Kaleidoscope Set, ca. 1800
This was my grandfather's, born about the turn of the century. He'd bring it out just on special occasions to let us play with it a little bit but not a lot, so I guess maybe that's why we still have the packaging and everything.
Well, it's wonderful condition, the way it looks, and I want to just take a look through this. This is a wonderful turn- of-the-century kaleidoscope. I'll take a nice look through this here. And you can see all of the movements that take place in here. These were optical toys that were produced around 1820 through the turn of the century, through about 1900. This is an early piece because of the way it's constructed, which is nice. You can see on the front here there's a company name and it has the maker there. This is nice, because it gives us a good indication that this was probably the 1800s when this was produced based on not only the company name but also the way that it is constructed. Also on the other side, I do want to point this out is that if we take the lens off, you can see on the interior here is a company crest, and what's interesting is there's a small little pie shape that you can see the design through. That tells me that on the interior there's probably glass instead of mirrors and it's difficult to see the interior because of that, but it still gives you that fine effect that the mirrors give you. It's also very early. Now, other great features: you have these wonderful pieces. Do you play with this now?
Occasionally, yeah. We've looked at all of them.
And you can see how very simple materials made this visually very attractive. The other nice thing that you've brought today, you have the cases here for the discs as well as the original case for the kaleidoscope. Do you have any idea of the value of something like this?
No, I sure don't.
This is a piece that I would estimate at about $1,500 to $2,000...
Because of the condition here.
Yes. So keep it in good condition.
Oh, what a surprise--I sure will.
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.