1907 E. Howard Railroad Pocket Watch
This watch belonged to my grandfather. He worked for the Western Union telegraph company, installing telegraph lines along the railroad lines. One day, he and his crew were in the tunnel. His watch said the train would not come, but the train did come, almost killing the entire crew. That watch got thrown against the wall of the tunnel, and this watch was purchased to replace it.
If you look at all the indicators, you can see it's almost overdone. Usually we have five, ten, 15, 20. This one breaks it all down into increments in two-tone red and black. It's made by E. Howard and Company, Boston, Massachusetts. This watch was manufactured in 1907. Most railroad watches were gold-filled. This one has a 14-karat yellow gold dueber case. This one has a hinge cover, again, very rare, very unusual. So in a watch that I may have told you two years ago was worth $1,500, now I can confidently say it's worth around $3,000.
That's very gratifying. Well, I never knew my grandfather--he died before I was born, so it's nice to have something that he owned and used.
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.
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