1953 “Bill’s Place” Oil by Kenneth Nunamaker

Value (2013) | $6,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
It is signed. I'm not familiar with the artist myself, but it is dated '53. I'm sure you know much more than I do.

APPRAISER:
I'm hoping so; hope I'll be able to tell you a little bit about it. It's signed down here, and it's "K. Nunamaker," and that's Kenneth Nunamaker. Have you done any research on him at all?

GUEST:
He is from Pennsylvania, and he sold most of his work, I believe, there, but other than that, I don't know much about him.

APPRAISER:
Technically, he wasn't from Pennsylvania. He was actually from Ohio. He was essentially pretty much a self-taught artist. Around about 1923 or prior to that, he moved to Philadelphia, and then in 1923, he moved to Centre Bridge, which is in Bucks County. Sometimes this group is called the Bucks County Impressionists, the New Hope School or the Pennsylvania Impressionists. He is indeed one of those. One of his great mentors was Edward Redfield, and Redfield was one of the leaders of the Pennsylvania Impressionist School, together with Daniel Garber. And I think of all the impressionists, Nunamaker was perhaps influenced by Redfield more than any of the others, and you can see it in his very vigorous brushwork. He would paint en plein air: he would go outside to paint. So what you see here, he would have been sitting in front of this with his little canvas board. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came by it?

GUEST:
We were in the upper part of Michigan, outside of West Branch, Michigan, and we stopped at a garage sale and picked it up for two dollars. It just struck us as a very nice oil painting.

APPRAISER:
I think you've got a good eye. Let's just turn it 'round for a moment. And here we can see the artist's stamp, "K. Nunamaker, New Hope - Penn." and then Centre Bridge, where he lived. And then here we see written "Bill's Place," which is the title of the painting, and that looks to be "$75."

GUEST:
Looks to be $75.

APPRAISER:
So that's presumably what he was selling it for at that time. You bought it for two dollars, which you'd expect to buy maybe a postcard or something like that for two dollars, but you have the original oil painting here.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Have you ever wondered what it might be worth?

GUEST:
I've kind of wondered what it was worth. My husband thought maybe $200, but really, I'm not sure.

APPRAISER:
He appears rather less frequently in the market than some of the other Pennsylvania Impressionists artists, so when he does appear, there tends to be quite a lot of demand for his work, and I would expect a piece like this probably to fetch in the $6,000 to $10,000 range at auction.

GUEST:
$6,000 to $10,000?

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
Oh wow, never would I have thought that.

APPRAISER:
It's a bit of a jump from two dollars.

GUEST:
It definitely is.

APPRAISER:
And a little higher than your husband's expectation of $200.

GUEST:
Most definitely. Wow, that is great.

APPRAISER:
Interestingly enough, I noticed that there is another painting called "Bill's Place" that sold in 2011, so another version of this, but taken from a different perspective, but quite a bit bigger, and that sold for about $25,000.

GUEST:
Wow. I like the little one, it's very nice.

APPRAISER:
Next time you go bargain hunting, I think I'll come with you.

GUEST:
You're more than welcome to come with us.

APPRAISER:
Thank you. (both laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Appraised value (2013)
$6,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Event
Detroit, MI (June 01, 2013)
Period
1950s
Form
Landscape
Material
Oil

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.