Late 19th-Century San Ildefonso Pueblo Pot

Value (2009) | $25,000 Retail$50,000 Retail

HOST: This pot came from an estate of some very wealthy people back east. And it ended up with my mother, is how it happened. She was married to one of the heirs of the estate and then he inherited the pot and it just sat in her house.

Do you know about the potter Maria Martinez at San Ildefonso pueblo in New Mexico? The black pottery? She is the famous potter in the American Indian world. Maria Martinez started making pots around the turn of the century, 1900, 1910. And everybody thinks that all the pottery from San Ildefonso is black on black. This is a San Ildefonso pot from the 19th century. It kind of has a gray background, sort of a grayish color. And it has these incredible birds on it that go all the way around it, and these abstract designs. The color's real soft. The slip on it's a little bit weak almost. It's a very soft sort of look and color to it. Now, we turned it over, and in very weak letters here, it says San Ildefonso. And then there's a name underneath it, "Montoya." Maria learned to make pots from lots of people. This pot was made by Florentino Montoya, one of her teachers. Montoya's wife's name was Martina Vigil. And Vigil and Montoya started making pots at San Ildefonso probably about 1875. So this is probably, because of the gray slip on the background, one of the earlier San Ildefonso pots that anybody's seen that is identifiable. The fact that it's signed is remarkable. This is a pre-Maria pot that traces the whole tradition that went to her and the great art pots that she did in the 20th century. Now, you had an appraisal.

It was done in the '80s and it was like $1,250?

We've only seen one or two of these pots ever come up for sale. They're extremely rare. We've never seen a signed one come up for sale. On a bad day in a nice gallery, $25,000 for this pot.

Wow. Wow.

It could go double that. It could go $40,000 or $50,000.

Oh, my God.

It's a great thing. It is a very great piece of art.

Thank you.

Thank you for coming.

Thank you for telling me that. It's just great news. Gee.

Appraisal Details

San Antonio, TX
Appraised value (2009)
$25,000 Retail$50,000 Retail
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Tribal Arts

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.