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

    1997 Mother Teresa Signed Note

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 23, 2011

    Appraised in: Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Appraised by: Francis Wahlgren

    Category: Books & Manuscripts

    Episode Info: Tulsa, Hour 1 (#1601)

    Originally Aired: January 2, 2012

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 4 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Letter
    Material: Paper
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $1,000

    Related Links:

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


    Appraisal Video: (2:50)


    Appraised By:

    Francis Wahlgren
    Books & Manuscripts
    Senior Vice President & International Department Head of Printed Books and Manuscripts

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I'm a woodcarver and I carved a cane for Mother Teresa and sent it to her. And three, four, five weeks later, I got a thank-you note from her and that's what we're here for.

    APPRAISER: What year was this that you...

    GUEST: It was about eight months before she passed away. And I can't tell you the year now.

    APPRAISER: 1997, I think it was.

    GUEST: Yeah, somewhere in that range.

    APPRAISER: Why did you carve the cane for Mother Teresa?

    GUEST: Why the idea hit me, I don't know, just all of a sudden I had the idea, I'd carve her a cane. And then I weighed that out-- yes, no, yes, no. And finally I decided it was too presumptuous on my part to carve her a cane. Well, we went to Colorado, and a missionary pilot was telling about some of his experiences and he had flown Mother Teresa into different places. And when he brought her name up, my world just changed. My hearing-- I didn't hear what was going on, and the voice inside said, "Do it, just do it." So I went home and started carving.

    APPRAISER: And how long did it take you to carve it?

    GUEST: Most canes I've spent probably 40 hours. Maybe this cane not quite so much because it's pretty simple, according to Mother Teresa's lifestyle, you know.

    APPRAISER: Absolutely. And here's a picture of you with the cane. I assume it's you.

    GUEST: That is me, back when I had color in my hair.

    APPRAISER: Yep, that was before you sent it off.

    GUEST: Right before I sent it, yes.

    APPRAISER: You always see her with a cane in many of those photographs of her at work. She relied on the cane I know, especially in the end of her...

    GUEST: She, uh... I was told that she used it until she couldn't anymore, yes.

    APPRAISER: The letter is just... is very touching, too. It's on the Missionaries of Charity, which is her order that she founded 1950 in Calcutta, where you know she worked with the poor. And she writes a nice letter, "Dear Ernest, "thank you very much for the walking stick, "so beautifully carved. "My gratitude is my prayer for you, "that you may allow by God's grace to carve "Word of God on your soul, on your mind, so that you may become more and more like Him." And it's signed "Teresa, MC," which is Missionaries of Charity.

    GUEST: Yes.

    APPRAISER: And then on the back, a little prayer from Isaiah, "See! I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand." And then Mother Teresa's written a little "you" there. You must have really touched her with your generous carving. It's a unique thing. Obviously the cane itself is worth something. We don't know where that is. And the note is something that's obviously priceless for you. To give it some kind of a value, I would insure it with a value of around a thousand. But this is about something that's much more valuable and priceless.

    GUEST: I was curious about her signature basically.

    APPRAISER: It's all right, it's perfect. She didn't have a lot of secretaries. I think she did a lot of the things herself.

    GUEST: Right, right.

    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