Scottish Dirk, Sporran Top & Pistol

Value (2012) | $8,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I brought two things that actually is from my deceased aunt, and it was her husband's. And they had traveled around the world in 1956. And these are two of the items they brought actually for him.

APPRAISER:
Was there a Scottish connection to the family?

GUEST:
I know they visited Scotland.

APPRAISER:
These are Scottish items. We'll take a look at the pistol. It's all metal, it's a flintlock. It's made by a gunsmith Thomas Caddell. And here, it's signed on the breech. He's actually from a family of gunsmiths, all named Thomas, about five of them, so they get a little hard to date. But based on this form, it's certainly from the first half of the 18th century. It's a classic Scottish pistol in that you have this clip on the back so that you'd be able to tuck it into your belt.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And then it's well-engraved throughout. And this little bit is actually a desirable little trait and one associated with Caddell. This curling is associated with Scottish pistols in general. So this would be from the first half of the 18th century. Move a little bit forward, and we have what's called a Scottish dirk. The dirk would date from the 19th century, probably even the second half. So there's really about a 100-year difference between the two. Now, dirk is basically a fancy name for a type of a dagger or a knife that evolved really from a utilitarian item to something that became very important to ceremonial purpose for the Scottish military. It would have been worn for dress. All Scottish Highland regiments would have worn a dirk. This particular one is from the 79th Highlanders. You have gilt bronze mounts. This is often carved in a basket weave kind of design, embellished many times with thistles, as this is. The names represent different battles that the Highland regiment was in. And these all actually are basically Napoleonic period, from Waterloo through Egypt. And then the top is inset with a stone, probably citrine. It could be glass, but many times they're citrine. Now, the bit at the bottom, you know what that is?

GUEST:
No, I really don't.

APPRAISER:
So this is also from the 79th Highlanders. This is a top portion of a sporran-- the little purse that goes in front of the kilt. And this would be the top part of it. The dirk with the part of the sporran at auction would be $2,000 to $3,000. The pistol, today at auction, by Caddell, with this bit attached, that would be in the $6,000 to $8,000.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
So total, you have here really something like $8,000 to $11,000 at auction. A great Scottish group of items. I'm glad you brought them in.

GUEST:
Yeah, I'm glad I did too. Amazed.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Gary Piattoni, Inc.
Evanston, Illinois
Appraised value (2012)
$8,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Event
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)
Form
Dirk, Pistol
Material
Bronze, Citrine, Gilded, Metal

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.