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  • The Roadshow Archive

    19th-Century Hawaiian Poi Pounders

    Appraised Value:

    $13,400 - $17,600

    Appraised on: August 26, 2006

    Appraised in: Honolulu, Hawaii

    Appraised by: Anthony Slayter-Ralph

    Category: Tribal Arts

    Episode Info: Tasty Treasures (#1520)
    Honolulu, Hour 2 (#1102)

    Originally Aired: January 8, 2007

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Tool
    Material: Stone
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $13,400 - $17,600

    Update 11.14.2011:

    We contacted appraiser Anthony Slayter-Ralph for an updated appraisal of this object in today's market.

    • Current Appraised Value: $13,400 - $17,600 (Unchanged)

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
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    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (3:02)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    Anthony Slayter-Ralph
    Antiquities

    Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: These are... was in my family for a very long time, and what I can gather, these were my great-great- granduncle's poi pounders. This is more traditional for poi pounding itself. I think these were used more for either softening meat or making condiments with leaves, or we have a condiment in Hawaii, and it's called 'inamona, which is made out of crushed, uh, kukui nuts. So, as a kid, I do remember my grandma using it as she got older. To soften her food, she used the smaller ones.

    APPRAISER: Well, they're wonderful objects, and they are poi pounders. And poi is central to the Hawaiian culture. Poi is made from the taro root. This one is technically not a poi pounder, but it is a masher. This is, uh, probably from the late 19th century, and it's probably a found piece, because it's seriously abraded on the outside. It's probably been abandoned somewhere, and the water has eroded it. And you can see the metal staining where it's been standing on something. This is also a masher. It shows a lot of wear. It's a beautiful object. It's perfectly proportioned. And this is for the first stage in the poi pounding. These are actually the poi pounders themselves. This is also, like this one, probably 19th century. It's very, very difficult to tell exactly how old they are.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: But given the wear and the aesthetics, I would think they're probably from the mid-19th century. Now, this is the little beauty. This is made from a very fine-grained basalt.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: It's extremely hard to find.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And would take a lot longer to make than something like this. It's many, many man-hours.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: And the aesthetics... As you can see, this is more gradual and softly cut underneath here. This has much more of a profile here with a beautiful mushroom shape on the top. This is an extremely rare poi pounder and was probably made for the elite. Have you any idea what they're worth?

    GUEST: My mom said maybe $1,000 for a stone. I watched the Roadshow about seven years ago... Uh-huh. And somebody on the East Coast had a, I think an in-between size, and the appraiser at the time said $3,000. The real true value, I... I don't have a computer, so I never went on the Internet to find out. I really don't know.

    APPRAISER: This one-- the found piece-- they're quite common. And I think probably between $400 and $600. This one, which is a super one, I think probably around about $4,000 to $5,000. This little pounder, about $3,000 to $4,000. And this one, which is the real choice piece here, I think conservatively I would say $6,000 to $8,000.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: And that would be on the retail market.

    GUEST: Was all in a closet. It probably will get wrapped up and go right back into the closet.

    GUEST: Thank you.

    APPRAISER: Thank you very much.





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