New England Gentleman's Chest, ca. 1830
It is a chest of drawers for a very large home. And a lot of times, these big houses with high ceilings, many different members of a family would live in the house, and so maybe a bachelor uncle had this, because you know what these drawers are for, these long drawers here.
We were told they were for wine and alcohol.
Absolutely. It was made out of several different woods. It would have been stained to look like mahogany except for these wonderful panels here, which are flame birch. I would say this was made around 1830. Have you ever had it appraised?
Uh, just kind of in passing, and it was a long time ago.
And what was that at?
Well, today it's worth around $4,000 at auction only because it's so spectacular, unusual, and it has its original feet.
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.
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