Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Match Safe Collection, ca. 1900

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 31, 2004

    Appraised in: Memphis, Tennessee

    Appraised by: Christopher Hartop

    Category: Decorative Arts

    Episode Info: Memphis, Hour 2 (#908)

    Originally Aired: February 21, 2005

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Material: Metal, Ivory
    Period / Style: 19th Century, 20th Century
    Value Range: $20,000

    Related Links:

    Article: An Overview of Current Ivory Law
    ROADSHOW has worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to create this summary of current law governing the import and sale of elephant ivory.

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (3:03)


    Appraised By:

    Christopher Hartop
    Decorative Arts, Silver

    Appraisal Transcript:
    APPRAISER: Well, this is quite a fantastic collection you've got here. Is this the entire collection?

    GUEST: No, there are approximately 270 pieces in the collection.

    APPRAISER: Well, they're, of course, match safes. Popular from about 1850 to 1930, made of all materials, anything from gold, ivory, brass. And I see you have quite a few sterling ones here. Sounds like you've been collecting them for a long time.

    GUEST: Almost 30 years.

    APPRAISER: Well, it's interesting to see this as a representative collection of match holders. Of course, matches were invented back, I think, in the 1840s, and they were first called "vestas" after the... the Roman goddess of... of fire. And, as a practical thing, they kept them watertight. Underneath, of course, is the striker there. This is the days before safety matches. And usually the silver ones are marked there. I see this is an American one. Most of the ones you have here are American. The American ones tend to be more elaborate. I mean, the heyday, as you say, was the... the end of the 19th century, and that's when you get these wonderful Art Nouveau ones or these humorous ones, like this one with the saddle. My favorite, I think, is... is this one here, which is the newspaper wrapper.

    GUEST: Mine also.

    APPRAISER: That's postmarked "New York, 1907," so I think we can date that. That's a very popular one with collectors today. Its current value is probably somewhere about a thousand dollars. This one here is Ulysses Grant, but I don't think it's as old as he was. I think this is probably produced later, probably towards the end of the 19th century. The figural ones here are always popular. This is made in brass. It looks like sort of a frog, doesn't it?

    GUEST: Yes, it was interesting, and we liked it and actually hocked on it for about three years from a jeweler here who paid too much for it, and we finally paid too much for it, too.

    APPRAISER: Well, how much did you pay for it?

    GUEST: I think we gave about $400 for that one at the time.

    APPRAISER: Well, I think you did all right there, because I think at the moment that's probably worth about a thousand to $1,200.

    GUEST: Okay. Very good, then.

    APPRAISER: This silver enamel one's very sought after now. Now, they made these in England, of course, but also they're less common in American silver. This is a really nice one. It has one little condition problem that you probably know. There's a little nick in the enamel there. That's going to take away a bit of the value, but I'd say it's still probably worth somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000.

    GUEST: Very good.

    APPRAISER: And then this is great, this figural pair of army breeches. I'd say they're probably late 19th century. I don't think they're as early as Civil War period. They have a striker on the inside there, but that's a very popular version. I'd say that's probably worth maybe $800 to $1,200. So, you've got just here a selection which probably, I'd say, adds up to about $20,000 in all.

    GUEST: Ah, very good.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube