Weller Dickens Ware Skull Humidor
Rob, you've brought us a very scary and interesting piece of Weller pottery-- Weller being one of the many art potteries that operated in the Zanesville, Ohio, area about 30 miles east of here. And you actually have an interesting history being, I guess, a member of the Weller family going back many years.
Right, my great-grandfather was a second cousin of Sam Weller, who started the pottery. He's collected Weller pottery for about 30 years. And he went to an estate sale about 20 years ago and purchased this piece of Dickensware for $85.
What would be the function of it?
Well, whoever owned it stored their smoking tobacco in it.
You think this could be a commentary on not smoking?
That would be a good commentary, I think.
He is a very scary fellow. Just to show people, besides being a skull, he actually has a small skull as the finial on the top. We can see the marking, very simple. It says "Dickens Weller," and you can see the opening in the top where you could put a sponge to keep the tobacco moist. This one happens to be the rarest of all the humidors. From what I understand, there might be only five or six of these known to exist. And because of the great rarity, not to mention the scariness of it, I would say that this piece would probably sell in the $2,000 to $3,000 range today.
He is quite interesting and extremely rare. I don't think I'd want to meet him in a dark alley. (laughing)
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.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love