1927 Model Ferry in Case with Documentation

Value (2004) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

GUEST:
My grandfather worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and my Uncle Glen was the president and he asked my grandfather to build this because they were going to put out the steamboats and the ferryboats, and they wanted to use it as a model.

APPRAISER:
Who was the maker of the model?

GUEST:
Cy Collins.

APPRAISER:
Cy Collins. Did you know when it was made?

GUEST:
1926. Or maybe 1927, I think... Yeah, right in that area.

APPRAISER:
And what's the significance of this model?

GUEST:
Well, they used it as a model when they were christening the boats. And the mayor and everybody would have it and they'd put it in the newspapers when they were christening it.

APPRAISER:
And, you know, you brought in a great scrapbook that relates to this and I spent a little time going through the scrapbook, and, in fact, I learned that this is one of three all-steel ferries that ran from Oakland to San Francisco.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And this was the last one that was christened, in March 1927. The other two were the Fresno and the Stockton, and these were huge ferries for the time. They had a capacity of a hundred cars. They were 265 feet long, and they were built at a cost of over a half a million dollars each at the time. Now, ship model-building has a very long tradition in our country. We've sold ship models from the 1860s, 1850s. These were typically made for important people in the company, so when you say your grandfather built this for someone at the company-- you said you thought he built it for the president.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
You know, the scrapbook that you have has all sorts of neat stuff with this, including pictures like this. This is a sister ship, The Fresno.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
You know who this woman is?

GUEST:
No, I don't.

APPRAISER:
There's a newspaper clipping in your scrapbook that says she's an employee of the transportation company. But you also, in addition to the boat, have ribbons, cards, menus-- all sorts of things that relate to the christening of these three different boats. If I had this in an auction, knowing the history that you have about this, I would probably guess that it would bring $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Oh, really? I didn't expect that much. I was just proud of it because my grandfather built it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH
Appraised value (2004)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Reno, NV (August 14, 2004)
Material
Wood

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.