American Ship Print, ca. 1850

Value (2011) | $1,800 Retail
Watch  

GUEST:
When my grandmother passed away in the '90s, my mother and her siblings dispersed her possessions, and my mom wound up with this and gifted it to me.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And so I've had it since the '90s, and I got to say, it's been schlepped. I pulled it up from the basement today. It's been kind of disrespected.

APPRAISER:
Oh, dear. This is absolutely a beautiful American ship print. A lot of these celebrated a particular ship, but this doesn't do that. Just looking here, there's no name of the ship on the bow. There's a lovely feel about it, because one of the things it shows is it's entering a harbor. So there's that, "Ah, the voyage is over, we're coming in to land." On the other side of the ship there's a number of small sailboats. This was printed in the 1850s. You can tell from the style of lithography as well as the construction of the ship. The ship has sails. It's a square rigger. But it also has an engine. And there's no side paddle wheel. It's got to have a screw propeller on the back. We have the American flag here, and at the back of the ship, you have the British red ensign flag. What we find out is that this is really a pretty hardcore piece of advertising. This particular steamboat company, Williams and Guion, is a company that sails from New York, Queenstown and Liverpool. New York and Liverpool, there was a big traffic. And at the same time, down here in this bottom left corner, there's a card pasted in by a shipping agent who is very interested in having this advertised. There certainly aren't any docks in these Midwestern states. It sort of expresses how much the interior of the United States is being connected to the world, certainly by railroads, and then out to steamboats. This star and the star on the flag on the other mast is a symbol of the steamship line. What you look for, for quality ship prints, is all the little details-- figures on the deck, the rigging. You've got a repaired tear here. It's probably pasted onto a board. There's an equal one on the other side towards you. It's somewhat browned. There's a lot that could be done with this. You could spend $600 to $800 on restoring this. As it is, I think a fair retail value would be about $1,800.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And if you spent $600 or so, you'd end up with about a $3,600 print.

GUEST:
Really? Wow.

APPRAISER:
And this is just a very nifty piece of Americana.

GUEST:
I'm a little flabbergasted, yeah. I mean, I've treated it like it was worth about $50.

APPRAISER:
I see.

GUEST:
And I'm going to take care of it, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Good.

GUEST:
You've certainly changed my opinion of it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
The Philadelphia Print Shop
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Appraised value (2011)
$1,800 Retail
Event
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Form
Print
Material
Paper

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.