“Alice in Wonderland” Doorstops
A friend of ours had these in her home in Minneapolis. And when she closed her home, we went to her estate sale, and we purchased them from her. They've been in our home for nearly 50 years, on the mantel place, where we see them every day.
So you didn't use them as doorstops.
No, no. But they're on a heavy metal base, and we were told that they were originally used as doorstops.
Do you remember what you paid for them?
We paid her $100 for all six.
Alice in Wonderland is so much a part of our culture. And this imagery is just ingrained. And what to me is really exciting is, in carved wood, whoever created these did a masterful job of adding dimension to the wonderful Tenniel illustrations, which of course are touchstone imagery of Alice. The Duchess here, it's just so vivid. The frog footman is phenomenal. It's some of the best objects of Alice in Wonderland that I've ever seen. Alice is spectacular. The Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the March Hare... you notice the March Hare is holding his teacup and a biscuit. Just standing up from their tea party. Extraordinary, absolutely vivid, and of course, one of a kind. It's very hard to date something like this, but something about the whole quality and the patina suggest to me that these are, I would guess, done about 100 years ago. It's very difficult to put a price on something that's truly unique, but I would have no problem at all putting these in an auction with an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, and I think they could easily exceed it.
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.