things in and out of. Wouldn’t a drawer have been easier and more useful? Maybe less work.

There are a few other things of interest from the auction. One is this large cabinet:

It's really big.

It’s really big.

The really impressive thing is the width of the backboards:

Not yer typical Lowes Depot white wood.

Not yer typical Lowes Depot white wood.

And an extremely sophisticated latching system:

Bottom view. It is a very nicely made hook.

Bottom view. It is a very nicely made hook.

And, because we haven’t had a new one for a while, a gout stool. Or so they claim.

They say it is. Me, I dunno.

They say it is. Me, I dunno.

I didn’t see their description until the next day and wasn’t able to go back and explore it further. It could be. Here is their picture:

Is it or isn't it and why do we care?

Is it or isn’t it and why do we care?

There are a lot more pictures of the auction HERE.