Great Basin Baskets, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $60,000 - $75,000
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:58)
GUEST: My great-great-grandfather emigrated from Switzerland in the late 1800s and he ended up in Nevada. And during that time he acquired them somehow and then he moved on to California to settle there.
APPRAISER: Do you know when he was in Nevada?
GUEST: Not exactly, but it was probably the 1890s or so,
APPRAISER: Well, these baskets are almost a study in what we call Great Basin basketry. They come from Nevada, and here's what we think we know at the table, collectively. The two larger baskets that have the butterflies on them, they're probably Washoe. We think they probably date to between the late 1800s and about 1910, somewhere in there. A lot of these baskets can be specifically identified as to makers, but it takes a lot of research and scholarship to do that. It's almost impossible to find a basket as large as this big one on top with the butterflies all over it. They're extremely rare. Baskets don't last. People throw trash in them, they put plants in them. They get destroyed. Major baskets by major makers took a long time to weave. They could take a year to make one basket. So the output wasn't tremendous. Assuming the two larger ones are Washoe, and we're trying to be fairly conservative on this, we're giving you an auction price--that's not a price in a shop, it's not an insurance value, which would be much higher--both of those between $20,000 and $25,000 each.
APPRAISER: The smaller basket is probably a Panamint, we believe. Even though it's smaller, $20,000 to $25,000.
APPRAISER: And that's an auction price. Now, you put the three together, you're talking $60,000 to $75,000 for the three.
APPRAISER: Okay, now here's the catch. Say you get a real scholar in Great Basin baskets and they say, "Those guys don't know anything. "They're all Washoe baskets. And they're not only all Washoe, we know who made them." Then, all of a sudden, these baskets are worth about $60,000 to $80,000 apiece. It would take time and money to figure that out, but they're such beautiful things. It would probably be really worth your time to do that because you would know exactly what they are with that research and with that information.
GUEST: I could take that on.
APPRAISER: I bet you could. Great-granddad had a pretty good eye for neat stuff.
GUEST: Good job.
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