Tiffany & Company Silver, ca. 1885

Value (2006) | $34,000 Auction

GUEST:
They came from my great-aunt. Um, probably about 20 years ago. I was in my early 20s, and she had received them in her early 20s from her husband's grandmother. And she didn't have children with him so they came to me.

APPRAISER:
All four of these wonderful pieces are by Tiffany and Company of New York. Which we know based on the markings on the underside of each. The marking is here, and the dating is signified by the letter within the mark. So in this case that letter stands for 1875 to 1891. So all of those pieces bear that same date letter. They represent why the Tiffany name is so renowned. You can take away the decoration. Just the handling of the metal-- this hammering just makes beautiful facets. It's all sparkling like a diamond. All of these pieces are what we would call Aesthetic Movement. And the Aesthetic Movement was a style of decoration that looked a lot toward Asia and the East. So all four of these pieces show a lot of Japanese influence. The naturalistic decoration, the use of florals. And in two of these cases, the use of monkeys. So I'm wondering if there was any family connection with monkeys.

GUEST:
Uh, you know what, I don't know. In the back of my mind I remember hearing something about a pet monkey.

APPRAISER:
Oh, really?

GUEST:
But, you know, I don't know for sure. And it was so long ago that... At the time, I wish I'd asked more questions, but I just loved it because it felt to me, contemporary.

APPRAISER:
The idea of a pet monkey is not outrageous. This would have been a custom-made piece.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And the reason I know that is it has an acid-etched monogram. But over the top of the monogram they placed these monkey figures. This was expensive when it was purchased. This piece with the frogs is fantastic quality. This is all top-notch American silversmithing. Beautiful, beautiful quality. This piece has mixed metal, which you can see on the back of this diving frog-- copper inlay. And the back of the frog is gold wash. So there are three colors on one piece. This is fabulous stuff. You're looking at, for auction, and I think that this is a little conservative-- but I would say the spill vase with the tangle of monkeys, I could see that doing $3,000. The bowl with the frogs, probably $6,000.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
The mixed-metal tray... $10,000, and this amazing pitcher with the monkeys, $15,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Which brings you to a total of $34,000 worth of amazing American silver.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So it's... it's, it's beautiful, what I would call lust-worthy silver. So I certainly thank you for bringing it. I've loved seeing it.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Wishart Appraisals
Stuart, Florida
Appraised value (2006)
$34,000 Auction
Event
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bowl, Pitcher, Tray
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.

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.