Civil War Federal Group Tintype, ca. 1865
Well, we had a neighbor of ours who used to be an amateur archaeologist. And he gave me and my wife this tintype a long time ago. We just kept it in the closet forever, but I know that it is a Civil War picture. I'm not certain how old it is or what they represent.
Well, you're absolutely right. It is a Civil War tintype. The Civil War was really the first war where photography was a factor. The gentlemen who made that their business would follow the troops into the field. They could have their photographs taken in towns, they could have their photographs taken with traveling wagons. In many cases, they're fairly boring images. It'll be a soldier wearing his uniform. Maybe he has a weapon or two. But there's not really a whole lot to learn from most of them unless you know the individuals' names. Okay. In this case, however, there is a lot going on. These are most likely western federal soldiers, meaning gentlemen that fought west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Their clothing tells us that these guys are wearing a real mix of uniforms. There are four-button sack coats in here. This fellow over here is wearing an interesting shell jacket. This gentleman right here has a fantastic civilian hat. He's wearing a civilian shirt too. We've got a gentleman here who appears to be carrying a plant revolver, which is a fairly scarce Civil War revolver. They have the American flag in the background...
Which has a lot of collector appeal. If you look closely at this fellow right here, he's wearing an ID badge to make sure that his remains are identified after the battle if there's something like that.
Like dog tags today, huh?
Exactly like dog tags today. Did you have an idea what you thought it might be worth?
No, sir, not at all.
Your average Civil War image with just a soldier and a musket or something like that is typically about a $100 image. Images that are of unusual subject matter, group images and images with character. If you just look at these guys, they look like they have a date with Jefferson Davis himself. An image like this in a retail setting today would be approximately $1,000 to $1,200.
Wow... wow. Never had any clue that it would be worth that much. I sure thank you. That's very interesting. Thank you very much. Appreciate it a lot.
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.
Walt Disney | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Coming to American Experience September 14 & 15 is the unprecedented look at the complex life and enduring legacy of one of America’s best-known storytellers – Walt Disney
Arthur & George
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) stars as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part MASTERPIECE Mystery! adaptation of the novel by Julian Barnes. Airs Sundays, September 6-20