Wadsworth Mansion, Hour 3
Get wowed by wonders at Wadsworth Mansion including a 1953
D’Angelico guitar, a couture ball gown made around 1885 and Larry Bird game-
worn sneakers. Can you guess which is valued at $190,000?
CORAL PEÑA: "Antiques Roadshow" is discovering treasures
at an historic Connecticut estate,
the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill.
When a friend tells you a Beatle wants to come
check out your ukulele collection,
you go, "Okay, sure." That's right.
Gosh, I'm just touched.
Got some big shoes here to fill.
PEÑA: "Roadshow" has set up today at Wadsworth Mansion,
a grand Classical Revival home
and a preservation success story.
If these walls could talk, they'd tell the tale of a house
that went from dignified
to dilapidated, before being resurrected in the 1990s
as a place of pride due to the efforts of the citizens
of Middletown, Connecticut.
We'll learn more about this part
of Wadsworth Mansion's history later on.
But first, let's see some treasures
that our guests are proud of.
WOMAN: There's been a lot of family folklore about the painting.
We had an aunt that worked at the University of Hartford
and it was heard that one of her students
gifted it to her, but we're not 100% if that is sure
or if the, the painting she actually purchased
from the student. I see.
But I do know it's been in the family for the past 25 years
hanging in the dining room.
Have you ever had it appraised?
We did something online, uh, maybe six or seven months back
for a quick appraisal.
Okay, and what were you able to find out?
Worth between $1,000 or $2,000.
This is Charles Ethan Porter, who was born in 1847,
even though there's some question about that.
It could be 1849. Right.
He died in 1923.
He's an African American artist.
Imagine, when he graduates from high school in 1865,
slavery was just, uh, ended
with the passage of the 13th Amendment,
and Civil War just ended a little bit before that.
And of course, the prevailing attitude at the time
was that, uh, "Negroes" weren't really capable
of producing art.
So he's painting at a time when there was
so many obstacles in his way.
But he's got a lot of firsts.
It's believed that he's the first African American artist
to be trained at the National Academy of Design in New York.
And they exhibited his work on top of that,
not only when he was a student,
but a little bit afterwards, as well.
He had the support of a lot of people in Hartford,
including Samuel Clemens, A.K.A. Mark Twain... Twain.
...Twain's wife, Olivia Clemens, Harriet Beecher Stowe,
the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
and his family.
His parents, even when he was a teenager,
before he, while he was in high school,
they would scramble together and got some funds
so he could take art classes,
which is something very unusual.
Didn't he travel to Paris? Yes, so he studied...
Go over to Paris to study? Exactly.
That was in 1881, if you can imagine.
He was there for three years. Wow.
He was able to sell some of his pieces.
That helped to fund his trip to Paris, for example.
When he came back, he was back and forth
between New York and Hartford.
He ended up dying in his hometown
of Rockville, Connecticut... Rockville, yes.
...which is not far from Hartford.
But Harford was basically his home, so to speak... His home.
...and the center of his support system.
This particular painting is an oil on canvas.
And I would date this probably
somewhere between 1875 to 1879,
or something, or something like that.
So it's after he goes to,
uh, National Academy of Design,
but before he goes to Paris. Paris.
He signed it up at the top left there,
"C.E. Porter," which looks very good.
The apple here that looks kind of like it's suspended,
it kind of draws your eye into it.
It's a very nicely done painting
and a very good representation of his work.
And he's known mostly as a still life painter,
even though he did
explore other subjects, too. Right, yes, yes.
So at retail, I think I would put a price of around
$25,000 on it. Really?
Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Oh, that is fantastic.
I have goosebumps.
Being a Hartford artist, I'm just taken back.
Think about it: in the 19th century,
there are not that many African American artists.
And they did-- that did still life.
That did still life.
Or that we even know about.
A delicious little painting, though.
I just want to reach in there and grab one of those apples.
I brought "An Ancient Map of Fairyland."
It was given to my mother in 1933.
It's all imaginary.
A lot of it ties into
all kinds of different mythological things
of various civilizations,
It's just fascinating-- great detail.
WOMAN: Back in 1986, my husband and I bought our first house
just before we got married.
We had this in the sunroom,
which is in the picture.
This got stored away.
It is signed by Handel.
cylinder shape comes up as a torchère lamp.
It's most likely that they decided to make this into... Interesting.
...into a lighting fixture that will hang from the ceiling. Okay.
WOMAN: My brother and I own this photograph.
It's been in our family for decades.
Um, my grandfather was the original owner.
He passed away in 1977.
So we don't know a lot of the history behind the item.
This is a piece of fabric from the actual wing
of the Kitty Hawk Wright Flyer.
It was, after Orville Wright's death,
cut up into these very interesting collectibles.
Who is Maurice H. Smith?
How did he get involved with aviation?
So that's Grandpa. (laughs)
He was born in 1905,
so I think he grew up in that era
where they were, uh, very interested, and, uh, excited,
and celebrated the first flight.
How he got involved in aeronautics
I'm not exactly sure.
It's not unique.
These pieces of fabric were cut up
and put in this souvenir arrangement...
Okay. ...for many different people.
We don't know how many were actually made. Okay.
They are all hand-signed by Lester Gardner,
who was a friend
of Orville Wright's, a friend of the family.
He was a major figure in aviation.
So he's the best person
to certify this piece of fabric.
Do you have any idea what it's worth?
I've never seen one before.
I was gonna guess a couple of hundred dollars.
It really is a treasure. Hm.
Um, if we knew more about Maurice Smith... Mm-hmm.
...it would help increase the value. Mm-hmm.
Um, as a collectible,
I would put an auction estimate on this
of $8,000 to $10,000.
I am shocked.
Now, here's the interesting part. Wow.
Neil Armstrong took one of these
pieces of fabric to the moon,
brought it back,
and that piece of fabric sold at auction
And it doesn't look any different than your piece.
Thank you so much.
I wish I could go back in time and ask more questions about it,
um, but we're blessed to have it in the family.
WOMAN: I know he's very old.
I think he's around 1910.
I know that he came from Germany
and he was my dad's doll.
And I know my dad, unfortunately,
gave him a haircut... (chuckles)
...that I'm not too fond of, but, um, it is what it is,
and we're waiting for it to grow out. (laughs)
Tommy has been in my possession since the '70s.
He was in pieces in a shoebox when I received him.
He's held together by a very thick elastic.
I just said one day,
"This is it, you're gonna go back together, Tommy."
And I put him together, and he's been fine
ever since the early '70s.
All these clothes I received with him.
You're very lucky to have a doll
that doesn't need any restoration.
It's... The body's in beautiful condition.
The head has no damage.
Has nice clothing.
The wig is partially gone,
but it's, it's still
its original wig.
So keep it that way.
Your doll was made by a company called Kämmer & Reinhardt.
They were two
men in Germany that started the company in about 1890.
They made dolls, and then in 1910,
they started to make what they called character dolls. Oh.
They wanted dolls that had expression.
Their first doll they made in that series was 100.
And 100 was a baby with kind of a scowling face.
And they kept doing these models
until they got to your doll,
which is a number 114.
The 114 was a very popular doll.
It's marked on the back of the head K, star, R.
It's the Jewish star, Star of David, and 114.
When the dolls were marketed,
some of the numbers were given names.
Your doll, the number 114,
if it was a boy, it was called Hans.
And if it was a girl, it was called Gretchen.
There's one feature that was very rare.
It's the glass eyes. Oh!
Almost all of them were painted eyes,
but in some models, they put sleeping glass eyes.
So they're very rare when they have the sleeping eyes.
These are not factory clothing,
but they're clothing that was made during the... Oh.
...when the doll was being played with at the time.
Your doll would
probably retail for $6,200... Oh, my...
My goodness, Tommy!
PEÑA: Katharine Fearing Hubbard married Clarence Wadsworth
The two were first cousins, and their union fortified
each other's fortunes.
In fact, some of the land that was part of their original
500-acre Long Hill estate
came from Katharine's side of the family.
WOMAN: It belonged to my great-grandmother,
who was a New Yorker.
She lived in
Dobbs Ferry and then would winter in Manhattan,
staying at the Waldorf.
It was handed down from her
to my grandmother and then to me.
My mother and, uh, the family was visiting my grandparents,
and my birthday was coming up, and my mother
said to my grandmother, "How about giving Tiffany,"
which is my name, "a Tiffany?"
And my grandmother said, "Sure, which one do you want?"
Because there were three.
Two of them were kind of boring-looking.
I gravitated to this one because it was just so different.
This vase was made at Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces, Inc.
Oftentimes people confuse-- there are two companies.
There was Tiffany and Company
and then there were the companies that were owned
by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Okay.
And those were the companies that made
the stained-glass lamps, and the windows,
and the mosaics, and the blown glass,
and the pottery. Okay.
Louis was the son of the founder of
Tiffany and Company, Charles Tiffany. Okay.
So that's always very confusing.
So this is a, it's actually a very unusual vase.
In fact, I'm not sure
I've seen another one like it. (chuckles)
Which I love. Yeah.
Um, it was made in 1926.
The reason I know that, on the bottom...
It is very difficult to see,
but it's signed with a number
and then the suffix letter N,
and then "L.C. Tiffany Inc. Favrile."
That is an indication of the time period
during the 1920s
that's actually, they put an "Inc." in the signature.
So that's one tip-off, but another tip-off is
that, uh, there was a letter written to the editor
of "Antiques Magazine" in 1926
asking the editor, um, "Could you please explain
the numbering system?"
A. Douglas Nash, who worked for Tiffany,
explained how things were signed.
Mm-hmm. And then he said,
"We are now at the series N."
So it couldn't be more plain.
(both laughing) Right?
In the 1920s-- particularly in the late 1920s,
when Tiffany was actually really closing down--
there was a lot of experimentation and innovation
in the glass-blowing department.
And a lot of it was unsuccessful,
but in this case, this was a crowning achievement.
It is a piece of case glass,
meaning that there's more than one layer of glass
that has been used in order to create the piece.
The interior is almost like a brownish cherry color,
and then the exterior that's sort of peeking out
underneath this matte finish decoration appears to almost
be like an agate finish. Mm-hmm.
Yeah, I liked it because it looked like pottery,
but it was glass.
Everything that Tiffany made was a luxury item.
This is art glass-- it's not meant to be used as a vase.
Mm-hmm. Flowers are not meant
to go into it, you're not supposed to... I've never put flowers in it.
I've been too afraid of it. (both laughing)
In a retail venue,
I could see this selling for between
$30,000 and $50,000.
Oh, my God.
Wow. I had no idea.
I think it's really lucky that you were named Tiffany.
(laughs): Not after the jewelry store,
after the family dog. No?
That was named after the jewelry store, so...
It really is a gem. Yeah.
Oh, wow, wow.
MAN: I received it as a high school graduation present.
My father was in the jewelry business
and I had a fascination with chronographs.
I didn't know anything about it at the time.
I kind of picked it out myself.
APPRAISER: Was it new when you got it?
It was new when I got it, yeah.
The brand is Heuer, and it's a pretty big company.
And this particular model is called an Autavia,
and that came from two things:
automobile and aviation.
And they combined the two together and they got Autavia,
is basically how they came up with that name.
What year did you get your watch?
Do you remember... 1967.
I notice that you've seemed to have kept it pretty original.
It worked for...
18, 20 years, and then I kind of just put it away.
If we look at the bezel of the watch--
you'll see that bezel right there that turns--
it's pretty faded out.
So this particular bezel was black.
Do you remember it being dark when you got it originally?
Yeah, black, yup.
So it's faded out over time.
It's anodized aluminum.
But it's really good that you've left it alone,
because collectors like originality.
The Autavias were actually, originally
were dashboard clocks. Mm-hmm.
And they were put in airplanes and they were put in cars.
They started making them in 1933,
and they made them to 1957.
And then started, in 1962,
they started making chronograph wristwatches
and they called them Autavias.
And they continued that for about 25 years.
And your watch has a case
that is a screw-back case.
And that was done to create a water-resistant watch,
or a waterproof watch at the time.
And there's something really nice
about your watch, is that you have
the original bracelet with it.
It's marked "Heuer" in the back.
But when we open it up on the inside,
we have a marking here,
and it says "G" and "F," and it has a deer in the center.
That's, that was a trademark of the company
that made the bracelet for Heuer
called Gay Frères.
Over here, we have a date mark on it, and it says "1/66,"
which stands for the first quarter of 1966
it was manufactured.
What did you estimate the value?
I thought maybe between $4,000 and $5,000.
Some of them do bring that.
Yours is a better model
because it has the screw-back case on it.
It's more desirable.
Your bracelet alone easily is $2,000 to $3,000
in value, just for the bracelet. (chuckles)
Easily a $10,000 to $12,000 watch.
So I think,
all together, with the bracelet and the watch,
you're looking at a watch
that would easily go for $12,000 to $15,000 in auction.
(laughing): Wow, I didn't expect that.
I understand that they were painted by a Cuban artist
named Nicolás Guillén Landrián.
The pieces that he painted were scenes of the people
that he saw in Havana, Cuba.
This image is really striking, with the figure
coming out of the background,
the black and white strength of this
and the expressionism of that snake coming through.
There's something very cinematic about them.
You've got a Toshiko Takaezu piece,
made in New Jersey, roughly 1974.
(object rattling inside) This one has a rattle.
What she would do is, she would get
a small ball of clay,
wrap it in tissue paper,
put it inside, seal the pot, and fire it.
The tissue paper would burn away,
and that ball of clay
would become the, the, uh, the rattle inside.
And they don't always rattle.
It's, I think it's better when it does.
Around ten years old, my father bought it in 1953,
uh, for me,
and I've had that ever since.
It's what I learned how to play on.
That's you here at, uh, ten or 11 years of age?
That's my dad. That's your dad.
And that's my teacher.
I guess I was around 13 or 14 when I started
actually making some money, and it went on from there.
I was on the road for a few years
with a few bands and, uh,
now I'm here.
Well, I could see the guitar
has, has quite a bit of normal playing wear on it. Yeah.
So you, you played this guitar quite a bit
in its life. I did.
What you brought is a John D'Angelico
archtop jazz guitar. Yeah.
We even have the original sales receipt
in John D'Angelico's hand, from when your father
purchased this... Right.
...in October 19, 1953, and it was, uh, $325 at the time.
(laughs): That's, that's a real steal, isn't it?
And all D'Angelico guitars
were essentially custom guitars.
Your guitar here, um,
has a medium neck in a custom dark finish.
And it came with a pickup. Right.
Which is not on it right now,
because the pick guard's disintegrated.
But D'Angelico was born in New York City. Yeah.
And his uncle was a guitar maker,
but he didn't make very many guitars.
He made mostly violins and mandolins. Oh.
And at the age of nine,
John D'Angelico apprenticed with him.
His uncle died when he was about 16 years old,
and John D'Angelico took over the shop. Oh.
He did that for a few years,
but he closed that business down in 1932
and began making his own archtop guitars.
Everything about this guitar was top of the line.
And John D'Angelico is,
by acclaim, the greatest archtop guitar maker ever.
And I see your father is playing
a D'Angelico guitar, as well. Yes.
Your family has good taste.
This one was made in 1953.
Really, that's right in the middle of his best period.
Your initial $325 investment
today, at a vintage guitar shop,
would sell in the range of $30,000 to $35,000 at retail.
Would you mind playing it a little bit for me
to let us hear it?
(chuckling): Very nice.
(applause) Beautiful, sounded great.
PEÑA: The Wadsworth family property at Long Hill was sold in 1947
to a Roman Catholic order,
the Religious of Our Lady of the Cenacle.
For nearly 40 years, it was a retreat for seekers
of spiritual instruction.
My wife and I, we were, uh, at an estate sale.
It was a Saturday and Sunday, we purchased a couple of items,
and we went back on Sunday, because it was just,
had a lot of unique stuff.
We were leaving, actually, and my wife said,
"Oh, we didn't look in the garage."
And I was, like, "Eh, you know, let's go," or whatever.
She goes, "No way, let's look around."
So she, there was a box on the ground,
and she opened it up, and we thought it was curtains.
But she loved the fabric,
and so we went in and asked about it,
and they said, "Oh, no, that's a gown."
We paid $75 for it and that's all we could
pretty much find out about it.
It's an amazing piece.
There is no label inside,
so we don't know who the maker was.
The dress was actually created in the 1880s.
It's a beautiful dress, it's got all kinds of unusual details.
It's in the feather design.
In the 1880s, these types of motifs
were popular not only in women's clothing,
but in drapery fabrics and other fabrics that they used.
The base underskirt is a pink silk.
It's so beautiful because it has several different elements
that are more unique.
Like, it has the pink pearls mixed with ivory pearls. Mm-hmm.
And this is a machine-made appliqué.
On the right side, you have fabric that is
machine-embroidered, as well, but it is a lace.
And if you look, there are many different colors.
There's yellows and burgundies. Mm-hmm.
There's kind of a pale aqua and pinks.
It is all laid over the pink silk.
So from a distance, you get a soft pink
coming through the lace. Mm-hmm.
The lace at the neckline is all handmade lace.
If you look, it has the handmade lace
at the cuffs... Mm-hmm.
...and more of the pearl detail.
It's really beautiful.
It's, the entire dress is lined in a pink silk
that matches the front of the dress.
And it's also piped at the waistband,
you can see as it comes around. Mm-hmm.
This is a two-piece dress.
And so the bodice and the train is one piece.
and the other is a a complete skirt under that. Mm-hmm.
As it would move, the color, the pink color,
would actually be exposed on the underside of the skirt... Mm-hmm.
...in several different positions
because of the way the skirt is created. Wow.
So with the neckline, it was either made
for a ballgown or for the opera.
This dress was worn by a lady who wanted to be seen.
It has built-in bustles, which has,
from both the skirt itself-- they have ties that you tie
the bustle in. Wow.
And in the 1880s-- this is probably about 1884, 1885--
the bustle bec... started to get larger and larger.
And then, by the early 1890s,
it started getting smaller again.
During the last two years, the prices of Victorian clothing
has begun to escalate in price.
I would think, at the right auction,
that this gown would sell between $2,500 and $4,000.
Very interesting, that's awesome.
WOMAN: I got it from my parents.
My mother got it from her mother, who passed away in 1944.
Her father passed away in 1931.
So I'm not sure exactly when it was purchased.
I'm guessing sometime early '40s, possibly,
from a gallery in New York City.
I have appraisal prices on it from 1989,
when my mother passed away,
and also 1999, when my father passed away.
Okay, so what was the most recent appraisal, in 1999?
Um, $5,500. All right.
It's by an engraver, uh, who would have identified as
from the German territories in the 15th century... Mm-hmm.
...named Martin Schongauer.
And you can see his initials right there. Right.
And Schongauer was the first,
uh, most famous Western artist
who did engravings.
He's the first artist to come down to us
with a more or less full biography.
We know his name, we know where he worked,
where he went to school.
And it was on his work, his body of approximately
115 different engravings that he made over the course
of a 30-year career that sort of
Western printmaking was built.
He's, he's that foundational of a figure.
On that foundation
every printmaker has built their careers,
going from Albrecht Dürer, in the, in the 1500s... Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
to Goya in, in the late 1700s,
right on up through Picasso and Andy Warhol.
(laughing): This, this is the foundation
of it, believe it or not.
Oh, my goodness.
He lived from around 1450 to 1490. Hm.
And worked in a town named Colmar,
which is now part of Alsatian France,
near Southern Germany. Mm-hmm.
Which was also a hotbed for publishing.
We know that his father was a metalsmith,
and he would've known engraving from his father. Mm-hmm.
And we know that Schongauer trained as a painter.
We know the subject here is St. Lawrence... Mm-hmm.
...who was a third-century Christian cleric
that fell afoul of the Roman leadership
and was martyred.
And he's holding the palm frond of the martyr. Right.
And we see this grill here. Mm-hmm.
He was actually burned on the grill
and that's how he was martyred.
Even though Schongauer initialed all of his engravings... Mm-hmm.
...and didn't date a single one,
we know through stylistic analysis
with other engravings that Schongauer made
that this is very likely towards the end of his career
and made sometime in the 1480s, most likely.
His earlier work
is more busy, and the entire composition
is filled with elements.
In this composition, there's just a sparseness to this
which is indicative of a later-career work by Schongauer.
We know how famous he was in his lifetime
because there are dozens and dozens of copies made
of his engravings by his contemporaries,
and these copies were being passed off as Schongauers. As his? I see.
Hmm. (laughs): We also know,
looking at yours-- I took it out of the frame...
Yes. ...to see this, and had a closer look at the paper--
that there is a watermark on the sheet,
which helps us date the sheet. Ah-hah.
Which places it as, as printed by Schongauer in his lifetime.
I have not found another
impression of this subject at auction in 40 years.
(chuckles) This is in great condition.
The sheet is so well-preserved from the 1480s.
It's as good as you'd want to see.
I would put a conservative auction value on this
at between $40,000 and $60,000.
(laughing): I'm speechless.
A treasure. Yes.
An absolute treasure for many, many, many reasons.
WOMAN: They're two brooches that my grandmother gave me,
uh, back in the '70s.
They're very well-crafted.
They're done in enamel with diamonds and gold,
and some pearls in there.
They would probably retail for anywhere
from about $5,000 to $7,000 each.
I didn't expect that.
(laughs) They're in excellent condition.
So I brought my family silver.
There's a weird story about why my father got it,
is when he was a little boy,
he marked it. (laughs)
And he peed in it, so it's been washed...
I was gonna say... It's been washed since!
Your father must have been quite a character.
(laughs): Yes, yes, he was.
MAN: I'd written a book on the history of the ukulele
that came out in the late '90s, and had a music trade show.
A friend of George Harrison's, uh, passed our booth and said,
"Oh, my friend George gave me that book."
And it turned out his friend was George Harrison, and he said,
"Gee, you know, George would love to come
see your ukulele collection."
Not something you hear every day. (laughs)
In fact, my wife and I thought, "This isn't going to happen."
We told, we told no one about this, because we thought,
"You know, Beatles don't come to your house."
I was just gonna say, when a friend tells you
a Beatle wants to come check out your ukulele collection...
That's right. ...you go, "Okay, sure."
About four or five days later, the doorbell rang,
and in came this friend who had stopped by at the show
and George Harrison.
And we spent the next three hours
just playing ukes together.
It was an extraordinary time.
There we were, singing "All My Loving," with George,
all playing ukuleles, and it was,
it was a moment to never be forgotten.
We're publishers of ukulele songbooks,
and we even had a new book that was coming out,
with, one of the first with Beatles songs in it.
So just as he was about to leave,
I thought, "Wouldn't it be wonderful
if we could get an appreciation for this songbook?"
So I gave him a piece of stationery and I said,
"Would you mind writing
why you like the ukulele?"
This is what he wrote.
I am so happy that you had the presence of mind
to ask him to do that,
because now that he's no longer with us, sadly, everyone...
There's all these wonderful folklore stories
that everyone has who knew him about him driving
around with a trunkful of ukuleles. That's right.
Because he would just give them to people.
You know, everyone always thought it was kind of quirky
and wacky that he, he was into the ukulele,
but I think it's wonderful
that he really did write out here why he likes it.
And this letter is such a dream
because it's, it's so evocative of his personality
and his turns of phrase,
and he says that people who play the ukulele are "crackers,"
which is a very British kind of way of saying they're bonkers.
(laughs): Right. He even signs it
here with his George (Keoki) Harrison,
which was kind of his...
Yeah, his Hawaiian... He had an estate in Hawaii
and that was kind of his nickname there. Yes, yeah.
Which is Hawaiian for farmer.
He was quite an accomplished gardener.
And he's dated it. Yes.
And it's just a lovely, lovely piece.
I know that because
this was published in your book... Uh-huh.
...it's kind of been picked up and it's been out there.
People have seen it. It has, yes.
But most of the copies I've seen
did not have this doodle at the bottom,
of the pig. (laughs): That's right.
For some reason, my wife,
who was the art director on this book,
for some reason, she chose not to put the, the pig in.
Maybe it just, it just didn't fit.
I think that the pig is probably
my favorite part of this whole letter. (laughs)
Because it, again, it just,
it's so evocative of his personality
and saying that, "Some are made from pigs!"
I mean, it's just, it's so, so George,
and when we look at the value on something like this,
obviously, the memory for you, it's just pure joy,
the thought of sitting down
and playing ukulele with George Harrison.
So few people on Earth
may have had an opportunity like that.
Obviously, things that were written when he was a Beatle
are going to have the highest value. Sure.
This is obviously quite a bit later. Uh-huh.
And it's only three years before he passed away.
A standard letter written from this period
is probably, from George Harrison, $2,000 to $3,000. Uh-huh.
I think because of the content of your letter
and because of the fact that it has the pig... (laughs)
...and it has so much character,
I would put an estimate at auction
of $5,000 to $7,000 on this letter. Mm-hmm, wow.
I would insure it for no less than $10,000.
Hm, wow-- thank you very much.
Are there actually any ukuleles made with pigs?
None that I know of.
PEÑA: In the late 1980s,
Wadsworth Mansion fell victim to vandals, thieves, and squatters
after a developer lost it in bankruptcy.
In 1990, a fire started here, in the East Ballroom,
would have destroyed everything
had the house not been fire-proofed
and built with reinforced concrete walls and ceilings,
a relatively new technology in American home building
at the turn of the 20th century.
WOMAN: It is a tribal war club from an island in the Pacific.
It's been in my family for generation after generation.
APPRAISER: Was there a tradition, uh, with your, um, family
of sailing to the Pacific?
Were there some whaling people? Yes.
We come from a family of whalers.
Whalers. Yes, I believe that the tribal members
would trade with the whalers when they came through,
and that's how we actually acquired it.
It is a war club.
It's also a badge of high status
for a warrior.
It's from the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific.
And it's made out of ironwood, or casuarina wood,
which is extremely hard and dense,
and after they'd carved it,
they would put it in the taro fields until it went black.
This could take a long time,
and then they would polish it with coconut oil.
It's also called an U'u, and the features
are all similar, but no two are alike.
Okay. And the marks that you find on it, these here,
quite often replicate the tattoos
that they would have on their bodies.
And they would have, um, animals,
birds, lizards, and they would relate to their clans
or their tribes-- it doesn't have any of the animals
or birds and things on here.
But the carving is still very fine and really beautiful.
I think the club was made early 19th century.
The head, in Polynesia, is also considered really important,
the human head, and this also is interesting.
This is the head shape.
And you even have small heads
where the eyes are, and the radiations going out.
And this motif comes up all over the place.
On the bottom,
usually, they would have had some binding there,
coconut fiber binding, with some hair.
Would have been dog hair or human hair, even.
I don't see any traces of it down there.
Perhaps it didn't.
Warfare was very central to the men in the Marquesas Islands,
and they frequently had battles.
But interesting enough, most of them were pre-organized.
Marquesas clubs nearly all between
four-and-a-half and five feet long.
There are early drawings of these
where the men are sort of standing around talking,
and it's under their arm.
They sit around and they talk with this thing.
So on the one hand, it's their weapon of war. Right.
On the other, it's this highly-prized status symbol.
It's definitely had some damage here. Yes.
I'll just turn it over so that you can see, on the other side,
where it's had a big chunk here. Hm.
I don't know whether that was done in battle,
or just, one of your members just dropped it one evening.
We like to tell the story
that it was done in battle. Right.
Which, my five-year-old was quite impressed.
A bump from this would certainly bring the color to your cheeks.
I mean, this is a serious piece of wood.
This is an icon in Polynesian art.
Some of them have much bigger heads.
This is sort of just a normal club,
and the condition does detract from the value.
I think a conservative retail price would be between
$30,000 and $40,000.
Oh, that's, that's pretty up there.
Right, I mean... I would never have guessed that.
They have made $120,000, and things like this.
But these are ones with significant provenance,
some with a much bigger head, and some with more animals
or something like that, or clan marks on them.
All of them are from the personal collection
of Connecticut State Heroine Prudence Crandall.
They're all inscribed by her,
and one of them has the inscription
of the Prudence Crandall school.
She was born in 1803, an educated person.
She went to Connecticut to start a school for young women,
a boarding school.
And she had mostly wealthy students who were mostly white.
But a woman named Sarah Harris came and wanted to be educated.
She was Black, and so she welcomed her to the school
in Canterbury, and the town was not pleased.
The parents of the white students
took them out of school, and so at that point,
Prudence Crandall had a pivot moment
and decided that she would just have a school
that was only catering to, to Black female students.
She met, uh, William Lloyd Garrison.
She visited some other integrated
and Black educators, and she decided to put an ad
in a newspaper called "The Liberator"
that was edited by Garrison,
and within a few months, she had about
20 boarding students, but the town was still not happy.
She was jailed.
The merchants in town wouldn't sell them any supplies.
She was banned from church with her students.
She did start something very important,
having the first integrated American classroom.
The signatures that I have seen look just like this signature.
If we examine them, we can see that
boards are detached.
This one is actually the board from another book.
They're not fancy books.
May I ask what you paid for the books?
I paid between $500 and $800 per book. Hm.
Which I knew was probably more than they were worth.
But it was, uh, my goal to amass the collection,
keep them together.
I would keep them as a group.
At auction, I would say, probably say $1,000 to $2,000
for the group, so... Wonderful,
thank you very much! ...I congratulate you, yes.
So my daughter and I went to a charity event
called Artrageous in 2005, and it was a two-part charity,
was raising money for foster kids.
All these famous artists would be on the floor
doing the art with the kids,
and then the artists would finish the piece
over a few months,
and then the pieces would be sold at a big gala event.
Jeff Koons was there, I said to Jeff,
"Do you think that you could put your hands in the paint
and put it on something for me?"
And I didn't have anything.
So I run around, and I find a shirt.
He's listed in the top ten wealthiest artists
in the world right now.
Most of the artwork that brings the big money
are the figural pieces, the pieces he does in resin,
APPRAISER: It would be used primarily to, to hold beer.
Many different, uh, myths, if you like, surrounding the cover.
They say to stop things dropping in,
potentially to stop people from poisoning it.
Some of them have glass bottoms,
and the myth with the glass-bottoms ones is
that you could see somebody potentially attacking you.
So there are all these sort of, like, myths
surrounding the culture of drinking
in the 17th and 18th centuries.
It's about 60 years old.
And it's the collaboration of two different artists.
My father, Charles Chu,
painted the painting, and this is his inscription.
This larger, longer inscription
is done by a much more famous artist,
a guy named Zhang Daqian.
My father was a professor at Yale University.
He spent his career teaching Chinese language.
Zhang Daqian came to Yale University several times
to give lectures about painting.
One evening, Zhang Daqian
came to either my father's house
or another Chinese friend's house,
and they had the whole evening together,
painting pictures and telling stories, and I'm sure
it was one of my father's most wonderful evenings.
He, he came from China in 1945
and intended to go back
to China, but the Bamboo Curtain came down,
he was not able to go back, and so he was stranded here,
and this painting with Chinese colleagues
was really so meaningful to him as a way
to connect to the homeland that he
could not go back to.
Zhang Daqian would be like having
someone who sings in the church choir
invite Pavarotti to dinner. (laughs)
He had been invited to do an exhibit in France in 1956.
And as part of that exhibition,
people thought it would be a great idea
for the master of Chinese painting,
you know, the Picasso of the East,
Zhang Daqian, to meet Picasso,
the master artist of the West of the 20th century.
And the two of them met!
I gather this is part of the Chinese literati tradition.
Zhang Daqian reveled in this.
He had a beard, big, long, white beard, and wore robes,
and purposely wanted to bring about
that kind of association with the literati,
and the literati were these people who were,
in our parlance would be Renaissance men,
who could, who mastered all the arts
and just could have wonderful conversations
and banter back and forth over an evening,
and then create a work of art that was unique
for that moment. Yeah.
And that was what
this is, and so Zhang Daqian, in the midst of this,
decides to write something,
and that's what the calligraphy is.
But the way the calligraphy
is done, some of this is a little bit opaque.
Okay. It's a little hard to read some of the characters.
We can glean from it the meaning,
which essentially is, what he was saying that,
there is this wonderful fusion, he calls it "physick,"
between the brushwork, the subject matter,
and the way that all the thought that went to it
is all brought together, and it has created this unique,
beautiful work of art
from this time that we've gathered together.
What I hear was that he was looking
at your dad as not somebody who was just this guy
who is wanting to come visit the master,
but as somebody who was an equal.
That's wonderful to hear.
Uh, I'm just so excited and,
gosh, I'm just touched.
One of the challenges is that your dad was a great artist.
It's just that he did not
enter the commercial realm. Exactly, exactly.
And in terms of an auction sale,
no one can predict what this will do.
And I would say that somewhere between
$10,000 and $20,000
would be a reasonable estimate for this.
I would think for insurance purposes,
somewhere in the $20,000 range.
Well, thank you so much for that information.
PEÑA: In 1994, the Long Hill Estate became the property
of the City of Middletown for the price of $1 million,
and an interest in restoring the house and grounds grew.
Since 1996, the Friends of Long Hill Estate
have promoted this historic park and mansion's use
as a public and community resource.
WOMAN: This was my aunt's.
She recently passed away,
and I was helping my cousin go through some of her belongings,
and she had seen this and said, "I thought immediately of you.
"Because it's just an oddity,
and I know your jewelry, you like oddities."
I did a little bit, and it wasn't quite clear.
You know, you look on the internet
and you get six different answers.
One said that it was a Mexican artisan, I believe,
but I don't know if it's right.
Interesting, Mexican. Yeah.
You're right about that. Ooh!
But, um, it's not made by a Mexican. Okay.
The, the... And it's not made
by a "craftsman" per se.
It's a craftswoman. Ooh!
Born in San Francisco, her name's
Margot van Voorhies Carr.
Her father dies young,
she survives the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. Oh, wow.
Her mother is brutally murdered. Hm.
And then she goes through a divorce.
So she gets out of Dodge, as they say,
and she heads down to Mexico for a vacation.
She meets this young fella, Don Antonio Castillo,
who just happens to be a silversmith. Ah.
And he talks her into going down to Taxco.
Taxco is the hub of silver jewelry manufacturers in Mexico.
She goes down there,
and she ends up working with him,
and she becomes the top designer.
Ten years after she meets him... Mm-hmm.
...so now it's 1948, she divorces him.
She decides to open her own workshop,
and she becomes
Margot de Taxco.
She employs 24 silversmiths.
Interesting enough, they're all men.
Hm! But she has 12 women
doing nothing but this type of enamel.
She liked to make suites.
This would have had a pair of matching earrings,
it would have had a bracelet. Okay.
The earrings would have been
Oh, my God. (chuckles) Yeah.
You said you liked stuff... Friday the 13th. (chuckles)
They put the enamel on almost like a watercolor,
with a paintbrush,
and then it's put into the kiln, in the oven,
and that's where it gets hard, like glass.
So the patterns you see underneath the enamel.
Mm-hm? These little dots?
Yes. That's all done in the metal
when they stamped out the pieces.
It lays on the necks fabulously. Mm-hmm.
So you'll see
there's rivets behind each one. Yes.
And it's articulated.
It moves. Mm-hmm.
Like a snake should. Right.
But this lets it lay on the neck
not only right this way-- you see how you get that curve
going over the shoulder?
Unfortunately, in the '70s, financial reasons, health,
she actually closes the shop,
but she was in business that long.
This was her signature piece.
In an auction today, I would say
$1,500 to $2,000.
Oh, really! Very nice. Retail could be
Have you worn it? Yes, I wore it once.
It fits wonderfully, it's an amazing piece to wear.
People look at you, it's a little strange! (laughs)
But it's an amazing piece to wear.
It is amazing, it's, it's beautiful.
When you brought these in today,
I almost jumped out of my own shoes.
You bring us a pair of 1986 Converse Weapon shoes
worn by Larry Bird in the '86 finals,
and a pair that he wore in the '87 finals signed by him.
How did you get these?
The 1986 shoes, um, I got them
at an auction from 2013.
Mm-hmm. They were advertised as, uh,
Larry Bird 1986 NBA Finals shoes,
and they even came with a picture
from game three of the finals.
It started me looking at other
photos from that series,
and I was able to match them up to game three,
game five, which is the Ralph Sampson fight,
and then game six,
the concluding game from the NBA Finals.
According to the provenance,
Larry donated them to a, to a charity auction
at the conclusion of the 1986 NBA Finals.
And the '87 sneaks?
Those were actually advertised
as Larry Bird-signed game shoes.
They weren't documented to a particular season or series.
But when I saw the scuffs on the shoes,
I had such a fun time matching up those shoes,
I said, "I bet I can match up
these shoes," and then, after going through photos,
I was able to match them up to, uh, game four
from the 1987 NBA Finals.
That's the one where Larry put the Celtics ahead
at the end with a three-pointer,
but then Magic Johnson scored the, scored the winning shot
on the junior skyhook, and then I was able to further match them
to game six of the, of the 1987 NBA Finals,
and that's one where the,
where the Lakers won the whole thing. Yes, they did.
So what made you decide to put on your Hardy Boys detective hat
here to do this extra work?
I grew up in the Boston area.
My mother used to take my brother and I,
uh, to a small college
outside of Boston to watch the Celtics practice.
Hellenic. Hellenic College.
Hm. This is before the big sports craze.
So it would really be my brother and I waiting in the parking lot
and having the players show up.
We were actually invited to go in
and watch the Celtics practice a few times,
and I actually got to go back to the locker room, too,
and as a kid, standing in front of Larry Bird's locker,
with a pile of shoes up to here,
of course, I asked him for a pair,
and the answer was no.
But I had to wait 30-plus years to get a pair.
But it was worth it.
When you're a little kid, how does Larry Bird
look to you? He looks, he looks like this, you know?
You're really kind of looking up to him. (laughs)
It's surprising how big he is.
Six-nine. You lose... Six-nine-- you lose perspective on TV.
He was a big deal back then to boys growing up in Boston.
He's not called Larry Legend for nothing.
Larry came from French Lick, Indiana.
He resuscitated the Celtics.
The Celtics back in 1979 were in a horrible slump.
They'd gone 29-52, they were terrible.
He turned them around in 1980.
They had 61 wins and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And then the following year, they drafted McHale
and they traded for Parish, got them in the door,
and they won the NBA championship.
Just two years removed from a horrendous record. Yeah.
Bird, of course, was the finals' MVP.
So now we fast-forward through the 1980s.
Not only did he resuscitate the Celtics,
taking them to the finals again in '84, and '85, '86, '87,
but he and Magic Johnson literally resuscitated the NBA.
The NBA up until that point
was showing the NBA Finals on tape delay at 11:30 at night.
You couldn't find them.
With these two, everyone all of a sudden
wanted to watch Larry and Magic.
And Larry was one of the greatest players ever.
12 time All-Star in 13 years.
First ballot Hall-of-Famer.
the sneaker market has gone bonkers
over the last couple of years.
Now, a lot of times you hear on the "Roadshow"
that we talk about condition, right?
And it's about the better condition? Yeah.
But not when it comes to game-used memorabilia.
You want to be able to see
the wear, you want to be able to, what you've done,
match the wear on the shoes... Yeah.
...to the actual photo, so you can see
that they were used by that player.
And your homework is going to do
very well for you in value.
What'd you pay for these? I paid $5,000.
I would put a conservative auction estimate
at $20,000 to $25,000 on these. Oh.
Oh, that's not $5,000, oh, wow. (laughs)
It's not $5,000. Yeah.
I'd insure them at least
How much did you pay for the Bird 1986 Finals-worn shoes?
I paid $14,000 for those.
These, because again, he wore them in the finals, they won.
It's considered one of the greatest teams,
his last MVP year.
These, I'd put $50,000 to $75,000 on these.
(whispers): $75,000, wow.
(aloud): Oh, I didn't expect that for those.
I kn... I thought they were good, but I didn't...
Oh. That's cool, okay. (laughs)
I'd put $150,000 for an insurance value.
That's surprising to me, Lee, I, I didn't think it was that much.
Got some big shoes here to fill.
Yeah, big shoes to fill, right.
Thank you for bringing them in.
Thank you for sharing the legend of Larry Bird
up close and personally with us today. Thanks for having me.
Wow. Thank you.
PEÑA: And now it's time for the Roadshow Feedback Booth.
I knew it was a special item,
but I had no idea
of its value, even though I knew
that it was made by a famous potter.
So it was a real, uh, eye-opener to, um, to actually realize
it was worth so much.
Before the appraisal,
it was kind of just a black blob.
But now it's a beautiful piece of art. (chuckles)
I think we're going to keep it in the family.
Um, we want to make sure our kids know the history behind it,
and hopefully it is something
that they'll come to appreciate, as well.
Yeah, they're going to fight over it as long as we have.
I think when we heard the value,
we were relieved to know that we didn't overpay
as much as we thought we did.
WOMAN: When they told me what these were worth,
I was shocked, didn't expect it.
Yep. (both laugh)
Well, before the appraisal,
I, I liked my watch.
Now I really love my watch.
WOMAN: I think I was surprised
that people actually drank beer out of this,
which I have not yet done,
but there's still opportunity.
When I heard the value of the treasure,
this, uh, George Harrison letter, um,
I was, of course, surprised, and I had made a vow to myself,
because we're longtime watchers of the show,
that I was going to say something other than, "Wow."
Which is, which is what seems to be the default response.
And of course I said, "Wow."
PEÑA: Thanks for watching.
See you next time on "Antiques Roadshow."