19th-Century Hawaiian Poi Pounders

Value (2006) | $13,400 Retail$17,600 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
These are... was in my family for a very long time, and what I can gather, these were my great-great grand uncle'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:
Boy, they're wonderful objects, and they are poi pounders. And poi is central to the Hawaiian culture. Poi is made from the taro root. First, it's steamed. And then they would use this large one, a masher, to bring it to the poi. Then, later on, you would use the small pounder, and that would then bring it to the poi, and it's extremely hard work, I understand.

GUEST:
Yeah, it's very.

APPRAISER:
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.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
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.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Now, this is the little beauty. This is made for a very fine grain 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 like that.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
This is an extremely rare poi pounder, and was probably made for the elite--

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
--originally. I don't know how long your family had had it, but that is the real treasure, you know? Have you any idea what they're worth?

GUEST:
Um, you know, my mom say maybe $1,000 for a stone. I watched the ROADSHOW about seven years ago--

APPRAISER:
Uh-huh.

GUEST:
--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. Okay? 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:
Never knew that. Was all in a closet. It probably will get wrapped up and go right back into the closet. Thank you.

APPRAISER:
Thank you very much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art
Santa Barbara, California
Appraised value (2006)
$13,400 Retail$17,600 Auction
Event
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)
Period
19th Century
Form
Tool
Material
Stone
November 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)

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.