Massachusetts Watches, ca. 1870
We're here in Boston, and what is so fascinating is the fact that Boston was a major, major manufacturing city for watches. And before factories were set up in Waltham, it was very difficult to get a watch. And one of the founding members of the American watch industry was a man named Edward Howard, who also had his factory in Boston. And together, we've turned up both an Edward Howard watch and a Waltham. Waltham was to watches as General Motors or Ford was to automobiles. They basically were the company that put watches in everybody's pocket. Howard, on the other hand, was more of a boutique industry, and Howard watches are interesting to collectors because they look like no other watches that were made before or since. And if you open up the back of a Howard, it is this wonderful mechanism, and they're highly prized. Walthams in this condition, which are very common, would be worth $1,500 to $2,000 simply because of its condition. The Howard, on the other hand, although it's not in as nice condition, is worth maybe $1,500, $2,500 as well.
That's pretty good.
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.