Minnesota Folk Art Painting, ca. 1900

Value (2011) | $4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail

In 1957, my parents were looking at a home to purchase, and in the attic this painting was laying on the floor, so my mother asked them, "Well, can I buy this painting with the house?" because they were going to purchase the house, and they said, "Sure, for two dollars." So she bought it for two dollars. And it hung in that house for 40 years.

Have you got it hanging in your house now?

Yes, I do.

Well, when you first walked over with it, I just saw the frame for a second, and I loved the fact that it still had the original fire gilt there on the frame.


And when you undid the scene, I figured it must be a local scene around here somewhere, it's hard to know for sure, but I bet you we could probably look around and find those falls somewhere, and maybe once somebody sees this on TV, we'll find out where it is.

That would be good.

It's got a nice feel to it, and it's a very naïve interpretation. The houses look a little bit out of kilter as far as perspective, and the other thing that I liked about it besides the fact that it's set in that nice, mountainous landscape, is right here, I figured that must be some kind of a water wheel, probably a mill or something. I can see a lot of dirt on there, and this does not need to be relined or have any kind of major restoration done on it, but if you took it to the right person and got a light cleaning, I'll bet you that thing would jump off of there. So have you ever had anybody look at this or appraise it or anything?

One time an insurance person asked my mother if he could buy it, but my mother said no.

So was the insurance... what was the insurance person?

He was insuring things within her home for homeowner's insurance.

Most appraisers organizations have a code of ethics where you're really not allowed to do that, and it's important that if somebody appraises something for somebody that they don't buy it. This is late 19th century, maybe 1890, 1900. It could be a little bit after that, even. If this painting were in New England or some other part of the country where there's so much more material to pick from, the price would be pretty reasonable, but I think because it's from this region and it has good local appeal and a good scene that its retail value would be probably $4,000 to $6,000.

Oh, my stars! Well, that was a good find.

Appraisal Details

Ken Farmer & Associates
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2011)
$4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)

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.