Pennsylvania Tall Chest, ca. 1795

Value (2013) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
It was purchased by my mother probably in the very early '50s, and I believe she purchased it from an antique dealer. It was not in the family prior to the early '50s.

APPRAISER:
She's done a little research on this piece as well?

GUEST:
She kind of looks through magazines and if she spots something that looks similar to something that she has...

APPRAISER:
Yeah, yeah.

GUEST:
...she'll cut it out and usually stick it in the drawer.

APPRAISER:
Right, right. Well, here's a piece that she's clipped. She's shown us here a chest-on-chest, and one would think that this piece is a chest-on-chest because of the way that it splits here. If we can show them, just opens up here. But in fact, this is a tall chest and was never meant to split. In fact, someone has cut it, at a later date, in half. It's a very typical Pennsylvania tall chest with wonderful figured tiger maple drawers. It has cherry sides to it. The original brasses, beautiful French feet, and you can see that wonderful diamond inlay, so it's a great specimen. Would have been used in a bedroom in the early 19th century. This piece could have been made as early as 1795 in the Pennsylvania area. Not a Philadelphia piece at all, but because of the types of woods that were used in it-- indigenous woods here to the United States-- not the mahogany that you'd normally see in a Philadelphia piece. Now, may I ask you how much you paid for the piece or how much your mom paid for it?

GUEST:
I am not 100% sure, but I did, when I was cleaning out the chest prior to bringing it, find a chalked figure in that top left-hand drawer there.

APPRAISER:
So we see, uh... $325. Possible, in the 1950s.

GUEST:
Yeah, oh, yeah, early 1950s, I would think, yeah.

APPRAISER:
This is actually fascinating for me to see this because here is a price tag of $325 purchased from a dealer in the 1950s. As well, there's this very interesting "R-I-E-Z-Z." That is the dealer's code who sold this piece to your mom, and this was the way for him to know in his shop how much he paid for this piece so that when your mom came into the shop and she wanted to wheel and deal with him, she saw the $325 price tag, and he may have paid $125 for it-- zero-zero, with the two "Zs." So the code is a way for him to know his price, and then he can bargain with her because of course a lot of bargaining goes on in this antiques business. So it's a fun bit of history on the way these things have been traded in the past. Now, I think that your tall chest is probably worth a lot more than $325, I would hope at this point. I would think. And I would expect if it were to be brought at auction, we'd probably estimate in the $3,000 to $5,000 range because it's been cut in half. Now, if the piece were actually in one piece we'd be looking at a $10,000 to $15,000 chest of drawers. But in this condition, $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Okay, well, thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Update (2013)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Tampa, FL (June 05, 1999)
Category
Furniture
Form
Chest
Material
Cherry , Maple

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.