Conrad Schwiering Oil, ca. 1966
We used to vacation in the Tetons. That was our favorite place. Conrad Schwiering's studio was close to where we vacationed on this ranch. And we met him, we saw a lot of his paintings, and we were going to build a new house, so we had him do this painting for our living room. And I still keep it in that living room.
How much did it cost?
It was only $600, which, at that time, was a lot to us.
That is a lot of money. Now, when you acquired the painting, this letter came with it.
Yes, we had talked to him about it before when we were there. And I wrote and gave him some of the colors and things that we'd like in it. And that's the letter we got back from him.
And the letter is directed to you, and it's on his stationery, his letterhead, which I think is great. From Jackson, Wyoming, April 8, 1966. And what's great is at the end of the letter, where he's explaining what he's going to paint for you, sincerely yours, and he signed it. There's no question that the work is authentic. It's traceable directly from the artist, directly to you. The painting is clearly signed. It's copyrighted. On the back it's entitled, "Summer's Spell." He's an artist who grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. He went to the University of Wyoming. He died of a heart attack at age 69, not terribly old. He wasn't very old.
In 1986. And here was an artist so committed to his craft, that when he died, he was in fact sketching. And when you consider that in his lifetime he sold 1,000 paintings, it's incredible. He was arguably the most famous painter of the Tetons, and he set up a studio overlooking the Tetons. Very well-known and very popular today with Western collectors. I would say that today, for insurance purposes, this is a painting that should be valued at $25,000.
Oh, my goodness. I didn't know it was that valuable at all.
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.