New England Highboy, ca. 1780
This belonged to my mom's parents. All she knows is it's really old.
I can tell you it is old. That is, it's the Revolutionary generation, 1760 to around 1790.
That is old. We think it's from northern New England. The primary wood is Maple, stained to look like Mahogany, a more precious wood, and the interior is New England white pine. But it also has some real problems. We think that it probably is a married piece-- that is, that the top and the bottom were made at a different time. In this case, not a very different time, because it looks like it has the same construction techniques of the same shop, and we do know that the top cresting rail is a Victorian replacement. Because of this marriage problem of the piece, today on the auction market, the piece would be worth about $1,000 to $1,500.
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.
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