Carleton Watkins Yosemite Album, ca. 1870
We inherited this album through my mother-in-law's mother's estate, and we found it in the attic of the house that we inherited.
Well, what we have here is a period Morocco binding from the 1860s that is simply spectacular and that sets the stage for the contents of the album. This is the title page of the album, basically indicating that the photographs were taken by America's premier landscape photographer of the 19th century, Carleton Watkins. And if we look at some of these photographs, we can see why Watkins was considered a master of the photographic medium. There's a kind of clarity, an inherent beauty to the pictures that transcends photography as a documentary form, and that in fact shows photography as a fine art, aesthetic form. Watkins would take a camera into the landscape that used glass plate negatives, coat these glass plate negatives on-site, take his picture, remove them, take them to a processing tent. Photography was a little different back then in terms of the hands-on labor, the craft and technique. In terms of the quality of the photographs, these are basically, on a scale of one to ten, a ten. They're as good as it gets. These are albumen prints. They have a nice rich, brown, kind of eggplant tone. And what I love about the album is that the selection of photographs is unique to this album. I counted 50 and it's fairly certain that this is the only album of its kind with this particular selection and number of images. Based on the fact that this is a presentation album, with 50 original photographs, I would say that an auction estimate for the album would be in the $70,000 to $100,000 price range.
Wow. My goodness. That's wonderful!
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.