Philadelphia Walnut Sideboard, ca. 1880

Value (2009) | $10,000 Insurance

GUEST:
My father-in-law bought it on Santa Monica Boulevard at a secondhand furniture store in Hollywood. And he paid $200, plus he traded in an old buffet for it. That's about all I know about it.

APPRAISER:
Okay. Well, based on its design, it would date from about 1870 to about 1890. It represents elements consistent with the English Aesthetic Movement, which was founded on sturdy construction, which this clearly exhibits with its bold architectural feel, these elements of nature that they've incorporated into it, these nice, straight lines that come throughout the piece, and also these decorative hinges that you see on both the top and the bottom. They wanted to produce furniture that was artful and utilitarian. It was introduced into the United States about 1860, 1865, but became very popular following the Centennial International Exhibition in 1876. It's very distinct that this is an American adaptation of that design and, more specifically, a Philadelphia school of design. Every one of these locks is marked the same way, and I don't know if you ever noticed that, but its "Shannon, Philadelphia." They don't come up a great deal, and there's a number of fine cabinetmakers that produced it. I'm hesitant to put an attribution on it. But it was clearly a fine cabinetmaker from Philadelphia. And also the cabinet is made of walnut throughout. Even the secondary woods are walnut. For insurance purposes, I would value it at $10,000.

GUEST:
Okay. Sounds good to me.

APPRAISER:
Thanks for coming in. I sure appreciate seeing it.

GUEST:
Well, thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Witherell's
Sacramento, CA
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Insurance
Event
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)
Form
Sideboard
Material
Walnut, Wood

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.