Shoshone Painted Elk Hide, ca. 1895
It came down to me from my grandfather. He was in politics in Wyoming. And it was a gift to him, I think back in about the '30s. It was given to him by a man from Lander, Wyoming.
I think you know it's painted on elk hide, is what it appears to be. It's brain tanned, or it's native tanned hide. It's not a commercial tanned hide. It is Shoshone. This has all the earmarks of a father and his sons who painted hides in the 19th century, Washakie. The father was the chief of the Shoshone. He was an important chief. He was one of the longest lived chiefs. He lived to be in his late 80s or 90s. He was born in the early 1800s. He was a friend of Jim Bridgers, the fur trapper. And late in his life he started painting hides. His sons took it up also. One of the sons had the same name, Washakie, but died in the 1890s before his father passed in 1900. This would date to that time period, possibly a little earlier. One of the things we know about Washakie and his family is they used stencils or they used cutouts so they could do them with some accuracy. It's a narrative painting of a buffalo hunt. If you look up here, there's a buffalo being butchered. He's cut open, the head's cut off, the legs are cut off to use. You look down here, there's a lady carrying a buffalo hide that's already been pulled off. This really tells the story. And then you look in the center, and there's this big forked pole, like a sundance pole, with the front quarter of a buffalo in it, and it's topped by an eagle, and these are dancers. And the dancers that are going around the pole, they really have the look of Washakie dancers, of his dancers. The paint is probably a combination of some natural colors and commercial. The blue and maybe this green, I think they may be commercial paints. It's in good condition. You need to keep it out of the light. Some of the black's fading a little bit. It's hard to tell whether it's the father's or the son's. If it's the son's, I would say $12,000 to $18,000 at an auction sale. If it's the father's, probably bump it up, $16,000 to $20,000.
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.
Broadway's Best on PBS
Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles; One Man, Two Guvnors; Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, and Lea Salonga in Concert.