Chinese Bamboo Mountain Carving, ca. 1890

Value (2009) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

GUEST:
My father was in the Army after World War II, and he was stationed in Japan. And every week he would get his rations, which cost $2 and included a carton of American cigarettes. He would take the cigarettes to a little store and sell them for Japanese yen. And he would get about $12 to $14 in yen, depending on the week. So, one week he took them in and, in turn, he bought this for what he got for his carton of cigarettes.

APPRASIER: This is bamboo. This was designed to be put on a table for the scholar to contemplate, to look at. And what it depicts is a congregation of scholars at this monastery that's perched in the mountain itself. And they are engaged in conversation and walking, and you can see pine trees, and the very heavily cut and carved work here. They carved under all the way through. And as we turn it, we can even see, at one point, scholars sitting at a table, which looks like a table of rock. And they're sitting and perhaps playing a game. There are also mountain goats. And very close there, you can see some cranes. Now, this was a section of bamboo that's very thick. Very unusual to find one this thick. Because it's so heavy and thick, it has cracked, but that doesn't affect the piece. It's fine that way. We don't see these much. It's extremely unusual. A few of us have talked about the dating and the value. And we think it maybe dates later in the Qing Dynasty, 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. And as to the value, today in the auction market, we think this should bring between $10,000 and $15,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh. Wow. (laughs) Wow. I need to take good care of it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin Sokolow Antiques
Bayside, WI
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Madison, WI (July 11, 2009)
Form
Carving
Material
Bamboo

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.