Scottish Silver & Enamel Dress Set, ca. 1873
Well, my father went to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1933 after graduating college. And he purchased this from an antique dealer there.
Is he Scottish?
Okay. So he went to university in Edinburgh, presumably?
He went to Harvard.
Oh, okay. Well, it's a Scottish dress set, clearly. We have all the accoutrements necessary for a Scottish man to wear with his ceremonial costume. Firstly the sporran, which is probably the most easily recognizable piece, together with this ermine lining and inset with these wonderful cabochons. Secondly, the skean dhu here, which is the small dagger that would have been concealed around the sock. And then here we have one of my favorite pieces in the group, this beautiful buckle, which would have been worn around the waist. And then these two pieces here, which would have been basically used to secure the tartan across the chest. One of the more imposing parts of the collection is this wonderful dagger, a dress dagger, with this beautifully carved handle made of bogwood. And if I just flip this forward, I'll just show you this very large cabochon here, which is known as Cairngorm. It's a type of quartz which is used... or mined around the Cairngorm Mountains, which is what gives it its name. It has this wonderful smoky color to it. All of the pieces have these inset cabochons, which are essentially different types of quartz. But the Cairngorm is the one that's most recognizable because it's more smoky. Also here we have all of the buttons that would have been used for the dress, so that you could have attached them to jackets, shirts, so on and so forth. So just to talk a little bit about who manufactured it, if I turn the buckle over at the front here, we have a whole series of marks. In the center is the maker's mark. That's "WM," for William Marshall. The date letter are for 1873. The monarch's head, that was to show that the duty had been paid on the silver. And there's also the thistle mark, which is the Scottish silver guarantee mark, together with the three turrets, which is the Edinburgh Assay Office mark. One of the things that really delights me about this collection is the quality of this engraving. Celtic design strapwork, beautifully done, with dragons, with flaming mouths, wonderful intertwining strapwork. Really is work of superior quality. Do you know how much your father paid for it?
Absolutely no idea.
Okay. At auction, I would estimate this to sell for between $8,000 and $12,000.
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.