Self-Framed Kodak Advertisement, ca. 1918

Value (2005) | $3,000 Auction

GUEST:
I found it up in Fortuna, North Dakota, which is really close to the Canadian border, and it was in an old antique shop which is no longer there and we bought it about 30 years ago.

APPRAISER:
And how much did you pay for it?

GUEST:
I paid $80 for it, which I thought was quite a bit back then-- really, in the '70s, I thought...

APPRAISER:
That's a very adventurous buy...

GUEST:
Yeah, I thought so.

APPRAISER:
at the time. What attracted you to it?

GUEST:
The picture itself, and I have some old cameras at home, so I thought, well, that may be a cute grouping, put the cameras next to the old picture and, you know, do something like that, but mainly it was just the picture itself. I thought it was just such a family...

APPRAISER:
It's a nice composition. Right.

GUEST:
Nice, cozy picture, so I just...

APPRAISER:
It is that; it's very warm.

GUEST:
She told me it was an advertisement.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
Have no idea how old it is, and I just now figured out it was a photograph. I thought it was a print.

APPRAISER:
No, it's an actual photograph.

GUEST:
Yeah. I had no idea it was a photograph.

APPRAISER:
As far as dating it goes, it's sort of tough, because you can't really get a great look at the camera. It's a fairly large one, and there are some other clues in the picture. The length of her dress, for example. I date this picture between 1917 and 1919, because before that the dresses were lower and then by the '20s the dresses were creeping all the way up, and it fits in with that rather large camera. What you have here is what's called a self-framed advertisement. It's a term of art for when the legend of the company agrees with the product--

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
--in the frame.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They're much more common for liquor and beer advertisements, old breweriana-- very popular, those great big Budweiser self-framed pieces.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Now, this advertisement back then would have most likely hung in a drugstore. I'm fascinated by the slogan. Kodak went through a period back in the teens and '20s where it was trying to make "kodak" a generic word, which is exactly the opposite of what most companies wanted, because they were afraid they would lose that registration on their company name, but Kodak was always trying to either change it into a verb or change the nature of the noun-- "Keep a Kodak Story." Eventually they gave up. That never caught on. I mean, they sold a lot of film, but they never succeeded in their slogan as part of the language. Now, you get around to the value of something like this. You have several elements working on it. First of all, self-framed advertisements are a big area of collecting. Another range of interest is old photography, and you have an actual photograph in a very large format.

GUEST:
Yeah, which I just found out today.

APPRAISER:
You have camera collectors.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And period costume collectors. So, there's a lot of elements working together to... to push up the value of this, so once you put all those elements together, your $80 turns into approximately $3,000.

GUEST:
Whoa.

APPRAISER:
Which is what this should get at a good advertising auction.

GUEST:
Wow. That is wonderful.

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
I figured, well, maybe $300. Three thousand dollars?

APPRAISER:
Three thousand dollars.

GUEST:
Whoa.

APPRAISER:
It's a beautiful piece. It has so much going for it and it's in beautiful condition also.

GUEST:
Thank you.

APPRAISER:
Thank you.

GUEST:
$3,000-- whoa. That's amazing.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2005)
$3,000 Auction
Event
Bismarck, ND (July 30, 2005)
Period
20th Century

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.