1659 Nicholas Culpeper ”Pharmacopoeia Londinensis“
I brought a book. It appeared to me to be an herbal book. I'm a gardener and I grow herbs, so I thought it was of interest to me and it was old. And it was wet with little bugs in it.
And where did you get it?
At a garage sale in the suburbs of New York. Probably 30 years ago.
Well, it's from a well-known New York library. It's got a large bookplate, the Horticultural Society of New York, who have sold books over the years, and the book itself is by a very well-known English author, Nicholas Culpeper. You see his name down there. And its title is Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, or The London Dispensatory. It's a series of English recipes from early authors such as Galen, a classical author. They used to have medical remedies based upon plant life. So you'd have an index at the back. You've got a table of diseases. You've got a lot of recipes to do with the liver. "Lice killeth," presumably killing lice. Then "lice causeth," causing. And then lots about itching. It's very worn with age. But this is an early calfskin binding. It ran into lots and lots of editions. And here it is, a sixth edition of the book. Culpeper himself was born in 1616 and died in 1654. And the work was very, very popular. The book was published in America for the first time in Boston in 1720. This particular edition is 1659. London. The first was 1653. The binding itself, you see, is just the calf. It's got the turn-ins. It's before the ages of having what we call "paste-downs." And the whole thing is in absolutely unsophisticated condition. What did you pay for this book?
25 cents? And that was 30 years ago?
Yes. The people that I bought it from said that their grandmother was a doctor and that this was her book and they were getting rid of all her junk that was in their basement.
Well, right now, I would put a retail value on this of between $2,000 and $3,000.
Oh, I think it was a good investment on 25 cents 30 years ago.
Yes, it certainly was a good investment.
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.