18th-Century Silver Coffee Pot & Bowls

Value (2006) | $5,500 Retail$8,500 Insurance

GUEST:
We brought into the ROADSHOW today three pieces of silver that have been in the family for basically as long as I can remember. They were my great aunt's, and she owned a jewelry and silver store in a local town. And my mother worked there when she was very young. My mother inherited them from her, and then, we, in turn, inherited them from our mother.

APPRAISER:
Do you know anything about who made them or...

GUEST:
No. Not at all, and we haven't done any research, per se. I was under the impression that some of the stampings on them can be somewhat deceiving and/or confusing. And we just never really bothered to try and research them because we just didn't know what to really look for.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, let me tell you a little bit about what I know about them.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is an American sterling silver bowl with an open ... floral design. It's made by Gorham, a very good American company. Nice form, probably mid-20th century, and it's in very good shape. This one over here was made by Mauser, another American company. This one's a little earlier and a little heavier and a little bit more valuable because of that, and that's also very nicely decorated with a grape vine decoration. This is English. And we have here, on the bottom, marks that indicate that it was made in 1758/59. Made by an important maker, Thomas Heming, who, in 1760, went on to become the principal smith for the King of England.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness. That's impressive.

APPRAISER:
So, and what you have here is a coffee pot and a beautiful, naturalistic piece of silver. Now, have you ever had them appraised?

GUEST:
Well, yeah, we did. It was kind of like an informal type of situation, because it was at a showing, so to speak, off site, if you will, and they said without looking at their books back at the office, et cetera, they just basically said, well, about $800 a piece.

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, silver has a fairly high retail price, and then drops off fairly significantly for fair market value or wholesale.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
So I would figure that this bowl, retail, might be $1,000, and that bowl retail might be $1,500. But this is a little different story-- important maker, good weight, very pretty piece, and I would think that a good auction estimate would be $3,000 to $4,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness.

APPRAISER:
And an insurance evaluation of $6,000 would be very, very easy.

GUEST:
That's super.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
EnservioSelect
Easthampton, MA
Appraised value (2006)
$5,500 Retail$8,500 Insurance
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Period
18th Century
Material
Silver

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.

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