Edward Potthast Oil Painting, ca. 1920

Value (2011) | $25,000 Insurance

My grandmother bought Potthast paintings for her son and daughter, and I've seen these paintings since I was about nine years old. My grandmother was a friend of Helen Potthast. Her husband was a nephew of...


Edward Henry Potthast, yes.

Potthast was an extraordinarily important early 20th-century American impressionist artist. And American impressionism is sort of based on the French style of broken brush stroke and light bright colors. And he was known for really capturing the light of outdoor scenes. While he was born in Cincinnati, he traveled the world, ultimately spending the summers on the coast, and it was the marine paintings, the coastal scenes, that became the most desirable examples of his work. Now, where do you think this painting is?

My dad has always told me it was Laguna Beach.

What I was able to do... Was to flip the painting over, and what we have here... Is the original artist label, and it says "The coast, Ogunquit." Ogunquit is in Maine. It's signed "Edward Potthast." So we have the original artist label here. Isn't that cool?

I never knew that!

And then we have it also written by the artist in ink. And we also have here a price of $250.

You asked me if you could tear the back off and I hesitated, but I'm awful glad you did.

Me too, me too. As I said, he is best known for his marine paintings, but he's really, really best known for his marine paintings with frolicking, turn-of-the-century kids in the waves. And I was looking really hard to see a bobbing blonde head in some of these waves, but no such luck. But it is a beautiful example of his coastal scenes. While the painting isn't dated, in terms of its style and subject matter, I would date it to the late 19th, early 20th century. He died in 1927. The condition of the painting, oil on board, is completely original. One of the other things that you brought with you is this wonderful listing from probably the early '40s of his paintings from the posthumous exhibition of his work at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York.

New York.

And I'm suspecting that because he was so intent on putting the correct title on the back, we would find that title here were it in this listing, and I'm not confident that it's in this listing. There were about 70 in this show that came to a total value of $23,700. Potthast has become a very important artist, and for insurance, I'm going to value the painting at $25,000.


Which is more than the value of 70 paintings in the '40s.

Well, thank you very much.

Thank you for bringing it.

Appraisal Details

Colleene Fesko Works of Art
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2011)
$25,000 Insurance
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
20th 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.