English Chest, ca. 1800
This piece was purchased by my grandfather in the late 1940s in Savannah, Georgia. He acquired it from a dealer in Savannah. I've asked my mother; she doesn't recall the name of the dealer.
Now, what do you know about the chest? What has your mother told you about it?
Well, the dealer in Savannah had indicated it was an American chest. And they called it a bowfront chest because of the shape of the front being bowed outwards, that it's a period piece from the 18th century, but I don't know really much else about it.
The bowfront chest was a very popular form of furniture in England and in America in the late 1700s, around 1790 to maybe 1810 to 1820. And they're very practical chests. One of the nice features about this one is it's so tall that you really have a lot of drawer space. One unfortunate thing is that it is an English chest and not an American chest.
Oh, I didn't know that.
Yes, and it is from the Hepplewhite period. In England they would call it late George III, because he was the reigning monarch during that period. The reason I can tell that it is English is because of the secondary wood in the drawers. When I opened it, you can see that the sides of the drawers are oak, and in America they would be pine or poplar. Also I checked to see if the brasses were original. You can see that they're not. There's an extra hole in the center, and that's where the original handles would have been, and they would have been wooden handles on a piece from this period in England. But it is made out of mahogany, it's a wonderful chest, great wood, a little bit of inlay here, very splashy inlay. The keyholes are called escutcheons, and that's where you would've locked the drawers to put your valuables in. The wonderful thing about these chests is they're so useful. They were very popular during the period, and the English ones, such as this one, will bring $2,000 to $3,000. An American one would probably bring from... anywhere from $2,000 up to $10,000 depending on how fine it was.
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.