Wooden Native Alaskan Bowl, ca. 1800

Value (2016) | $18,000 Retail$20,000 Retail
Watch  

GUEST:
I bought it on a wedding trip 22 years ago on the island of Kauai. I fell in love with it. I think it's an effigy bowl, I'm not really sure.

APPRAISER:
Do you have any idea where it's from?

GUEST:
I always called it Pacific Northwest, maybe Eskimo.

APPRAISER:
I think you're right.

GUEST:
Really? Oh, good.

APPRAISER:
I think it's definitely Eskimo, and it's a remarkable object. First of all, it's made out of spruce. It's a fairly soft wood. And it's quite extraordinary. I mean, I have never seen, and my colleagues also, one that has this head fixed on the top. The Eskimos don't really do decorative art. Everything they do has a function. And they also believed that each of these objects has a spirit in it, the yua, and I think that the head probably represents the spirit of the bowl. Mostly, you see these as finger puppets, and it's a strange notion. I mean, maybe this is meant to look like a mask and this is the body. One is inclined to think that it would be ceremonial. I mean, we don't really know.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
The back, you can also see, it's actually hollowed out, which makes me think it is a mask in miniature. Very nice grooved carvings around the side here, traces of pigment. There's been some damage, which has been repaired. I don't know when-- before you got it, I think.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
The bowl I think is probably the beginning of the 19th century, which is early for this material. It could even be earlier-- 1780s, 1790s. How much did you pay for the group?

GUEST:
$400.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so do you have any idea, what do you think it's worth?

GUEST:
I'm going to throw out a number: $1,500, maybe?

APPRAISER:
I will put a price of, say, between $18,000 and $20,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness.

APPRAISER:
And I think with more research... That's a retail price, and I think at auction, it possibly could go much higher.

GUEST:
Oh, my Lord.

APPRAISER:
But I like to be conservative about this, and I think $18,000 to $20,000 is a conservative price. It's really a remarkable object.

GUEST:
This is my wedding gift. Makes me want to cry because of the history of where I got it and how I got it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art
Santa Barbara, CA
Appraised value (2016)
$18,000 Retail$20,000 Retail
Event
Fort Worth, TX (July 23, 2016)
Category
Ancient 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.