Cesar Chelor Plane, ca. 1755
My grandfather's a really big antique collector, and he gave me this. It's a Cesar Chelor plane from 1725, and Cesar Chelor was the slave of Mr. Nicholson.
Francis Nicholson was the first known American plane maker, and Cesar Chelor worked for him as a slave, but Francis Nicholson freed him upon his death. So 1753 is when Cesar Chelor became independent and started making planes with his own imprint. He's the first African American to mark tools that he manufactured and one of the first African Americans to have an independent business in this country. And if you read the stamp, it says "Cesar Chelor, living in Wrentham." That's Wrentham, Massachusetts. It's one of the top examples I've ever seen of his work. It's wonderful condition, and the form, it cuts what's called a bolection molding, which is a complex molding. Collectors love that because it's an architectural molding. A Cesar Chelor plane is just the single most desirable molding plane you could ever possibly come by. So I hope you appreciate what a wonderful gift your grandfather gave you.
The market is softer than it had been about five years ago, but I would say an auction estimate on this plane would be about $6,000 to $8,000, and it would have easily brought $12,000 about five or six years ago. Do you think you'll be a tool collector one day?
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.