Writing Arm Windsor Chair, ca. 1835

Value (2012) | $1,500 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
Growing up, it was always at our beach house at Sunset Beach in North Carolina. It sat in the front room, and my grandfather always sat at it. It was from my grandfather's family. And from what I understand, my ancestors, his family, in the late 1800s, maybe, had a shipping company out of Pensacola, Florida.

APPRAISER:
Oh.

GUEST:
So I know that there's some connection there, but not really sure much of anything else about it.

APPRAISER:
This is sort of a late example of a form that we call a writing arm Windsor chair. And these chairs were first made... oh, in the United States I would say the last quarter of the 18th century. This particular chair I think in all likelihood may have been made in Pennsylvania. These Pennsylvania chairs often times have a classical motif with this very sort of broad vasiform splat. And the secondary wood-- on the drawers, for example-- is poplar, which is a wood that's indigenous to Pennsylvania and often used there. So it may have been manufactured in Pennsylvania. I'm thinking maybe about, well, maybe in the 1830s.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
So it's been around for a while.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
This is the original decoration with old surface. This is stencil decorated, and the background is grain painted to look like an exotic wood-- rosewood, for example. These chairs often times will have drawers in a variety of places. And here, we've got a drawer in the front of the writing surface. You've got a drawer on that side. And we've got one down here. This is an arrowback Windsor, referring to these spindles, which have this arrow form. The beauty of this is when I first saw it is that it hasn't been refinished. It's beautiful the way it is, scratches and all.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Have you had the chair appraised in the past?

GUEST:
No, we never knew because it's just been there.

APPRAISER:
Well, at the furniture table we kind of did a little quiz, and we came up with a value, let's say for auction purposes, somewhere around $1,500.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So it's not as though it's worth a great deal of money. And part of the reason for that is people say, "Well, it takes up a lot of room." "You know, I could put a sofa, the amount of room this thing takes up."

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But what I'm thinking is that, you know, you can sit in this chair, and you can put your laptop here and get to work. So don't tell me this isn't useful in a modern situation.

GUEST:
Oh, I know, absolutely.

APPRAISER:
So take good care of it.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Marlborough, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$1,500 Auction
Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)
Period
19th Century
Form
Chair
Material
Poplar, Wood

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.