Harris Goat Wagon, ca. 1890
It was my grandmother's. She acquired it when she was a young girl. It went from her to her son and then I acquired it from him.
Now, where did your grandmother live when she had this?
You know, they traveled quite a bit. I'm not sure exactly where she was when she got that. I just don't know.
Well, it's a cast-iron goat cart and it was made in the 1880s, 1890s. Normally, the ones that were popular with the kids of this era were those big fire engines with the galloping horses. But at the same time they made all those, they made some of these little more unusual carts like this. It was sort of a Victorian thing to hook a goat up to a little wagon or a cart and let it pull around the kids. So this is what this was representing: the little child's goat cart. And of course it didn't have the great appeal of the fire engine, so you don't see this that often. It's a little unusual form, which makes it quite rare. It was made by a company named Harris who, I think, was in the New York State area. They weren't one of the more prolific makers of toys, so this is a fairly scarce toy. What gives it a little added appeal is the animation, because just like the horses would gallop on the fire trucks, here the little goats would gallop as the toy was pulled. So it has that charm, too. Now, you know there's a hole right here.
And we're missing a figure. Now, in your history with the piece, did you ever see a figure?
I didn't see the figure, no.
Wish we could find that figure, because that has a great deal to do with the value of this particular piece. The other thing that helps it, of course, is the quality of paint, which has a lot to do with the value, and the paint is just absolutely beautiful. As it sits right now, at auction this would bring $2,500 to $3,500.
Now, if we had the figure, which is a very, very unusual figure... The figure for this is a little cast-iron lady. If we had it at auction with the figure, we're looking at, easy, $5,000. So I'm sorry we can't go look in the sewing box for her figure, because that's where they often ended up, but it's absolutely lovely.
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.