Inlaid Center Table, ca. 1870

Value (2004) | $10,000 Auction

It belonged to a cousin of my mother's and I got it when she passed away.

And do you know where she got it?

She got it from an antique shop, I believe, here in Omaha. She collected those things when she was younger.

About how long ago was that?

That was about the turn of the century and then she died about 25 years ago, so I've had it for that long.

Been in your family for quite a while. Do you know anything about it?

No, I really don't know anything about it. I know she said that there were many different kinds of wood and there was a list of the woods that it had, but that's been lost.

Okay. This is about as powerful a table as anybody could buy when it was made-- about 1865 to 1875. Undoubtedly New York. There were 5,000 cabinetmakers active in New York, so it's hard to be specific about which one it is, but I can assure you that whoever made this table was one of the best.


It's the most important piece of furniture that would have been shown in any house. This was a center table. It would have been placed in the parlor. The top was made in France; it's marquetry of various woods. This was imported, and as you can see from the top, it's just beautifully inlaid. We've got birds eating, picking berries and nuts with the floral swags around. Kingwood, rosewood, and we come down to the side here where we've got this gilt bronze trim that comes around. All the base is in rosewood, which is premium wood. People get confused about rosewood thinking that it's from a rose bush or a rose tree. Rosewood is given its name because it gives off an odor when it's sawed that smells like roses.

Oh, okay.

The carving on it is spectacular. As you can see here, we got open work underneath these swags that come down that give us a pierced... light can show through it, the shell motif in the center that's consistent with New York cabinetmakers. Wonderful legs, wonderful stretcher, great proportions, great size, great stance. With that said, it has some condition issues. The majority of the original surface is intact, but there are problems. We've got a huge split that comes down, loose moldings, loose pieces. Um, we've got minor breaks and so forth. And this gets into one of those situations where we don't like to encourage restoration, but sometimes it's unavoidable. And in this case, this table would benefit greatly, but it would have to be done from a great conservator. You would not risk this type of furniture with somebody who is a secondary conservator. So in this condition it's my feeling that the table is easily in the $10,000 range. If you put...


I don't know how much restoration costs would be, but it would certainly be in excess of $5,000, might be as much as $10,000, but if that was done and this table was brought back, this table would probably bring $20,000 to $30,000 easy enough.

Oh, my gosh.

So it's a great table and one of the best that I've had the privilege to see on the show and I'm thrilled you brought it in.


Appraisal Details

Sacramento, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$10,000 Auction
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)

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.