Owner Interview: Herman Miller Storage Unit, ca. 1950
At auction, I think this would sell for about $20,000.
Wow. That's very cool. (laughs)
I'm almost embarrassed. (laughs) I bought them to sell, but my husband said, "No, I wanna keep those," and I said, "okay, we can. It was your money anyway, so..." (laughs.) It belonged to an artist in Granbury. She died in 2006 and I went to her auction because she was a neighbor and fellow artist. I was trying to be cool, but the rest of the antiques at the sale were going crazy so they started the bidding at 50, but I thought, well, I'll just kind of sit here and wait. And he dropped the bidding to $10 and then I bid 10, somebody bid 12, I bid 15, and he waited for somebody else to bid and nobody else did, and so he said, "Sold!" and I said okay, I'll take all four. And I've had them for 10 years, and we keep all our records and our record player, and my husband has over a thousand records. Peter said that that was what specifically they were made for: to keep records and record players, so that's kind of perfect! (laughs)
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.