Salesman’s Sample Ice Box, ca. 1900

Value (2012) | $2,500 Auction$3,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
Well, it's a little ice box.

GUEST:
Yes. It was in the home of a relative, in the attic. When I found this, she said I could take it.

APPRAISER:
And you knew exactly what it was.

GUEST:
Well, I kind of thought I did, that it was a salesman's sample of an old ice box.

APPRAISER:
Well, this is...it is a salesman's sample, or it's the kind of thing that would be in the store to show you what an actual ice box would look like. They were made as exact miniatures and fully functional so that they could demonstrate exactly what the object would do. This is the largest one I've seen personally, and it's really attractive. Sometimes they were much smaller for the salesmen to carry around. This one's a little bit larger, but it really demonstrates the whole functionality, and it's hard for us to imagine the day when they would have to haul around big chunks of ice, and they would put them in the top here, and this one is fully lined with metal to protect the wood, and also it has the drain boards in there, and of course the water, as it melted would come down to a drip pan underneath. This one also has this wonderful cast-iron hardware, just like the real thing, and you would open the door. Here are the shelves, and you notice that the shelves are perforated, so that there's more flow of cold air throughout the whole thing. That was one of the features of this particular model.

GUEST:
That's what we wondered about.

APPRAISER:
And it's beautifully constructed. It has some condition issues. It probably dates from around 1890, 1910 era. As far as value, I think this at auction could bring in the neighborhood of $3,000.

GUEST:
Oh, for goodness sakes.

APPRAISER:
It was certainly a nice thing to find in an attic.

GUEST:
Yes, it was. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2012)
$2,500 Auction$3,000 Auction
Event
Rapid City, SD (July 14, 2012)
Material
Cast Iron, 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.