Penobscot Carved Root Club, ca. 1850
Where did you get it?
My aunt gave it to me, and she was born in the late 1800s, so it's been around a while. We think it's an American Indian-- probably from the Northeast-- root club.
And you're right, they are Penobscot. They're from Maine. And what's interesting about this one, it's sort of older than most, and you can tell by some of the carving and some of the faint bits of writing on here, it's definitely mid-19th century. But they're famous for doing these bizarre ends from the roots. Sometimes it's human faces, sometimes it's animals, sometimes it's completely fanciful. And, quite often, they do paint them, as well. This one doesn't have any paint on it, which is actually rather more attractive. They did sell them to tourists-- well, the later ones-- but they also formed sort of an important part of their sort of cultural life. They would have them in their dances. This is a particularly extraordinary object, it's a fat, big one. It's wonderful. Any idea of the price?
Years ago, I had an estimate of $1,500.
Right, um, I think this one would definitely reach the sort of $2,000 to $2,500 range, okay?
It's a fabulous object.
Thanks for bringing it in.
Great conversation piece.
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.