Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label “Appraised On.” Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
GUEST: My goodness, I’m stunned. And I brought it here in a shopping cart.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you’ll often hear them say what an item is worth “at auction,” or “retail,” or “for insurance purposes” (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he’d place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object’s auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
APPRAISER: And when do you think the date of that photo was?
GUEST: I took it to a small antiques store about 20 years ago, and the guy there really didn’t know a lot. He said, “Well, I think the globe is probably worth about $3,000,” but he didn’t know anything about the base or the manufacturer, which it has a little nameplate there on it.
APPRAISER: Okay, the market for Duffner and Kimberly lamps in the last couple of years has kind of risen. I would put an auction estimate on this of $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: Yes, we do. It’s in a foyer I have sitting on a table.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts’ opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
APPRAISER: Okay, all right, maybe I can just take the shade off. Of course we have a leaded glass shade, and it is sort of in the manner of Tiffany. So we have the factory mark here, and that is the mark for Duffner and Kimberly. New York Company. Duffner had worked with Bradley and Hubbard. Kimberly had worked with Tiffany. They first produced lamps in 1905, and then went bankrupt in 1911. So we can date the lamp pretty specifically.
What would you include in a list of America’s best loved novels?
APPRAISER: We have a gilt bronze base that some people say this is a spider web. Very nice neoclassical style. Duffner and Kimberly, as far as metalwork and glass, were comparable to Tiffany, and of course they were perceived as competitors at the time. So you have potentially a spider web detail here, some beautiful color palette. The lamp lights up very nicely. Do you use it yourself?
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question “What’s it worth?” is so often “It depends.”
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered “verbal approximations of value.” Technically, an “appraisal” is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
APPRAISER: So, it’s a very pretty lamp, and it could actually benefit from a little cleaning, and that would brighten up the look quite a bit.
GUEST: Well, this lamp has been in my husband’s family. And it belonged to his grandparents. In this photo, you can see the lamp in the background. That was his grandparents’ house in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser’s picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
GUEST: Right, and I’ve never been able to, you know, I’m just clueless when it comes right down to it.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.