English Pear-Form Tea Caddy, ca. 1810

Value (2008) | $3,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
This box was given to me by a dear friend and mentor in Houston, Texas. And she didn't have any family, so she had some treasures that she gave to people that she loved, and she's since passed on, so it's very special to me.

APPRAISER:
Now, you had said that you just considered it what?

GUEST:
A box, a pear box, is what I've always called it.

APPRAISER:
Okay, actually, what it is, is it's a tea caddy.

GUEST:
It is?

APPRAISER:
And this would have been made in England in the early part of the 19th century, made about 1800, 1810. It would be called a Regency tea caddy, and they made it in the shape of a pear, and they made other tea caddies in the form of other fruit. You find apple-form tea caddies in particular. Given that it's shaped like a pear, what do you think it's made of?

GUEST:
Pear wood?

APPRAISER:
That's a very good guess, and that's exactly right. We just call them fruitwood. And this is a particularly good example. It has a lock in the front. Tea was extremely valuable during this time period, so if you had this set up on a sideboard, you didn't want anybody coming in and sort of going, "Well, I think I'll help myself to a couple of spoonfuls of tea here." And they were a terrific form-- nice, whimsical, fun form that people had. We have also some problems with it. It's not perfect.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And in fact, the first thing I'm going to point out is right here. Now, that is called a finial, and if you were staring at a pear, would you expect to see an acorn on top?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
You would expect to see a little stem.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Well, chances are, at some point during its life, it's had its finial changed. So it has a replacement there. We can take the top off. We have a broken hinge at the back here. And on the bottom and to the side, we have these splits that go through the wood. And this is caused by the wood shrinking and pulling apart over time. But that's a good indication of age. I'll tell you, on one of the positive sides is it has very good color. And the color's a nice, almost like a golden pear. And actually it looks like it might have had traces of some red stain here. But it's been so long since it's been gone that it really, it's acquired just a wonderful natural color after that. Also what they all have, all the real ones-- and they're making fake ones today-- they all have this funny little plug in the bottom. That is something that all the old ones have that the new ones do not. So if anybody out there is ever looking to see if they have an authentic one, look for that plug. Any idea as to value?

GUEST:
Well, I thought if it was worth $80 or $100, I'd be thrilled.

APPRAISER:
Well, at auction, how does $3,000 strike you?

GUEST:
(laughing) Wow. I'm in shock.

APPRAISER:
I knew you'd like that one.

GUEST:
I love it, love it! Yes!

APPRAISER:
If it were in perfect condition, you'd probably be looking closer to $5,000 at auction.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin & Whitehurst Appraisal Group
Stuart, FL
Appraised value (2008)
$3,000 Auction
Event
Chattanooga, TN (July 19, 2008)
Form
Tea Caddy
Material
Wood
November 14, 2011: We contacted appraiser Ron Bourgeault for an updated appraisal of this object in today's market. Stuart Whitehurst, who originally appraised this object, was unavailable.

Current Appraised Value: $1,500 (Decreased)

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.