International Music Company Ukelin
It originally belonged to the lady who baby-sat for me when I was a child.
Have you ever tried to play this musical instrument?
Uh, I looked through the directions booklet and tried a little bit, but without the bow, I had a difficult time with it.
Well, that difficult time of playing this is part of the story of this instrument. Um, it's...over the three years we've been traveling around on the Roadshow, I've seen these in just about every city we've gone to, and that's also part of the story. These instruments, sold under the name of "ukelin" sometimes "harp violin," were made by the International Music Company, based in two places: Hoboken, New Jersey, and Jersey City. And they were sold by mail order or door-to-door. And when they were new in 1925, they cost $35. That's a lot of money then. What the salesman would do, would say to you, is, "You know, you need music in your house. You need culture, you need to get your kids off the street. Learn to play this instrument, Cindy, and you'll gather the family around the fireplace every night." You'd say, "$35 is a lot of money. I'll pay less." And they'll say, "Okay, one dollar-- start off at one dollar." And then it would be a monthly payment of a dollar after that. After you've had it for a couple of months, you'd realize you can't play it. And, in fact, you'd stop payment on them, no longer sending in the money. This one's a great one because it's all here: the bow, the music directions and the key to keep it all in tune, and even the music stand. It's a great piece. Though not an item of great, great value, it is an item of great music-merchandising history here in America. Value today: $50 at best, so a little bit better than the $35 it might have cost day one.
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.