Scrimshaw Whale Tooth, ca. 1850
You threw a heavy sock at me.
I did throw a sock at you.
And what do we have that came out?
It's a whale's tooth. It was a piece of our family history, my husband's family history. Either his great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather did a favor for the original artist. He was a whaler, and he gave that to him in appreciation for it.
We see a lot of whale's teeth or supposed whale's teeth at the folk art table, and the minute this thing popped out of the sock, I knew that it was right, it's a real whale's tooth. This is probably from the mid 19th century, 1840s, 1850s. It's got a whaling scene on one side…
…With the boats, and then on the other side, it gets a little juicier. We have a battle scene with an American ship and a British ship, and one sinking. So have you ever had this appraised, or…?
No, we took it to a person, told us $500, he'd buy it from me, and I refused.
In a good auction, that would probably bring $6,000 to $8,000.
Wow! Dang, thank you!
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.
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