Silver & Glass Presentation Decanter Set, ca. 1874

Value (2010) | $5,000 Retail$7,000 Retail
Watch  

GUEST:
It's been in my husband's family since it was awarded to his great-grandfather in 1874.

APPRAISER:
On the bottom is "W" and "H", which is Wood and Hughes, and that's an American silver company located in New York City. Also on the bottom is "900 over 1,000." Sterling silver is 925 over 1,000 for American silver.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So this would be a coin silver content in all of the silver pieces on here. The bottles are continental. Hard to say exactly, but probably Bohemian. If you've noticed, the most wonderful thing about the silver holder are the masks. In each one of the corners you have masks over here, masks here, all the way around the piece. It's highly decorated. Now, the fun part of this decanter set... and I have to bring my notes out and read this because I don't want to tip it upside down to read it. It says, "Special premium from the Kentucky Railroad for the best herd of cattle owned by one person." And it was awarded by the Bourbon County Agricultural Society, September 1874. And I understand that the man that had the best herd of cattle was Edwin Bedford.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
Can you tell me who he was?

GUEST:
He was my husband's great-grandfather. He was a cattleman all of his life. He sold a magnificent bull to a gentleman for a huge sum of money. I think at that time it was $35,000. The gentleman kept the bull for five years and brought it back and said it wasn't any good. Well, in the cattle business, you always return the animal immediately. They were typical men, they were real hardheads. And there was a huge lawsuit that went on for many, many years. Broke both of them.

APPRAISER:
Oh, well, he ended up with this, didn't he? I would put a value on this, because it is so unusual, and then to have that nice history to it, I would say $5,000 to $7,000 for retail value.

GUEST:
I'm surprised. Thank you very much.

APPRAISER:
Well, thank you very much for bringing it.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2010)
$5,000 Retail$7,000 Retail
Event
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)
Period
19th Century
Form
Decanter
Material
Cut Glass, Glass, Silver

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.