American School Portrait, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:10)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Paintings & Drawings, Silver
APPRAISER: Tell us why you're here today, Laura.
GUEST: I'm here to get this picture appraised.
APPRAISER: Right, and tell me how you found this picture.
GUEST: Well, I didn't find it; my mother did, in the dump. She had to climb into the bin to get it.
APPRAISER: At the dump?
APPRAISER: And did you climb in and help her?
GUEST: No, I was very little at the time, so I was locked in the car.
APPRAISER: Right. Have you done research on who the artist is?
GUEST: No, we don't know who the artist is. Well, my mom knows, but I don't really know.
APPRAISER: Well, I love early pictures, and you have an early American 19th-century picture, and that means it probably was made about 1820 to 1830. And I was fascinated by your story about the dump and finding something, because usually people come into the ROADSHOW and they don't know what they have, but it's been in the family... But you actually found this piece, right?
GUEST: Yeah. Or sometimes they find it from flea markets and stuff like that.
APPRAISER: Do you go to a lot of flea markets?
GUEST: Yeah, my mom does-- me and my mom.
APPRAISER: Is that a hobby of yours?
GUEST: No, not really. We don't really go to them that much-- flea markets. We like to go to the thrift store instead.
APPRAISER: Oh, the thrift stores. Most portraits that come into the ROADSHOW or into auction houses or dealers-- people know who painted it and they're signed by the artist, but we don't have that help here, do we?
APPRAISER: There's no signature, is there? So how do you think we'd identify the age of this picture?
GUEST: Well, you would look at, like, the back and the detail of it and the way the person dressed and the couch that she's sitting on and the jewelry she has.
APPRAISER: That's exactly right. In fact, that's exactly the way appraisers value and date things.
GUEST: I know, because I watch this show all the time.
APPRAISER: You watch the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. You watch people putting values on things and dating them. And in fact, this woman is wearing this dark dress, and she's sitting on this... sofa.
GUEST: Old couch.
APPRAISER: That's the back rail of a sofa right there. And that sofa has a mahogany scrolled crest, and those are sofas that were made probably about 1820. You can actually date the picture by the furniture and her jewelry, her hairstyle here. And you know what she's wearing right here?
APPRAISER: That's a comb. Underneath that, there's a tortoiseshell comb that she's put in her hair. And even with that little bit of information, we know that this is an American portrait. This was before they had cameras, as you know, so if you wanted a picture of your family...
GUEST: You had to have it painted.
APPRAISER: You had to have them painted.
GUEST: I think she wasn't really that rich because usually the rich people would have all this jewelry on them.
APPRAISER: Right, she may have been a middle-class citizen. But she's great, and she has great poise. And even though we don't know who painted this picture, it is a fascinating little snapshot of America in the early 1900s. And given the condition that she's in-- she needs a little bit of work and restoration-- she probably would bring $2,000 to $3,000 at auction.
GUEST: Whoa! Well, that's a lot of money. I thought it was worth like $100, $150.
APPRAISER: Well, it is a lot of money, and it's a great find. And keep looking for those antiques.
GUEST: I will.
APPRAISER: Thank you for watching the ROADSHOW.
GUEST: You're welcome.
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