Maurice Brazil Prendergast Color Monotype, ca. 1895

Value (2013) | $100,000 Auction$150,000 Auction

It's a painting that's been in my family since I was born, and it's been on the wall and I've seen it every day of my life.

And where is your family from originally?

New Jersey.

And your mom, was she a collector?

No, she likes...

Just an art enthusiast?

That's right.

It's a very interesting piece, and we had to take it out of the frame. We had a close look at it, you and I, together at the table. It is a monotype, it's by Maurice Prendergast. You can see his initials down here-- M.B.P. The middle initial "B" is for "Brazil"-- Maurice Brazil Prendergast. A monotype is a unique print. It's made by an artist putting colors on a copper plate and then printed through an intaglio press. Usually only one is made, therefore "monotype," "mono" being "one." Prendergast was a Boston artist. He studied in Boston early on in the 1860s and 1870s, 1880s. In the early 1890s, he studied in Paris, and it's in Paris in the early 1890s where he apparently learned the art of printmaking. He came back to Boston in the mid-1890s and started to make watercolors and monotypes of Boston scenes, and what you have here is a scene in Boston, a storefront. It looks like a storefront at night. Datewise, I would put it at about 1895. It's on a very thin paper, and you saw that it was glued down to the mat, which is sort of detrimental, condition-wise. It takes a little bit of the value away from this. It's something that can be conserved. Otherwise, it's in very good condition. I would say the colors are near pristine; they've held up very well. Conservatively, at auction, I would estimate it at $60,000 to $90,000.


Appraisal Details

Swann Auction Galleries
New York, NY
Update (2013)
$100,000 Auction$150,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$60,000 Auction$90,000 Auction
Providence, RI (August 21, 1999)

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.