Lakota Sioux Doctor’s Bag, ca. 1895

Value (2009) | $5,000 Retail$7,000 Insurance

GUEST:
We live in the Black Hills in South Dakota. My parents ran a private museum and a Wild West show. And my dad was born in Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1908, grew up in Deadwood. Apparently some Lakota, Native American ancestry on his mother's side. A lot of the Native people would bring him pieces that they wanted preserved, that they were afraid would be lost in their family and things like that. So to the best of my knowledge, that's where this came from.

APPRAISER:
Okay, this is a Lakota bag, and it is a doctor's bag. And as you can see, it's beaded on all sides.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
What's a bit unusual is a lot of the bags are white background, and this is a blue background. I want to show how this opens, and as you can see, it has a trade cloth lining on the inside.

GUEST:
Is that what that is, the stripe?

APPRAISER:
Yeah, absolutely.

GUEST:
I didn't know.

APPRAISER:
Now, there are a couple of ways that we can date this. If you look right here in the center, these are metal-cut beads. Now, metal-cut beads really date into the 1890s. So this bag is 1885, 1890. And it's not thread, it's sinew. Again, that's one of the ways that we date Native American material. One other thing that is an issue of condition, and I don't know whether you can see this or not, but do you see this area here?

GUEST:
Yeah, I think there's another little small spot near the bottom.

APPRAISER:
Exactly, you have a few areas that need to be repaired. Now, that does impact on value.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Obviously, right now, the economic times, you're going to see slightly lower prices than you might have seen, say, a year ago.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Two years ago in auction, there was one that sold in Cincinnati with a white background and flags for $3,000. I have seen a blue one with a blue background being offered in the past year in a gallery for $6,500.

GUEST:
Really?!

APPRAISER:
A lot of collectors would look at this, and because it has this blue background and because it's basically really in great shape...

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
...it would be highly desirable for them. And you have almost this transition from Native American into the early settlers in the West.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And you have the blending of those two cultures

GUEST:
Yeah, it's fascinating.

APPRAISER:
right in this bag.

GUEST:
Juxtaposition.

APPRAISER:
And I think that's terrific. What I want to do is I want to give you a realistic value, and I think you can use this for insurance.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
In a gallery, I think you would expect to see this sell for between $5,000 and $7,000.

GUEST:
I'm... I'm flabbergasted. For a thing that was just commonplace to me growing up. It was just a family item. That's quite a shock.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Dallas, Texas
Appraised value (2009)
$5,000 Retail$7,000 Insurance
Event
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bag
Material
Beads, Cloth, Sinew

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.