American School Portrait, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000 (1998)
$3,000 - $5,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:46)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Paintings & Drawings, Silver
GUEST: I'm here to get this picture appraised.
APPRAISER: 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: Have you done a little research on who the artist is, and...
GUEST: No, we don't know who the artist is.
APPRAISER: Well, you have an early American 19th century picture. And that means it probably was made about 1820 to 1830. 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, and my mom does, me and my mom.
APPRAISER: Is that a hobby of yours?
GUEST: No, not really. We don't really go to that much flea markets. We like to go to the thrift store instead.
APPRAISER: Oh, the thrift stores.
APPRAISER: Right. Most portraits that come in to 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? There's no signature, is there?
APPRAISER: 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: And in fact this woman is wearing this dark dress, and she's sitting on this sofa. That's the back rail of a sofa right there. And that sofa has a mahogany scroll 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 tortoise shell 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 is before they had cameras, as you know, so if you wanted a picture of your...
GUEST: You had to have them paint it.
APPRAISER: You had to have them paint it.
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 had great poise, and even though we don't know who painted this picture, 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: Wow. 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.
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