18th-Century Ivory Miniatures
Well, an elderly relative of ours retired from the east, and these I believe she gave to my mother, because they were kind of family oriented. And so they've been in the bank vault for the last 50 years, I guess.
You mentioned that you know who the artist is who did the miniatures?
Yes. A friend of my brother's went to the portrait gallery in Washington, and it was their belief that the picture, the two smaller ones were painted by somebody named Dunkerley.
That's correct. What we have here are wedding gifts from Mr. Young and Mrs. Young to each other. And they are done by the artist Joseph Dunkerley, who worked in Boston in the 18th century. And, what's an interesting detail about these, if you look on the back of this miniature you see here, it says, "I.Y. to S.R." And then on the back of the lady's, it says, "S.R. to I.Y." So it's an interesting story about the husband and wife. What I bet you didn't know is that Dunkerley was a tenant of Paul Revere in Boston.
I didn't know that.
The silversmith and patriot Paul Revere. And, because of that, we can attribute the case and the engraving to Paul Revere.
What also is another interesting element of this is the mourning picture, which sadly commemorates the death of their only daughter, Betsy, who passed away at the age of 12. Have you ever had these appraised or have any idea of the value?
No. Not at all.
If they were to come to auction today, I would estimate their value to be $15,000 to $20,000.
Wow. (laughs) I'm sure my brother and sister will be happy to hear about that, I mean they're family things, though they wouldn't be sold, but it's nice to know the value of them.
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.