Eagle Riding Toy, ca. 1895
This eagle belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. My mother's 89 years old. She was born in 1916. So we think that my grandmother bought this eagle for her about 1918 or 1919. We were cleaning out my grandmother's closet after she died, and this was back in the back of the closet. It hadn't been touched for years.
Well, it is pretty amazing and in pretty wonderful condition, and have you discovered anything about it?
There's an emblem underneath telling where it was made.
Oh, yes. So we do know it's a manufactured piece. It was made by S.A. Smith in Vermont. They were makers of a wonderful array of wooden riding toys. I can remember the first one of these I saw was about 35, 40 years ago when I first got in the business. And we didn't know it was manufactured. We thought it was a folk art piece. And then we discovered that Smith had made them. And they made a battleship. They made cars. They made a variety of things, and they all were made with this flat wood construction. But we've always found that this is the most spectacular piece they made. And it was made right around 1895-- wonderful piece of patriotic Americana. Even down to the shield right here on the seat-- "America." The child would sit here, of course, and this is how he would steer. So it's a wonder any of them survived. I've seen three or four over the years. It's a great riding toy by one of the great makers, and this is a pretty decent example. I've done a little research. The last one of these I know of selling at auction sold about ten years ago for $2,500. So I think on today's market, this could easily bring $3,000 to $4,000.
Oh, my goodness. I am thrilled to death.
Well, it's because it's in such great condition. It's just a fabulous piece.
My mother is going to absolutely be thrilled.
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.
Walt Disney | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Coming to American Experience September 14 & 15 is the unprecedented look at the complex life and enduring legacy of one of America’s best-known storytellers – Walt Disney
Arthur & George
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) stars as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part MASTERPIECE Mystery! adaptation of the novel by Julian Barnes. Airs Sundays, September 6-20