Factory-Made Dining Table, ca. 1895
I had bought it at an auction because it came from a former warden's home at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, and the house was torn down as they needed to expand the penitentiary, so what they did is they auctioned off all the furnishings from this old Victorian warden's home. It was about 115 years old. So I went to the auction, bought this table, and that's all I know.
When did you buy the table, and how much did you pay for it?
The auction was a couple of years ago, and I paid $300 for the table, plus eight lovely office chairs that went with it. I never use the office chairs, but I definitely needed a dining room table.
So one of your questions earlier was, "Do you think that it was made at the prison, "or do you think that it was something that was bought to furnish the house?” I think that it was probably something that was bought to furnish the house as opposed to made. It is very typical of 19th century factory furniture. During the late 19th century, when this table was made-- probably 1890s-- the furniture industry moves from the Atlantic seaboard over into the Midwest. And from that vantage point, they could harness power from water, they had the natural resources for timber, and they had the railroad systems and the river systems that they could disperse that material all over the place. I think that’s probably it was made in the Midwest, Ohio, Illinois, and then shipped it to rural outposts such as North Dakota. It's a cherry table. The wood is cherry. And it's very typical of the type of furniture that would have been made late 19th century. It's a square dining room table that expands. We have one leaf to it. When we walk down to the skirt, we can see that the leaf doesn't include the skirt, which is a way to save money. So it tells us more about the quality of the piece. We have these fluted columns, this expanded mushroom leg. It's a lot of flash for the cash.
In terms of value, though, again, when I say a lot of flash for the cash, meaning not too valuable. In today's market, not a very expensive piece of furniture. Maybe make $300 to $500 at auction.
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.