Vicksburg Engraved Dog Collar, ca. 1860

Value (2012) | $2,000 Retail

I got this from my mother. She's had it for years. It's traveled through the family. My grandmother's mother's father had two brothers, and they were in the Union army. They fought for Ulysses S. Grant when the National Guard was created, and they went into Vicksburg, Mississippi, and they took over the Lum family mansion. The military resided in the bottom of the mansion while the Lum family resided upstairs. Ulysses S. Grant promised the Lum family that their home would be returned to them when the military was finished with that, and during that time, the Lum family mansion burned down. Somehow, my relatives came home with this bracelet, and it has been in my family's possession ever since that time. The Lum family did petition the government to be reimbursed for the plantation, and eventually, after like 30 years, they were reimbursed for their mansion.

And so what do you think this is?

I think that it's a slave bracelet. I would like to think that my relatives helped to free the slaves and that was one of the ones that they freed or maybe they found. I think that this is the name of the slaveholder and then the name of the slave underneath it. Am I right?

The thing about it is that it's very large for a bracelet, and then I got to thinking, "Well, if it was a slave bracelet, why would it be adjustable with the slots in the back of it?" So after I tried it on my wrist and after I got to thinking about it, all of a sudden, between me and the gun people and the silver people, it hit us. We knew exactly what it was. It's a dog collar.

Are you serious?

I'm serious as a heart attack.

Oh, my gosh.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, because one of the points of this is that there never was any such thing as a slave bracelet. That's why we've had such a hard time. I think it was probably bought in a jewelry store. It has these little hallmarks on my side of it over here that you can see, and I showed it to the silver people and they're what they call "pseudo-hallmarks," which means that they're not silver. If it were a dog collar that was used in New York, its value would be $300 to $500. Because this is a Civil War-era object and that it's marked "Vicksburg, Mississippi" and has the name of that family that had that plantation, it has a lot of regional appeal. Therefore, in Vicksburg, the retail value would be $2,000.

Mm-hmm. My mother is going to just die. (laughing) That's all I can think about is telling her that. The mystery is solved.

Appraisal Details

Ken Farmer LLC
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2012)
$2,000 Retail
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)
Folk Art

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.