Rosewood Boston Pier Table, ca. 1820

Value (2008) | $45,000 Insurance

GUEST:
It came down in my family. It belonged to my great-great-grandparents. They lived in Salem, Massachusetts, and as far as we know, they just purchased it, and I think they were the original owners.

APPRAISER:
So, what brought the family to Grand Rapids?

GUEST:
They came in about 1850. They were early settlers here. My great-grandfather was once, I guess, engaged to a Miss Saltonstall. Did not marry her.

APPRAISER:
Oh.

GUEST:
And so he left and came to Grand Rapids and married his true love.

APPRAISER:
Now, what would you like to know about this piece?

GUEST:
It's never been appraised. I know it's a pier table, and I'd love for you to tell me more about it.

APPRAISER:
Well, a pier table would sit between the windows, and as you can see under here, there's a mirror.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And typically on a pier table, you would have a mirror above. So that if you were staring at that wall, you'd see window, mirror, mirror, window.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
So it will give you that kind of window wall effect. A pier table typically has a marble top just like this one.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And this one's actually marked. Do you know what it says underneath? It says, "Hawes and Barstow, Boston, Massachusetts." Our immediate reaction is, "Oh, that's the maker." But as you well know, they're commission merchants.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
They're not the maker. At this point, it's an anonymous maker. But that's quite all right, because it's a great piece, whether we know who made it or not. Whenever you see these very fancy mounts, you almost always assume, "Oh, it must be New York." You'll find them on some Boston pieces and even fewer Philadelphia pieces. But when I look at it a lot more closely, I start to see things that I think are much more characteristic of Boston. When you look down at the bottom there, you see these marks here?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
This is a flexible molding, which is brass and it's typically backed by lead.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
And Bostonians used this in upholstery work. They'd wrap it around the ends of sofas, and you'll see it on the feet of pier tables where they'd wrap it around a ball foot.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And Bostonians seem to do this more than anybody else. Now, when we look at the feet... And I know they look as black as your shoes. But in this case, they're what we call "verd antique," which means they're actually painted to simulate aged bronze like a bronze sculpture.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So they're actually a kind of greenish gold. They're much closer in reality to this color than to the black that we see.

GUEST:
My heaven.

APPRAISER:
That's one area where actually cleaning a piece is a positive, because the varnish is blackened, and it's obscured that really beautiful verd antique. And those feet would really start to jump and dance for us. The other thing about this that's really nice is that pretty much everything they could add to it, they have, so if we start at the bottom,

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
we have the verd antique feet. We have the flexible molding. Then we have these brass mounts and bases. Then these wonderful mounts.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And then, you can see along the back edge and coming up the side?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That's a brass-and- ebony inlay molding. And that outlines the mirror, and on top of it all, it's all done in rosewood. And rosewood was the most expensive wood of its day. And anytime you see a piece this early-- and I think in this case, we're talking about 1815 to, at the latest, 1820-25-- we're talking the best of the best. There's very little of this really high-end Boston material. I would insure this for at least $45,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh. Oh, wow! That's very exciting. That's amazing.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2008)
$45,000 Insurance
Event
Grand Rapids, MI (August 09, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Table
Material
Brass, Marble, Rosewood

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.