Frank H. Desch Oil, ca. 1920

Value (2013) | $25,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
It hung in my maternal grandmother's house in Lake Forest, Illinois, for many years, and she died in 1958 and my mother's sister took it and it lived in New York for many years, and then at some point when I was visiting my aunt, I said, "If you ever move or decide that this painting isn't going to live with you anymore, I would like it."

APPRAISER:
So it's three generations it's been in the family.

GUEST:
Yes, yes.

APPRAISER:
Is it hanging in a place now where you enjoy it every day?

GUEST:
Oh yes, my husband watches the sun come up on it every morning. He says the light on it is so beautiful. We both enjoy it.

APPRAISER:
I can see why. I believe your painting is dateable to about 1920. The painting is by an artist who sells at auction and who's known. The artist is from Philadelphia. But it's an artist about whom not a great deal is known and an artist who has fewer than 20 auction records as of 2013. I looked at the back of the painting on the wood stretcher, and there's a tiny fragment of an unidentified label from New York. Part of the artist's name is on there.

GUEST:
Oh, really?

APPRAISER:
And that is something that directly corroborates with the signature at the lower right.

GUEST:
Nobody can read it.

APPRAISER:
Nobody can read it. The painter is an artist called Frank H. Desch-- D-E-S-C-H.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And you can kind of make out the "Frank" and the "H" and a "D." Frank H. Desch was born in 1873, died in 1934, and his style is very much rooted in the impressionists. It's very much, although he trained under Hawthorne and Chase, two real luminaries of American 19th century painting, his style fits in very well with other artists of the period. It reminds me very much of an artist called Charles Courtney Curran, who did beautiful women like this, children on a hillside. And this is unusual within the oeuvre of the artist. The painting is an oil on canvas. The frame, while there's some very minor losses, is, in my opinion, the original frame. Any idea today what the painting is worth?

GUEST:
Not a clue.

APPRAISER:
Well, the painting today, if offered at auction, would probably bring between $25,000 to $40,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Appraised value (2013)
$25,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Event
Kansas City, MO (August 10, 2013)
Period
20th Century
Form
Painting
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.