18th-Century German Painted Trunk
This almost looked like the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW logo coming in. Why don't you tell us something about this trunk?
Well, it's been in my family for as long as I've known. The story goes, is that my great-grandmother's grandmother, which would be three greats, I guess, brought this over with her from Germany, and everything that she owned was inside of it when she brought it across. She actually met her husband after she just got off the ship in New York. These markings here, through the Civil War, they were actually traveling at one time or another, and the Confederates stopped them on some kind of a patrol, wanted to know what was in it, and they chopped into it to get into it.
Let's take a look at the inside... And you can see that there's a till on that side, which would have been for smaller things. It's got this great 18th century grab lock on the front, but her entire life would have been in this chest. Which is kind of extraordinary. And enmeshed in this is not only this kind of history of a particular furniture form, but also a piece of American history, because that's where the Confederates broke into the chest to see what kind of valuables were there. So it's one of those wonderful objects, where you've got a lot of threads that are sort of pulling together and making a really interesting story. And something like this, in this state of preservation, with its painted panels, in as good shape as they are, would probably be worth, at auction, somewhere between $8,000 to $12,000.
Wow. We use it to store Christmas ornaments in. (laughs)
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.
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