18th-Century Dutch Silver-Mounted Tanach

Value (2012) | $8,000 Insurance$10,000 Insurance

It was a gift to me on my Bar Mitzvah. It was actually given to me by my father. I got a pair of roller blades and this, and at the time, I was a lot more excited about the roller blades. But I do know that it was given to my father from one of his cousins, who he considered an uncle, and to him from another family member.

It's a copy of the five books of Moses-- the Torah, the Hebrew Bible. So something that would have been used as a scholarly work. What's interesting about it is it has a silver binding overlaid on brass. And this little cartouche here on the cover would have been so you could have it monogrammed or engraved. This kind of thing would have been given as a gift for a significant occasion. And the book itself-- we'll open it up here-- was printed in Amsterdam, dated 1722. So it's a very early piece. You know, Judaica, sort of Jewish ceremonial items, as you know, are pretty rare. There weren't a lot to begin with, and the fact that it survived all these centuries intact is a pretty amazing thing. The binding looks to be contemporary with the book. It's very elaborately and richly decorated. And if you think... You know, put into the context of history, Amsterdam was a very important center for commerce and trade in the 18th century, and the Jewish population was certainly large and very prominent in the merchant and shipping trades. So it's the kind of thing that would have... certainly have been presented at that time to somebody of means. It has a few condition issues, which impact it a bit. On the front, it's missing a little bit of the decoration in the binding, and it would have had another title page, an engraved and decorated title page.


And that's not the end of the world. What collectors will often do is find a copy of a similar work and get a reproduction of the title page and have it tipped into the book so that it's complete. It's something that is quite rare. And I would think for insurance purposes, you probably want to look in the $8,000 to $10,000 range.

Oh, wow.

So, a little better than the roller blades in retrospect.

Yeah, I guess so, huh?

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Update (2012)
$8,000 Insurance$10,000 Insurance
Appraised value (2007)
$8,000 Insurance$10,000 Insurance
Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2007)
December 17, 2012: We contacted appraiser Kerry Shrives for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $8,000 - $10,000 (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.