Naval Captain’s Uniform Group, ca. 1925

Value (2008) | $1,000 Insurance

GUEST:
I brought a hat and some shoulder things and then a belt... or I'm not sure what it is, actually. And they were my great-great-uncle's possessions, and he won 11 Olympic medals.

APPRAISER:
He did? Where did he go to school at?

GUEST:
He went to school at the Naval Academy in Maryland.

APPRAISER:
The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. And these are the pieces that he wore later in life. Do you know what these are called?

GUEST:
Epaulet or..

APPRAISER:
Exactly-- epaulets. And they go on the shoulders of the uniform, and we have the eagle, which means that he was a captain. That's the rank that he held. They're just dress. Some people actually think that the early ones were designed to protect the shoulders from saber strikes, but that wasn't the case. These are beautiful. They've got the anchor for the Navy, and they've got little Navy buttons, with the droop-wing style eagle, with the anchor. It's got the brass bullion around the edge. Just really pretty having the set. And this is a fore-and-aft hat. These were real popular with the Naval soldiers, even back as early as the Revolutionary War. This one, again, has the same kind of button. And if we turn it over, it's W.H. Horstmann, and they were located in Philadelphia. And that's the company that would have sold it. They sold a lot of really high quality pieces such as these to well-to-do soldiers and sailors, and they were actually in business from the early 1800s on up into World War II. They sold pieces during World War II as well. And this is a belt. What are these for, do you know?

GUEST:
Suspenders, or...?

APPRAISER:
They're sword hangers. And if you notice, we have the small clasps. That's what actually slipped into the mount rings on the sword, and that's where his sword would have hung from. What's interesting about it is that you have the box. Most of the time, these pieces get separated over the years, and it's nice that we have them all together, because it all goes into this one box. It's japanned tin. Would have been really fancy, once upon a time.

GUEST:
Was the box originally all black?

APPRAISER:
It would have been all black, and then they would have outlined it in the gold paint to kind of dress it up a little bit. And it would have been a really expensive set when he bought them new. So he would have saved them for his best occasions. And these pieces would be from the later part of his service-- probably 1920s, 1930s, right around through there, because he had made the high rank of captain, and it's nice that it is the higher rank. The higher rank, the more the value of the pieces. As a group, because we know who it is, because of your ancestor, it makes it a little bit more of a personal item. This is a piece that if I was going to insure it, I'd want to insure it for about a thousand dollars as a group.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Appraised value (2008)
$1,000 Insurance
Event
Palm Springs, CA (June 07, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Belt, Box, Hat, Uniform
Material
Cloth, Metal, Paint

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.