On a recent trip home from work, I decided to stop in at my local Goodwill. It’s literally right down the street and within walking distance. I stop in there often to just see what they have. I usually walk out empty handed or with thoughts running through my head about furniture I just saw (i.e. I wonder what that would look like blue or how could I make that piece work).

Well my last trip started to seem like it would be no different. I walked the aisles of furniture and decided I would take another quick look back through.

Here’s how the conversation I had with myself went on my second trip back down the aisles:

“Wait, what’s that? No way, is that…is that a Cedar Chest? Hmm..

(pulls out said chest) Okay, the outside’s not too bad. Hmm, what about the inside?

“Oh my god! Oh my god! It’s a Lane! Okay, calm down. I’m sure it’s too expensive.

What?! $60?! Oh, I’m taking this.”

For the next ten minutes, I pulled it out, opened it up, turned it over, and just stood there trying to calm myself down to having rational thoughts. After quickly deciding it was for sure coming home with me, I didn’t move from that spot. I just waited for a Goodwill employee to walk by, and he did. He had to go get a cart for me to tote it out. At the register the cashier asked what it was so that she could type it into the computer. The guy helping me said “Um, a box” I thought, “if you only knew buddy.”

Okay, I’ll admit. My freakout over this cedar chest was a little nuts. But living in Austin and seeing what they go for, is what informed my decision to grab it up. I knew it wasn’t going to last long once it was displayed better.

Once I got it home, and the fella and I examined it a little bit closer. I realized, sadly, that the bottom had to come off. We just took out the screws and the ones that were too deep we had to break off the wood to get to them. As you can see, the damage was pretty bad on the base. It was broken, some worm holes, and quite a bit of water damage. Not to mention a lot of the veneer had started to come off. If I could have saved the base, I would have. Because removing it significantly decreases the value of the piece. That’s okay with me though. I’m not planning on re-selling it anytime soon.

After a quick clean up with diluted white vinegar, liquid detergent, and then a polish with beeswax, it looks so lovely in its new home. I’m on the hunt now for new legs.

After doing some research, I discovered that my chest was manufactured on May 16, 1950. That meant that the day after I bought it, it turned 61 years old. Such an awesome discovery.

Also, I left the original marketing stapled to the inside. How awesome is that typography?

Do you have any treasures that made you freak out upon discovery? Please tell me that you do, because I’d really like to not be the only crazy out there! Also, if you know where to buy some cool legs for this chest send them my way. I’m considering these after I saw them on Retro Renovation.

I linked up over at Her Library Adventures: Flea Market Finds and Apron Thrift Girl: Thrift Share Mondays


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21 responses to “Goodwill Hunting: Lane Cedar Chest”

  1. Even without the base…that cedar chest is great! I have been looking for one for a while with no luck. Good Find!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! I love it! Keep looking because they were so popular in the 50s, 60s, and 70s that one is bound to pop up. I see them mostly at vintage shops here but they are way to pricey for me (although, beautiful). You have to let us know if you come across one!

  2. Brittany says:

    Wow! I mean it…WOW! I have a Lane cedar chest given to me by my parents and, as much as I love it, it isn’t as lovely as yours. GREAT find, thanks for sharing it 🙂

  3. SixBalloons says:

    Oh that is so awesome, what a great find. I think it actually looks more modern without the base, if that helps ease the pain!

    I have definitely had the heart racing happen, when I came upon a gorgeous Victorian Velvet chair in royal blue and walnut!

  4. That’s one good thing about the thrift stores—lots of times the employees, or community service workers, as the case is here with the Salvation Army—just don’t know when something is really worth something.
    On the other hand–sometimes they price things way higher than they should be, thinking it is worth more.
    You got a great deal and it looks awesome too!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much, Marsha! One of the reasons I was so surprised by this find is because this particular Goodwill always overprices furniture! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I recently found a Lane hope chest too. Love it and I think I will re-sale mine.

  6. Joe says:

    Just today I stumbled across a chest not knowing what it was. The top was pretty worn but seemed pretty heavy duty and sturdy, and when I opened it the deep red cedar yelled quality. I was a little unsure but it was $20 so I snatched it up figuring I could always refinish the top. I discovered it used to have a base but no more. I sent an email to Lane to see if they could help me replace the base or give me the specs or a picture of the original so I could fabricate one.

    • Mary says:

      That’s awesome! $20! We’d love to see pictures of the before and after!

    • Mary says:

      Oh and also, you might already know this, if you reverse the serial number on the bottom that will give you the exact date it was manufactured. That might help with finding more info!

      • Joe says:

        Not sure how to post pictures, but I’d gladly share. Thanks for the tip, but yes, I did discover that. I was checking out Lane online when I found out about the serial number, and also, stumbled across your post. I’m new to “treasure” hunting but I think I’ve found a new hobby.

      • Mary says:

        Be careful! It can get pretty addicting, but totally fun!

  7. […] got some plans for those little legs. Remember this post? My lane cedar chest might just be the perfect spot for those legs. I love the gold ferrels and they […]

  8. […] has been a llloooonnnngggg time coming. If you’ve been with us for awhile you might remember this post on my Lane Cedar Chest that I found back in June. The day it came home, we removed the base because it was falling apart […]

  9. debbie keith says:

    I just bought a lane cedar chest for 25 bucks!
    Purchased it at salvation army. Its in great condition

  10. travis says:

    I worked for Lane company in the late 90’s just before they shut down the altavista via plants. I buy every chest I see.

  11. Rhiannon says:

    So, how much are these worth? I have almost this exact one that I inherited. It has a slightly different base but it has that cool V-pattern woodgrain on front, and it’s in perfect condition structurally. it was originally painted a funky grey, and I have stripped it down to the wood. I don’t know what to do with it next, and I don’t have a space to work on it. I’m just wondering what the value is.

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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