1942 Grandma Moses Painting

Value (2004) | $60,000 Insurance

GUEST:
This has been in our family since Grandma Moses painted it.

APPRAISER:
So it's a painting by Anna Mary Robertson-- Grandma Moses.

GUEST:
Better known as Grandma Moses, a resident of Eagle Bridge, New York. We had a home in Cambridge, New York, and we would drive four, five miles down to Eagle Bridge for two purposes: one was to pick up peach preserve, which Grandma Moses put up for us every summer, and in doing that we discovered on her dining room table these fresh paintings that she had just finished. And if we chose to buy one, we could have one, and she would frame it right there on the dining room table.

APPRAISER:
That's great. How old do you think she was at that time?

GUEST:
Well, she was an elderly woman and had only started painting in her late 80s. We knew her from about 1940, and so this was before she really became famous. But she was just a wonderful friend of the family. And she would let my mother buy these paintings, which she thought had relatively little value, and I guess my mother did, too, and probably bought eight or ten paintings in all, and my guess would be for perhaps under ten dollars each.

APPRAISER:
It's interesting, Grandma Moses started painting, actually you're right, late in life. She was born in 1860. In the late '30s she picked up painting. She had done needlework pictures and then started painting. She was promoted by a gallery in New York, by a fellow named Otto Kallir, and she started having shows around New York and international shows as well. The painting is this great original in this primitive style and that's what really makes it-- this lovely primitive style, these charming little people here. It's signed down here: "Moses," although her name is Robertson. Was the house there when you were there?

GUEST:
Oh, yes. It was the original house where we knew her before she got famous and they built her a swell home.

APPRAISER:
This is one of her best subjects, the checkerboard house. That is one of the pieces that people really are enthusiastic about.

GUEST:
Something that might be as interesting, there are very few Grandma Moses paintings of something other than a winter scene.

APPRAISER:
That's right. It's a fabulous one, in great condition. You said you had many more of them.

GUEST:
When our parents died, my brother and sister and I split up the paintings. We originally had about ten. My brother and sister are still up in New England and they have about three each. And at some point, my mother gave one of the best away to a New York appraiser in exchange for an appraisal. We were a little upset about that.

APPRAISER:
That's an expensive appraisal. Have you had this one appraised?

GUEST:
Probably 40 years ago we got a letter from a gallery in New York suggesting it might have a value based on that size of perhaps $10,000. But we have absolutely no idea its current value.

APPRAISER:
And you aren't planning on selling it?

GUEST:
No, no-- this'll stay in the family.

APPRAISER:
I want to show you something else is the fact that on the back here we have her label. And it shows her picture and the actual date when this was painted-- September 2, 1942-- entitled "The Old Checkered House." And then an inventory number. This painting is a very good one. I would think right now if I were to insure it, I'd put insurance value of about $60,000 on it.

GUEST:
(laughs) I don't want to say "wow" because that's what everyone says. But that's... really, it doesn't surprise me. She's a famous artist.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's a super painting, and thank you.

GUEST:
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, NY
New York, New York
Value Update (2004)
$60,000 Insurance
Appraised value (2004)
$60,000 Insurance
Event
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)
Period
20th Century
Form
Landscape
Material
Paint

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.