New England Painted Wooden Boxes
Well, they were in my mother's parents' place in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire, all right. I'm glad to hear that. Because I've always believed that these dome-top boxes with the reeded tops were from New Hampshire. So when you said these had a New Hampshire history, I went, "Bingo, here's proof!" And these things, the two of them belonged to... Her name was Mary Churchill. Her initials are on the front of it. This would have been made by a sweetheart or husband. The thing that is special about the boxes is the paint, a beautiful color. A lot of these have suffered a fate, and that is people strip all the paint off and refinish them. Because if you look at this, you look inside, this box is made of eastern white pine, and that's a wood that would be indigenous to New Hampshire in great quantity. It was only popular-- "Take all the paint off, I don't want it"-- because they wanted to get down to the original pine. Thank goodness people in your family to whom these were passed left them alone. As a result, these two boxes with this lovely yellow, very delicate decoration, the reeded top, original surface, they really are quite valuable.
Oh! You got any ideas?
I do. (laughing) Do you have any idea?
Highly prized in our family.
Well, I should think so. Boxes in the market are magic. People love painted boxes. Interesting. I think in an auction situation, these would easily be estimated in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.
Wow! Really? And that's with nothing in them! Who would have thought?
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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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