Judaic Etrog Box, ca. 1920
It's an etrog box that my father had found in the garbage, that someone had thrown out, and my mother suggested he leave it there and he took it home instead and cleaned it up. And ever since then, he's used it.
Was this on the East Coast or out here in Phoenix?
On the East Coast, in New York.
It's a pretty unusual thing. I'll show people the writing a little bit. It has a Hebrew inscription. And what's really neat about this is that the silver has been cut out and applied down. It looks like basically scrap silver that's been used. If you look closely, each of the patterns is a little bit different. And these are marked sterling in different places. And how it opens is... Like this. And what this basically... I'm sure, as you know, etrog is part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and it's sort of a citron-like fruit. And it's got lamb's wool here. The fruit would sit snugly inside here. It was meant to keep it from getting bruised. It's sort of traditional with Jewish ceremonial art to decorate these boxes, and this is a pretty unusual, I think one-of-a-kind kind of thing. And it looks like maybe somebody who had been involved in either the scrap business or something like that because all of these pieces... this looks like it's a handle from something. Some of the silver up in front-- I don't know if you noticed it has engraved decoration. It looks like it may have been cut from something else. And this is sort of like a Bakelite or plastic backing. Do you know what time frame your father would have come by this?
We came by it in the early '50s, and the person that it belonged to, she said it belonged to her father. I don't know if he brought it here from Russia.
With the sterling marks, I think it's probably made in this country.
It would have to have been quite a ways back.
Yeah, I would think probably maybe sometime after the 1920s. And etrog boxes, I've seen them in wood and in silver and some of them are fruit-shaped, some are made of textiles. This is certainly the most unusual one I've come across. And I would think this could bring upwards of $2,000, $3,000-- a fair amount of money.
It's quite a nice piece. I'm glad you brought it here.
Yeah, and my mother was yelling, "Don't take it out of the garbage."
Well, good thing you did.
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.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.