Turned Ash Burl Bowl, ca. 1820

Value (2008) | $6,000 Auction

GUEST:
This came from my grandmother's home, upstate New York. The home was built back in the early 1800s, sometime between 1800 and 1820, on a Revolutionary War grant, a land grant. And this came from the home. I really-- we always called it the "bread bowl."

APPRAISER:
Well, in the business, we would refer to this as a "burl bowl."

GUEST:
Burl bowl? Oh.

APPRAISER:
A burl is on the side of a tree and it looks sort of like a wart, or a knot.

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
And so, the guy that made this had to have a burl about that big.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
Cut it off the tree,

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
and then make a bowl out of it. And the thing about a burl is that it's very, very hard wood. And as you can see from looking inside of here, that the grain is all swirly...

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Well, the reason they made it out of burl was because it would stay stable more so than a straight grain would.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Because all that grain was intermingled. The time period fits perfect with what you're saying-- 1815 or '20.

GUEST:
Oh, my. Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
And the thing that I look for in these, is I look for lots of wear on the inside. You can see where they used tools on it and they put dough in it and they just used it. That's what you want to see. Now, the other thing about this one is that it was turned on a lathe. If you look real closely, you can see the rings underneath here, and if you run your hand over it-- Can you feel how uneven that is?

GUEST:
Oh, my, yes. I never noticed that.

APPRAISER:
The other thing that is great about it is that it has an oval shape. When it was made, it was perfectly round, but over the years, it expands and contracts, and it'll contract one way against the grain more so than another, so what was perfectly round becomes oval. I showed this to a couple of the other guys and we think it's made out of ash. You hear us talk about surface on the show all the time.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
For some things, it's not as critical as others, but in a burl bowl, that's very important, and it has a nice old surface. Now, where do you have this in the house?

GUEST:
Well, it was sitting on top of our big old TV, holding DVDs and videotapes. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
Really?

GUEST:
Yes.

1You got a big, wide spot on top of the television?

GUEST:
Yes... Yes, I still have one of those old TVs. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
Would you put less DVDs in it if I told you that, in a retail setting, this bowl's worth $6,000?

GUEST:
Oh, my. Oh, my. (laughing) Oh, my. (laughing) I don't know what I'll put in it now. (both laughing)

APPRAISER:
You might want to, at least, put it somewhere where you won't knock it off on the floor.

GUEST:
That's right. Well, thank you; I'm just so pleased.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Farmer & Associates
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2008)
$6,000 Auction
Event
Dallas, TX (June 28, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bowl
Material
Ash, Wood

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.