Tiffany Studios Tea Screen, ca. 1900
I got it in Atlanta, in 1997. It's marked on the back, Tiffany Studios. I know that it's a tea screen. I don't know what a tea screen is.
A tea screen was to be put in front of a tea kettle that was on an alcohol burner to keep the burner from going out. It's an interesting piece. A lot of people that think about Tiffany, they think about glass, they think about lamps. We've shown desk set pieces. When you bought this piece ten years ago, do you mind me asking what you paid for it?
It was $3,200.
That's a lot of money then, it's a lot of money now for something. I would say, truthfully, that that's a pretty fair price that you would've paid back then. One of the things that I also thought about with this piece is a lot of these have been reproduced. And when we see these, because we see them so infrequently, it's a concern for us. So when I started looking at the piece, one of the first things I look at is the glass that's in it. Is it Tiffany glass or is it not? And interestingly enough, many of the pieces that I saw, I felt very strongly were Tiffany. There were some of them that I looked at and I thought, I'm not as comfortable about. Next, I took a look at the quality of the workmanship of the metalwork and that all seemed to be pretty nice, with the exception. I started to look at some of the lighting work that was in it, and some of it looked fine. And then some of it... just didn't look quite right. It was flattened. It looked a little bit sloppy. The other thing I looked at is probably one of the things you looked at, was the signature that was on the bottom of it. It said "Tiffany Studios, New York." Some of these are signed and some of them aren't. This one is signed-- however, the mark is very light, and you normally don't see that. Which made me go, "Hmm. "I don't know what to make about this mark. I don't like it." While talking with my colleague, we both kind of went across... I like this; I don't like this. Some of the aspects of yours were right, and some of them weren't right. Sometimes we sit back and say, we're not sure. If you ask me, "Would I buy this piece?" My answer would be no, and the reason why is because there weren't enough things that I thought were right about it versus the things that I thought were wrong. With that said, I would give it a decorative value of only about $1,000. I'm sure that's not what you wanted to hear today.
But here's what I'm willing to do. I want you to prove me wrong. I don't know it all, nobody does. I want you to research it a little bit further to determine: is the leading correct? Pull it back-- something that we can't do here-- and give you a bottom-line answer. Maybe it was restored, and maybe that's why I'm seeing the sloppy leading and a couple of the pieces of the glass that I don't like. So that's a possibility also. If you find the piece is right, on today's market, this tea screen would very easily sell for $15,000- $20,000.
So, I'm really excited that you brought it in, and I can't wait to hear what you find out.
Thank you very much.
Thanks for bringing it.
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.