Miniature Hebrew Bible, ca. 1850

Value (2008) | $1,000 Retail

GUEST:
Well, my great-great- grandfather was a rabbi, and it was his, and that's almost all I know about it, except that my dad kept it in the safe and would never let me touch it when I was growing up, so...

APPRAISER:
And you tried to touch it a lot?

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
Apparently you were unsuccessful, because it's in very, very good condition. It's a beautiful mid-19th century Hebrew Bible. This is a little magnifier to see the front cover of it. And then I think we ought to, to give an idea of just how tiny this text is, we can open it up to just a random two pages. I don't think we're going to try and attempt to read this here today.

GUEST:
Uh, I don't think... You won't get any help from me, anyway.

APPRAISER:
It's part of a whole tradition of miniature bookmaking that goes back centuries. And the tinier they get, the more complex their production values are, and they're very, very difficult to make and read. And people for ages have been absolutely charmed by the whole concept of miniature books in general. People just love, especially with Bibles, to see how can we get the word of God into the head of a pin. And it's just this fascination people have with how many words can they fit in a smaller and smaller text. What time frame would it have been with your great-grandfather?

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
Where would he have lived then?

GUEST:
In Russia.

APPRAISER:
In Russia?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
The Bible, interestingly enough, is printed in Poland, in Warsaw. The Bible is undated, but it's approximately from the 1840s to the 1850s, and again it's an example of just a terrific little miniature book. To put a monetary value on it, at retail it would be worth approximately $1,000.

GUEST:
I thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
My pleasure. This little book speaks volumes.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Sanders Rare Books
Salt Lake City, Utah
Appraised value (2008)
$1,000 Retail
Event
Dallas, TX (June 28, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Book, Miniature
Material
Glass, Paper

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.