Folk Art Watercolor of Ship & Companion Portraits

Value (2009) | $25,000 Retail$35,000 Retail

GUEST:
The two people are my grandfather's grandparents. This is Mary Hall Lewis. That is her husband, Richard Lewis. The ship picture is of a ship that Mary's father was a master of, William Hall. I don't know anything much about the ship, but I do know that my grandfather's grandparents lived in New York City and then moved across the river to Hackensack, New Jersey. I've had them since about 1960. I was still in college, and they needed to be restored so a professional restorer did it for me and allowed me to pay for them at five dollars a month for a long time.

APPRAISER:
She's a really wonderful looking young lady and he's a handsome gentleman.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, I think you probably noticed you gave all of us at the folk art table palpitations of the heart when you came in with these.

GUEST:
(laughing) Well, everybody did seem interested.

APPRAISER:
And that's because this piece is watercolor on paper done by a really talented American anonymous folk artist. It's so full of detail-- this great unfurling American flag and also the way the sails are shaded. Usually they're just kind of white, but these are beautifully shaded. This was a really good painter who did this.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
There are some condition problems with the watercolor. There's a little tear here which, I understand, you had stabilized. And there's some water marks here. But this is one of those items that the condition doesn't affect the retail price very much.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, the man and woman are American folk art paintings.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
They're on board... And the black stock gives you the period, after 1825. They'd probably be $5,000 for the pair

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
in a retail setting. This is the prize of the three.

GUEST:
Right, right.

APPRAISER:
And in a retail setting, I think a conservative price would be $20,000 to $25,000. At auction, it's hard to say what it would go for because it really is an amazing object.

GUEST:
Oh, my Lord.

APPRAISER:
So, overall, retail, the three-- which I think you should definitely keep together-- would be in the $30,000 range, and possibly auction, they may go for $35,000.

GUEST:
I am floored. I just had no idea, absolutely no idea.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Longmont, CO
Appraised value (2009)
$25,000 Retail$35,000 Retail
Event
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Period
19th Century

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.