19th-Century Lakota Hide Tanning Kit
This is my grandmother's hide tanning kit. My grandmother lived on the Cheyenne River reservation. She is Lakota. English was her second language. She was a fluent Lakota speaker. And she used them all of her life. And then when she was finished using them, she gave them to my mother. Now they're mine, I love them, but I have not used them myself.
Most of these hide tanning tools look to be well into the 19th century to me, which is interesting. So probably her mother might have handed them down to her. Tanning hides in the 19th century was probably the most important thing a Lakota woman could do. They were... their status was all about how many hides they tanned. These are made from elk horn, and they're called elk horn hide scrapers. These look like tally marks on this one. Often they'd put a little mark for every hide they scraped. She scraped a lot of hides with that one. That one, it's got what appears to be a couple hundred hide marks. The blades over by you, they would have been tied to the top of these with raw hide, wetted raw hide. And then when it hardened, it made a really nice tool to scrape the buffalo hides with. This looks to be one you would hold with both hands. It's quite old, and looks like it's coming apart at this point. This is a, probably, an old Northwest trade gun barrel that they used to convert and pound down to a chipped edge like that, a serrate edge, and use for a double-handed scraper also. These are quite wonderful, and sometimes were passed down for decades and decades. The hide looks to be buffalo hide on that too. So that could date well into the mid-19th century.
It's pretty scarce. You don't see many kits like this. At auction, we sell things like these hide scrapers for $300 or $400. And this one would probably be worth $500 or $600. But as a collection, an heirloom collection like this, I would think at auction it would probably sell for about $4,000 to $6,000.
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.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love