1798 John Trumbull Engraving of Bunker Hill
I started a job about an hour and a half from my home in Clinton, North Carolina, and it was too far to drive every day back and forth, so I found an apartment in this nice lady's home, an upstairs apartment, and when I went in to look, the first thing I saw was this, and I thought... I fell in love with it. I lived there about three or four years, and when I started to move, she says, "You know that old painting ups..."-- "picture" is what she said-- "...upstairs that you like? Well, you can take it with you if you promise not to sell it." Well, I wasn't about to sell it anyway, so that was an easy agreement.
What is it that you liked about it?
Well, I love history, and I look at their faces and it just tells a story of their emotions, and I think the person that did this just... It's marvelous how he brought out the expressions of men in war.
Well, that's a very interesting thing you say that, because this is a print by a man named John Trumbull. And John Trumbull was actually a participant in the American Revolution. This is a print of the Battle of Bunker Hill, as it says. He wasn't actually at Bunker Hill. He was in Boston at the time, but he knew these men. These were colleagues of his. A lot of these images are based on firsthand drawings he did of the people who were participants. The British had long had a history of making historical prints of triumphs of the British army or navy or whatever, and John Trumbull, who was very proud to be American, decided he wanted to do a similar thing of American historical prints. And shortly after the revolution, he was going to produce a couple of prints showing these great events in the American Revolution. And he did the death of Montgomery, and then he did the Battle of Bunker Hill. And he did paintings of them which were intended to be made into prints. Now, he didn't feel at that time-- this is the end of the 18th century-- that there were American engravers who were able to do the quality that he wanted. It's quite a large print. So he went over to Europe, to London, interestingly, even though they were the ones who lost the war, and he had an engraver over there named Müller do the engraving of this in 1794. And you can see up here in little stipple dots is the name of the engraver, and 1794, which is when the engraving was made. Now, it took a little while for them to get the plate done, to get it published, so it wasn't actually published until 1798, and it was done by a man named de Poggi in London. And you can see down here is the name of the publisher and the date, and John Trumbull's name is down here. So we're talking about an 18th-century engraving of an 18th-century battle by a man who was in the vicinity, was in the war. So it's as authentic as you get. Now, obviously one of your concerns is condition.
You have quite a bit of foxing spots here. You have some water damage on the far margin over there, and then you have some area where it's actually worn. This line along here is called the plate mark. That's where the copper plate pressed into the paper, so it's thinner there. And you can see over here, it's actually broken through. Now, the paper on this is very good. It's 18th-century paper. So the paper itself is good. Bad things have been done to it. If it's treated well by a professional, you can make it look almost like new. And with prints, unlike furniture, which aren't necessarily going to die if you don't fix them, a print, this will die. It will crumble. It will get worse and worse. So it is very important that you fix it up. But even in this condition, I would insure this for about $5,000. So a fairly substantial amount, even in this condition. It would probably cost you, I would think, $500 or $600 to fix it up if you were going to restore it with a professional. But that would probably add about $1,500 onto the value of the print, so it's well worth doing it.
Thank you. That's wonderful.
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.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love