Leather Key Basket, ca. 1850

Value (2012) | $7,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I have admired this little basket at my mother-in-law's house for many years and once saw something about one similar in the paper and thought maybe it would be a good item to bring down to see what its value is.

APPRAISER:
And what did they say in the paper about the basket similar to yours?

GUEST:
Well, I think it said it might be worth, like, $2,000.

APPRAISER:
What you have here is a leather hand-embossed basket. It's called a key basket. And they're very typical for Southern states. These are very typical around the 1850s. And for that time, this basket's in very good condition. You'll see all the embossed figures, hearts and stars that are very typical American. And on one side, there was also the initials "C.W.," which is probably a family member. It's got embossing on the bottom, too, which is quite lovely. And these were kept in Colonial homes to keep their keys in it. Have you got any value in mind for this?

GUEST:
Just from seeing that little photograph in that article in the paper, you know, maybe $2,000.

APPRAISER:
Well, I have to tell you, there was an auction in the last two years up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one of these baskets sold for quite a high amount. It was $30,000.

GUEST:
No!

APPRAISER:
And we think that this definitely is worth $20,000 to $30,000.

GUEST:
Oh, I will take better care of it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Remmey Antiques & Fine Art
New Vernon, NJ
Update (2012)
$7,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Update (2012)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Update (2012)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Update (2012)
$6,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Event
Richmond, VA (August 28, 1998)
Period
19th Century
Form
Basket
Material
Leather

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.