Reverse Painted Glass Whiskey Sign, ca. 1890

Value (2011) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

It came from an old house that was being torn down, and the people were disposing of this stuff and we picked this one up.

So they were just going to throw it out.

They were going to throw it out.

What we're looking at is what's called a reverse-painted glass sign. The important thing when you look at antique advertising pieces and almost any pieces, especially reverse-painted glass, condition is a huge factor, and this one overall is really nice. You do have some condition issues in the margins. If you look over here, you can see a little bit of white paint in here, and in this area. That could be a sign of some restoration, where the white disappeared. The interior portion is really nice, and basically what it's advertising is Economy whiskey, and when you read this sign, it's "Established by the Harmony Society in 1827," and what they were doing is they were doing pure rye and malt whiskey, and the Economy distilling company comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The other really cool thing about this is this isn't a replaced frame; this is a frame that it came in. And overall, it's very, very highly collectible, great purple coloring in here, silver and gilt paint. The interior center part is in perfect condition. As far as value goes, if I was to have this at auction, I wouldn't hesitate to estimate this between $3,000 and $5,000.


Yeah, it's a really nice piece. I'm very glad you brought it to the show today.

Thank you very much.

You're very welcome.


Appraisal Details

Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Glass , Paint

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.