William H. D. Koerner Painting, ca. 1935

Value (2008) | $150,000 Retail

My dad bought it in an auction back in the early '70s and we've had it ever since.

And what do you know about the artist?

His name's W.H.D. Koerner and he was, uh-- grew up in Ohio.

And his parents were from Germany. He was born in 1878 and he died in 1938. And I believe he was also an illustrator for the New York Post. Well, at age 20, without any artistic training, he was hired as a staff artist for the Chicago Tribune. And he then went to New York and he ended up studying with Norman Rockwell's teacher and later with Howard Pyle, who was the teacher of N.C. Wyeth. So, two famous illustrators. He was hired in 1919 by the Saturday Evening Post and asked to illustrate two stories that had Western themes. And he really didn't know anything about the West, so he embarked upon a whole process of research, studied a lot of books. He taught himself everything about Western history, tools, weapons, dress. He really became kind of an expert and he fell in love with it all and became known as one of America's foremost illustrators of the West. And we can see some of these details here. We have the hanging chili peppers, which are known as ristras, the hat, the kerchief, even this wonderful belt with these silver medallions and, of course, the gun, and even the serape over here on this other figure.


And we see it has the typical Koerner signature down here in the lower right-hand corner, where he signed with his three initials over the last name. Since the picture was published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1935, I would imagine it was painted in early 1935 or late 1934. It looks like this guy is about to pull his gun out and maybe there's going to be a shootout.

It looks like something's fixin' to happen.

It's oil on canvas and the artist took two stretched canvases and joined them together. We can see where they're joined together right here in the center of the picture. I'm not sure quite why this happened. Perhaps he started out with a smaller format in mind and then needed more space and had to expand it. It's something that probably not every collector would go for, but I think you have a terrific painting by Koerner with fantastic color, great drama. Do you know how much your father paid for it when he bought it at auction?

I believe it was around $30,000.

Well, if you were to sell this in a retail gallery, I would expect the price to be around $150,000.

Really? Excellent.

Thanks so much for bringing it in. It's great to see.

Your welcome.

Appraisal Details

Nan Chisholm Fine Art, Ltd.
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$150,000 Retail
Dallas, TX (June 28, 2008)
July 11, 2011: After this segment aired a viewer emailed to point out that at the beginning of the appraisal, the painting's owner was mistaken in saying that the artist, W.H.D. Koerner, had grown up in Ohio. Koerner actually grew up in Iowa.

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.