1849 Prince Albert Presentation Horn to Professor John Anderson

Value (2009) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

GUEST:
When my sister and I were packing up our mother's house when she moved to Madison, we found it with some things that had come down through our paternal grandfather, who, unfortunately, died when our father was a child.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And so, we know very little about anything that came from him. We do know that he had a career in banking. And other than that, we have no way of connecting it to him; we can only speculate how he may have gotten it.

APPRAISER:
The plaque on the side says that it was given by Prince Albert to a magician named Professor Anderson, who performed at Prince Albert's birthday celebration, I believe in 1849.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And some friends of ours in England did some research on Professor Anderson, and they found out that both he and his son, who followed him, toured in the United States and England. And they periodically had business rehearsals, so I can only speculate that perhaps he left it as collateral for a loan at some point. But other than that, I have no idea how it got here. I'm not even sure whether it's authentic. It is a presentational horn. And based upon what I've seen today, I'm confident that it is authentic. It's actually a Scottish Highland cattle horn. It has been heated and pressed flat. So, originally, it would have been cone-shaped, as any horn, but now it's got this flattened form. As you can see, there's a shield-shaped plaque which is applied here, which says, "Presented by Prince Albert to Professor Anderson in testimony of the prince's approval of the classical arrangements of the Grand Fete in conjunction with Professor Anderson's own extraordinary performances on the occasion of Prince Albert's birthday." And then, it's dated "28th of September, 1849." Interestingly enough, Prince Albert's birthday was actually August 26, so that may have been the day that he performed, and then it was presented at a later date. Based upon the research I've been able to do, in 1849, John Anderson, also known as "Professor Anderson," the magician-- he was a Scottish magician-- did perform for Prince Albert and Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. There are also accounts that he performed for them in London the very same year. I have a feeling, based upon the way this is presented, this is in presentation for his performance at Balmoral Castle. Up here, we have the thistle decoration, which is Scottish through and through. And then, obviously, the horn, which we feel is Highland cattle. You've got this stone here-- it's actually quartz. It's a natural clear quartz, which has been foil-backed to give it a little bit of a shine. There's a small chip to it, I believe, at the base...

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
...which doesn't affect the value too much. And then, if we spin it one more time, you can also see again, we have a small quartz jewel that's been inset. I've taken a look at the mounts, and I've been unable to see any hallmarks, which makes me think it's not silver.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I suspect that it's either a pewter or a base white metal, which I don't think affects the value considerably, because, overall, it just has a wonderful presentational look. Based upon the fact that the stones that are inset are natural quartz, as opposed to a glass, and just the overall presentation of it-- I've shown it to some colleagues, I'm confident that it's right-- I would put an auction estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 on it.

GUEST:
Wow, very good.

APPRAISER:
It's a very nice object, and thanks so much for bringing it in today.

GUEST:
Well, thank you for your information.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, New Jersey
Appraised value (2009)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Madison, WI (July 11, 2009)
Period
19th Century
Material
Horn, Metal, Quartz

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.