Celebrate 500 episodes of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW with a multi-platform special that follows the pivotal stories behind some of the series’ most extraordinary finds through all-new interviews with longtime appraisers, guests, antique experts and more!
MARK WALBERG: Ever wonder what happened
to some of "Roadshow's" favorite treasures
after our cameras left town?
When we first saw you,
my heart started going like this.
AUCTIONEER (bangs gavel): Sold.
WALBERG: Find out in this 500th episode special,
"Antiques Roadshow" has made some incredible discoveries
over our 24 seasons on the road.
APPRAISER: There's, like, one of four known in America.
You have one of them.
WALBERG: From our first-ever
tag-sale triumph in Secaucus...
The lady was asking $30.
She said, "You can, you can have it for $25," and I took it.
WALBERG: ...to a touching national treasure in Tucson.
When you walked in with this, I just about died.
I can't believe this.
WALBERG: And lots in between.
This is one incredible watch.
Oh, my gosh.
WALBERG: In this special episode,
"Antiques Roadshow" reconnects with experts...
We just couldn't believe it.
Here we are
with an absolute masterpiece.
WALBERG: ...and owners...
To this day, I can't really comprehend
that much money for a screen.
WALBERG: ...to check in on some of our most extraordinary finds.
WALBERG: When "Antiques Roadshow" first started traveling the country,
most of us had no idea a single piece of furniture
could be worth six figures or more.
Leigh and Leslie Keno were still relative unknowns, as well,
but luckily, they turned up to educate us all
about the value of one delicate and dirty card table
we found in Secaucus.
LEIGH KENO: So it was 1997,
and there we were, in Secaucus, New Jersey,
and it's the last place that I would expect
to see what we, what we saw,
upside down, on a cart being rolled in by a lady,
a schoolteacher from New Jersey named Claire.
I went to a garage sale.
How long ago was this, Claire?
This was about 30 years ago.
As we moved into our new house,
I needed a diminutive table.
And I thought, "I think I know the shape and size."
She had gotten it one day when she was antiquing with a friend.
The friend actually said, "You know, don't buy that.
It's, it's so wobbly, it won't hold a lamp."
So she was actually considering not buying it.
When I saw this out in the yard,
I thought, "This is a great thing."
It was pitch-black, it was a moldy mess,
and the lady was asking $30, so... LESLIE KENO: $30.
I said, "But I only have $25."
I said, "That's all I have."
She said, "You can, you can have it for $25," and I took it.
LESLIE KENO: What you brought in today here
is a Federal inlay mahogany demilune card table
made by John and Thomas Seymour,
very distinguished cabinetmakers
who made some of the most distinguished
and fine furniture
for the very wealthiest families
in Boston at the time.
We're very fortunate...
You are, in fact, to have...
the actual label... Yes.
Of "John Seymour and Son." Seymour and Son.
LEIGH KENO (voiceover): There it was, "John Seymour and Son,
Creek Square, Boston."
And that's all we needed to see.
And, my God, we just, we just looked at each other,
we just couldn't believe it.
Here we are with an absolute masterpiece.
I mean, one of the greatest pieces of Federal furniture
I've ever seen.
This table, everything about it,
even if it didn't have the label,
says John and Thomas Seymour. Really?
The quality is incredible,
Did you try to clean it at any point?
Uh, linseed oil and turpentine.
I didn't even... I didn't refinish it.
I wiped it off, and then I saw this.
And I took the dirt all off.
Well, Claire, luckily,
you weren't a really great refinisher,
because if you were... I am, I am.
No, I'm joking.
She kind of looked at me, like, "What do you mean,
I'm not a good cleaner?"
You know... you know.
And I said, "Well,
because you didn't take all the grunge off."
If you'd cleaned it a lot more,
you have taken a lot off the value, you know? I figured.
Yeah. So, luckily, it still has a nice old color.
See all the, all the dirt down at the bottom?
I love that, I love that. It's left, yeah.
I just want to say, when, when we first saw you,
my heart started going like this.
Feel it, you can feel it right now.
(imitating heart thumping)
Mine did, too, yeah.
Leslie, Leslie looked over and said,
"Leigh, is that what I think it is?"
And as we got closer, you had this upside down.
Yes. And we saw that label.
LESLIE KENO: We saw the label.
LEIGH KENO: And Les went up to the label,
and went, and he said, "It isn't, is it?"
And I said, "It is!" LESLIE KENO: It really is.
LEIGH KENO: So it's really one of the most exciting moments
I've ever had. Really?
Les? Yeah, absolutely.
One of the most exciting pieces I've ever seen.
And just to be here with this. Yes.
Now, do you have an idea of what it's worth?
Or have you gotten some idea?
Oh, probably $20,000.
Now, I just said that. LEIGH KENO: $20,000.
I think the estimate we're going to give you
is, is going to top that. Oh, yes.
I think Les and I both feel
that this piece in the open marketplace,
on a good day,
would be in the range of about $200,000 to $225,000.
Now... $225,000. $200,000 to $225,000.
Now, I want to say on a very, on a very good day, Are you going to write it down?
with everything in place,
it has the possibility of bringing $300,000.
I don't want to get your hopes up that much.
But $225,000 isn't bad, I guess, right?
It's not bad!
Claire's mouth, I mean, it was just this,
it was like...
It was, it was, it was priceless.
A really good policy on the "Roadshow" is that,
is that, of course, we don't exchange business information
with the person whose item we've just appraised.
And we said goodbye to Claire that day,
and, and I never thought I'd see her again, really.
I think was within weeks after the appraisal,
she actually looked up my brother's number
and called him at Sotheby's.
And then the table went to auction.
I remember that day well.
It was January of 1998.
AUCTIONEER: Lot number 1440,
the Federal mahogany card table,
label by John Seymour and Son.
LEIGH KENO: I was sitting in the front row
and the "Roadshow" cameras were to the far left,
and Claire was also in the front row, way to the left,
and it was pretty much every collector of American furniture
in the audience that day.
So the feeling was one of excitement.
The bidding started and, it started at $200,000, $220,000,
$240,000, $260,000, $280,000, $300,000.
And once it got to $300,000, it was...
I, I remember just looking down at Claire,
and she was already just, just, you know,
she had that look on her face like she did at the Roadshow.
But the number kept going up.
AUCTIONEER: $400,000. MAN: Ten.
$410,000, $420,000. 30.
$430,000, $440,000. 50.
$450,000, $460,000. 70.
I have $490,000, and it's still on the right side.
And down it goes,
where you called it at $490,000.
(bangs gavel): Sold for $490,000...
(audience applauding, Claire laughing)
WOMAN: Very good job.
Isn't that neat?
Wow, that's neat, yeah.
The buyer's premium-- in other words, the, the "BP"--
is the amount added on by the auction house
to the hammer price,
and it's paid for by the buyer.
Including the BP, the selling price ended up being $541,000,
which was a world record for Federal furniture at the time.
So it's 21 years later.
So what's it worth today?
It's, it's a tough question,
because the very, very best of American furniture
has, has kept its value more than the middle-level stuff,
and the brown wood has gone down.
The thing about this card table is that because it's rare,
because it's labeled,
because it has an original finish,
and because it was made
by probably the greatest Federal furniture makers
in New England at the time,
is it worth $350,000, you know?
Is it worth $300,000?
And I think there is someone that would, that would pay that.
I don't know.
WALBERG: And now to a story about twins of a different kind.
Folk art fanatic Allan Katz reveals he's the owner of a mate
to the adorable child swan sleigh
we appraised in Milwaukee in Season 11.
KATZ: This story about the swan sled
is really a story of, "What are the odds?"
Here we are in my home.
This is one of the cornerstones of our collection,
and it is the mate to the one
that was brought in to Milwaukee to be appraised
by this lovely lady.
WOMAN: I got it at a rummage sale about seven years ago,
and I paid about $35 for it.
KATZ: What we have here is a child's sled.
30 years ago,
we would have said it's unique.
But about 20 years ago, another sled, same form,
It was literally surreal.
I don't want to get too emotional here,
but it was literally a surreal experience
that this could possibly be happening.
When it comes to any appraiser, in any category,
you absorb ten, 15, 20 things instantly.
It's called blinking.
And you take in all these, these objects.
So you look at the swan sled.
And having lived with it for as long as I did
prior to the Milwaukee show,
I know how the feathers are carved.
I know the unmistakable metal brace
that's brought up the side of the wing.
Same exact curved metal that's in the other sled.
This indentation here,
the way the wing is scooped out to give it dimension,
those things are identical.
After that, it's click-click-click.
Everything just falls into place.
We don't know who the maker is,
but we know it's by the same maker.
I bought this in the mid-'80s.
At that time I was single,
and I was known for really paying a strong price,
because I wanted people to bring me things.
I wanted to see a lot, I wanted to touch a lot.
It was part of my learning process.
A dealer who knew me purchased this
from a dealer from Texas.
To the best of my knowledge,
he paid $5,000 for this sled.
He came back to Connecticut,
and he put a price on this that was very hard to take.
It was $40,000.
And I paid it.
It was a choke price,
but I didn't regret it-- I've never regretted it.
It's the way the collecting world, the art world, works,
because you're willing to pay it,
you write the check.
Had I had a wife and a bunch of kids,
I'm not sure that this swan sled would be here right now.
I would value it at somewhere around $20,000 to $30,000.
Oh, my gosh.
I could just cry.
I had no idea.
Wow. It's a wonderful, wonderful object.
So I just thank you today for bringing it in
to "Antiques Roadshow"
and sharing it with us. Well...
Well, thank you so much.
I just never... had an idea
it would be anything like that.
I would never, ever even consider selling it.
I mean, this is something I'll pass down to my grandchildren.
Flash-forward a couple of months,
and she did reach out to me, as sometimes that does happen.
And she asked me to give her an insurance letter,
which I did supply to her.
And then we really had no communication
till after the episode aired.
And I find that to be the case sometimes, that the guest,
they do like to have it in their possession
when the episode actually airs,
and have people over, family over,
watching this episode.
And then there seems to be a release,
that when you have something of this value,
and the money could be put to good use,
that, "We might explore selling it."
So she did call me after the episode.
She said, "Are you really serious about that price?
"And my grandchildren are going to college,
"and we could use some money for the college fund.
"So would it be possible
for you to represent the sled and sell it?"
And I said, "Absolutely."
I sold it to a private collector
and can't disclose the exact price,
but it's good to say that it was north of $50,000.
Ours is approximately twice the size.
This really resonates as a major piece of folk sculpture.
So in terms of trying to value our piece,
I would say this would be north of $100,000.
And it's just another great story
for what folk art can do
and what "Roadshow" has done for people.
WALBERG: Just like the tale of two sleighs,
the Buffalo Bill Wild West set
that Noel Barrett appraised in Providence in season ten
illustrates the adage that you should always buy what you love.
I've been with the "Roadshow" for...
Oh, it's 24 years now, and...
It's been a long haul,
but it's been a lot of fun,
and I've seen a lot of great stuff.
I get a lot of questions.
One of the very, very first questions is,
"What's the best thing you've found on the 'Roadshow'?"
And I go right to Providence.
You've watched the "Roadshow."
You know how excited we get when we find original boxes.
I've noticed, yeah.
In 2005, I saw the "Antiques Roadshow"
was coming to Providence.
And I had this toy soldier set that I'd bought 20 years before.
And I decided, "Let me lug it down there
and see what the story is with it."
Sitting there at the table.
This guy walks in, wooden box about this big.
He opened it up, and... wow.
What's in this box here that says, "Buffalo Bill"?
I guess it was
the Buffalo Bill Wild West Cowboy Show.
I bought it at an auction locally here,
about 21 years ago.
My wife was away for the weekend,
and I went to the auction.
I'd never been to one before in my life.
I ended up with this.
Your wife wasn't with you, so you could go wild. No.
If she'd have been with me, I wouldn't have gone.
And what did you pay for it?
I think I paid about $400 for it.
I thought it was a lot of money,
but, like a fool and his money, I had it my pocket,
and I said, "I like it.
I'll just buy it, and let the devil take the hindmost."
And then that was that.
It's made by the Heyde company.
Heyde was the pre-eminent German manufacturer.
And this is something they made around 1903.
What's extraordinary is, is the large set.
What's doubly extraordinary is, no one played with it.
It was almost untouched by human hands, frankly.
I almost didn't want to go in there and touch it.
When you see it tied in with the little original red string,
and had these little paper cushions under each piece.
It was just unbelievable.
I've never seen anything like it.
I did some research
and talked to one dealer
who had sold a similar set a few years back--
not in this condition--
for, in the range of $14,000.
This set, on today's market, I think at auction could bring
in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $20,000.
Well, my father-in-law came in for a visit and looked at it.
He looked at it and said, "What did you pay for it?"
When I told him, he made one of those faces.
Now, maybe, um,
I did know what I was doing 21 years ago.
MAN (voiceover): I never take the set out of the house.
I have pictures of it.
And when I go to conventions and shows,
people who collect the same stuff,
I'll show it to them.
To this day,
it's the first thing I ever bought,
and it is also the best.
It's, it's like, people... who collect this stuff,
sometimes they say, "Oh,
you're the guy who's got that set never been out of the box?"
Like, "Oh, yeah."
As far as I know,
there's never been another set show up.
At auction today, I would have every expectation
of it bringing at least $30,000 to $40,000,
and, under the right circumstances,
it could possibly go to $50,000.
WALBERG: It's safe to say that guest is never parting
with his precious Buffalo Bill set.
We've learned that most people we meet on "Roadshow"
hold on to their treasures, no matter what they're worth.
But not everyone.
KEN FARMER (voiceover): In Miami in 2001,
I think I was at the dec. arts table.
And another appraiser, Carl Crossman, was at folk art.
And he walked across the floor
and put this amazing piece of Southern pottery
in front of me.
And because I knew about Southern pottery,
he and I did the spot together.
Basically, this is
an alkaline-glazed piece of pottery,
all done by hand, thrown and formed by hand.
It's stoneware, and this is a presentation piece.
It's a face jug.
When I looked at that piece of pottery, I knew it was great,
and I wasn't sure where it was from.
And at that time, in the early 2000s,
the level of scholarship in Southern decorative arts
was, was on the, the rise.
a little hat on here.
He's got a very bold face.
Nice jacket-- Western-style jacket,
like a sea captain would have--
buttons, little area down here.
And then these little buttons here,
which would be the gold buttons
on a ship's captain's coat,
actually say "Lehman" in them, L-E-H-M-A-N.
And you made some calls,
but we haven't been able to figure out who that is.
Much later, we found out
that it was a potter named John Lehman from Alabama.
CROSSMAN: Where was this jug before you brought it in?
It was in a box of Styrofoam in a room
to keep my cats from peeing on it.
FARMER: At that point, I'm almost laying on the floor, laughing.
And Carl looks like a deer caught in the headlights.
CROSSMAN: This is perhaps one of the most boldly molded
and most stylish jugs that we've ever seen.
So, Ken, what do you think?
I think it's great.
I think it's a wonderful piece of pottery.
It's got lots of character.
And the price, we're saying
$25,000 to $35,000.
Wow, it's amazing. What you expected?
No, of course not. (both laughing)
She writes me when I get back home
and wants an appraisal.
And after doing a little bit more research,
I found out that there was one very similar to that
that was sold to a museum in Atlanta in a private sale,
it was around $75,000 or $80,000.
And once she heard that, she decided to sell it,
because obviously, if the cat didn't like it,
she might as well get it out of the house.
And we, we took it to Radford, Virginia,
and sold it for $83,000.
As far as I know, it's still in the home
of the person that bought it.
A private collector from Birmingham, Alabama,
bought, bought the one we sold.
About five or six years ago,
this guy from Alabama calls me up,
and he has another one of these John Lehman...
what we call a face jug,
and he had been offered over $100,000 for it.
And he, he asked me if I could get more money for it.
I said, "If I were you, I would take their money
and bake, bake him a cake."
And I heard later that it was close to $125,000.
I truly believe
that if one of these came for sale today,
that's what it would probably bring
in the hands of a good dealer.
When we flip the watch over...
WALBERG: Although appraiser Paul Hartquist was working
his first-ever "Antiques Roadshow" in season nine,
you could say his timing was perfect,
because he got the chance
to find a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe
that still the best pocket watch he's ever held in his hands.
When I first opened the box to look at the Patek Philippe,
it's a good thing I was sitting down,
because my knees started to get weak,
and I started to shake a little bit.
This watch was handed down from my great-grandfather.
He was the owner of the "St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch"
back in 1914
when he received this watch.
It's manufactured by the Patek Philippe Company
of Geneva, Switzerland.
This is a photocopy of the original warranty,
depicting some of the complications of this watch.
The front of the watch has the hour and minute hand
and the second hand. Mm-hmm.
It also has a split chronograph,
so you can time two things.
It also has a minute register for the chronograph.
When we flip the watch over,
you have the day, the date, and the month,
along with the moon phase.
It's also a perpetual calendar,
which adjusts for leap year. I'll be damned.
It's a very complicated watch. Mmm.
In excellent, excellent condition.
This watch at auction,
I suspect, would bring close to a quarter-million dollars.
(laughs): No. Yes.
This is one incredible watch.
I've never held a watch like this in my hand.
What? You're kidding.
That is one incredible watch.
It can't be. Yes.
That is an incredible watch.
Oh, I can't believe it.
Until today, it is still the best watch
I've ever held in my hands.
The owner decided to sell it.
We contacted Patek Philippe.
They went through their archives,
researching the serial number,
and then researching similar watches that may exist.
I thought there would be a run of, perhaps, five watches.
However, we determined that there was only one watch made.
It is a unique watch made by Patek Philippe.
I put him in touch with Sotheby's,
and the auction took place in 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland.
I appraised the watch at $250,000.
Sotheby's appraised it at slightly more than that.
I believe everyone was surprised when it brought $1.54 million,
including the buyer's premium.
I'm not sure who purchased it,
but I do know that it is on display
in the Patek Philippe Museum.
I've spoken with several other watch experts,
and that watch today,
we estimate is worth
at least two and possibly three million dollars.
WALBERG: "Roadshow's" appraisers are incredibly knowledgeable,
but they'll be the first to admit
they don't know everything.
This is the fascinating story of how Lark Mason,
an internationally recognized expert in Asian works of art,
learned something very surprising
after the 2005 Bismarck show.
Toward the end of the day, a lady came in
with a screen, folded up,
that was not in very good condition,
opened it up, and my jaw dropped.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
It was extraordinary.
Hi-- tell me about this.
DEE: My husband had this when we were first going together.
DEE: It didn't it in our home anymore.
And so we stored it.
And quite regretfully, it got damaged.
And I want to know if it's worth any value
or if it's something to just kind of discard
and say, "Too bad, it's gone."
Now, Chinese painting is done in a narrative fashion,
so you have the same figure represented in different poses.
And this is the figure of a woman named Xiwangmu.
She was sort of the leader of the Immortals,
which is this heavenly band of deities
in Chinese mythology.
Really? And they lived on an island
which is the island of the Immortals.
We know that it has eight panels.
First question I have is
whether it's supposed to have more than eight or not.
If you look at the far side over there,
you'll see there's a cloud border.
MASON: At the border that's behind us here,
you'll see that there isn't.
Anyone that could have afforded this screen
lived in a tremendously large compound.
This was something that was meant
for the very highest tiers of Chinese society.
I think that the value of this has to be
in the $30,000 to $50,000 range,
as it is now. (laughs): Oh, my goodness.
And I, I was wondering whether I should...
What were you wondering you're going to do?
DEE: I didn't know whether it should be saved or not.
Oh, my goodness.
MASON: We ended up speaking with Dee.
She'd said, "I'd like to sell this."
I said, "I've got to get rid of this screen.
It's just sitting there."
And my daughter said, "Well, that's not hard."
And she got on her computer,
and she emailed him, and a half-hour later, Lark called.
We prepared it for auction,
promoted it to all of our Chinese clients,
and had it advertised everywhere.
And everybody is going,
"What a terrific Chinese screen."
And then the auction day comes.
The day of the auction,
I was on the way to a doctor's appointment,
and my daughter texts, "$60,000."
And I thought, "Wow."
And I'm at this appointment,
and my phone's keeping, going bing, bing, bing.
And I said, "My kids must be trying to figure out
how they can get that money away from me and split it."
And after I was done,
I got ahold of my daughter, and she says,
"Come on, it's still going on!"
People that are participating are Chinese,
and they, they start bidding enthusiastically.
And then they drop out,
and they're supplanted by all these bidders from Korea.
When it got higher, my son had text.
He was in California, and he had text,
"Mom gave Lark a hug at $30,000 to $50,000.
What's she going to do now?"
And it was just a joke, it was just a joke, Lark.
It passed $100,000, and then it was in a race car to $200,000.
And then $300,000 came and went.
And then we're over $400,000,
and we're going, "Oh, my gosh."
It kept going and ended up over $540,000,
and we were really puzzled.
"Why were the Korean bidders so interested
"in this partial screen?
Something's... we're missing something."
It was the realization that it was actually not incomplete.
It was just not a Chinese screen.
It was a Korean screen.
And it was a Korean screen
that was purposely created to copy a Chinese screen.
This is an important, important object.
It really shocked me,
it shocked the audience of Chinese bidders
who were bidding,
it shocked my staff, it shocked...
All of us were surprised.
I just, to this day, I can't really comprehend
that much money for a screen.
Particularly a moldy screen sitting in a basement.
A moldy one that I was going to burn.
There's guns that are works of art.
WALBERG: We know Rafael Eledge best for his folksy enthusiasm
about Civil War artifacts.
This is the kind, when you see it,
you say, "Ring-a-ding-ding, baby, it's on."
WALBERG: But in Boston in 2012,
he had the chance to appraise something
even older and rarer.
ELEDGE: At the end of the day,
this gentleman walks up with a cartridge pouch
thrown over his shoulder.
And I look at it, and I thought,
"Well, that's just a reproduction,"
and he takes it off, very roughly,
and he throws it-- literally throws it--
on the table.
I'm, like, "That can't be."
And I got to look and I'm, like, "Oh, my goodness, it is."
And I start talking to the guy,
and he has no idea what he has.
It's what I believe is a Civil War cartridge pouch.
Has a regimental number on it.
I don't know if that's a New York regiment
or a Massachusetts regiment. Where'd you get it at?
It was in the house that my parents bought
down on the Cape
at the very end of World War II,
and there were a bunch of things
in the attic, and, uh...
That's where it came from.
Would you be surprised if I told you
it's a little earlier than Civil War?
Yeah, I would be.
Well, in the century before then,
we had some guys come over from England
and they wore red coats,
and if you noticed, in the center of the plate,
it's got some red.
I noticed that.
That's because this is an original
Revolutionary War soldier's cartridge box.
And it's not 43rd New York
and it's not 43rd Massachusetts.
43rd Light Infantry. It is the 43rd Light Infantry
of the British soldiers from the Revolutionary War.
ELEDGE (voiceover): On the outside of the box, it had, to this point,
the only known non-excavated example of that plate,
and the plate says, "43rd Light Infantry."
That was strictly
the way the British would refer to that regiment.
They were not only in Boston,
they were at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Yes.
They were at the Battle of Lexington. Yes.
And we don't know for sure,
but it's quite possibly that this cartridge box
that's sitting between us today
was at those battles.
I found out later that the box was probably made
just a little bit after Bunker Hill,
but it could have been at Yorktown.
And a lot of times when we do an appraisal,
after the fact, we learn things that we didn't know.
We know a lot, but we don't know it all.
I had people inform me that there were two kinds
of cartridge boxes for the British.
They had a belly-mounted cartridge box,
and the one that goes over the shoulder like this one
is known as a cartridge pouch.
A lot of times over the years, when we've had somebody bring in
a cartridge box or cartridge pouch
that they think is Civil War,
it's either a re-enactor's piece
or it's post-war, and worth a lot less.
So usually, we have to tell them not so happy news.
This one was wonderful, because I got to tell him
not only was it a lot better than what he had thought it was,
it was spectacular.
There aren't enough superlatives for this box.
Really? It's got the original
buffed-leather shoulder sling.
The box is solid as a rock.
It's just flawless.
It's got the original closure tab still present.
It's got the original wooden block on the inside of it. Right.
It's got the original finial on the bottom--
the metal finial. Right, right.
And finding all of those things together
is like lining up all of those numbers on a lottery ticket.
It doesn't happen, but once every so often.
If this was a Civil War cartridge box,
with the sling and everything,
you're talking around $1,000, maybe $1,500
if it's really pretty.
There's a whole different ball game with this one.
This one, on today's market, would retail
for between $20,000 and $25,000.
I mean, it's amazing that it's Revolutionary War.
We get done, we go back over,
and I always make it a point to say hi to the person
and to thank him for being there.
And he's, like, "Well, that was really neat."
And he throws it back over his shoulder,
and he be-bops out of the room,
and I haven't heard a word from him.
I'm hoping that he's not wearing that box
around the Cape somewhere today.
I tell the guy what I think is a conservative value.
I wasn't a very smart man, because after the fact,
I realized it's the only one.
If you want one, you have to buy that one.
In 2019, I think without a doubt,
it would bring at least $50,000,
and it wouldn't surprise me at all
if it didn't bring twice that
if the right people were in the room.
WALBERG: "Roadshow's" visit to Birmingham, Alabama,
in season 19
saw expert Colleene Fesko's salute
to a stunning portrait by Frederic Remington,
famed artist of the American West,
a discovery that epitomizes the phrase "museum-quality."
FESKO: This man came up to the desk,
and he had this painting in a cardboard box,
and he kept pulling it up and down,
and I noticed that there was a foam core in front of it.
And every time he pulled it up,
I would see more and more of that magnificent sky.
Finally, I said, "Get the painting out of that box
"and stop putting it back in and out of that box
before you get it damaged."
And he did.
And it was... more than I could have dreamed of.
It was a fabulous,
late-19th-century Remington portrait.
You're the first for me.
I've never reprimanded a guest
for manhandling a painting before.
I'm glad you're taking care of my painting.
(laughs) I'm trying to.
So what could you tell me
about this lovely Frederic Remington portrait?
Well, Lea Febiger was my great-grandfather.
That is this gentleman.
This is this gentleman. Yes.
And he was a friend of Frederic Remington,
who, in 1896, painted his portrait
as part of a military series in El Paso. Mm-hmm.
And he was captain in the infantry. He was a captain.
Yes. Right, infantry.
As you know, Frederic Remington
is one of the most important Western artists
of the turn of the century.
He didn't have a tremendous amount of training,
but a natural instinct
for the vitality and the style of the West.
And this portrait is a terrific example of that.
It also comes with this letter from Remington
to your great-grandfather. Right.
FESKO (voiceover): The letter was Remington
speaking to the sitter,
and how much he enjoyed their time together.
And there was a lot of meat in it,
which is, which is really what you want.
There was no anonymity to it at all.
It was personal for Remington,
and it was personal for the sitter.
When Remington died--
and I think people will be surprised that he died
in his mid-40s,
from a appendix operation that didn't go well--
um, when he died,
this painting was in his home in upstate New York.
His home and studio in upstate New York
became the Frederic Remington Museum,
and the family of the sitter
tracked down the painting to be there.
And they went to the museum and said, you know,
"Hey, this is our, this is our folk.
We, we would really love to have this painting."
The family came into negotiations with the group,
and in the late 1940s, were able to get the painting.
Now, you had this appraised a while ago, correct?
And what was the value at that point?
It was in 1960s, and the value was $7,500.
Well, the years have been kind to you and Frederic Remington.
The letter itself is worth probably about $2,000.
He really is an iconic figure in American painting,
and this piece
with the very dashing figure, the beautiful shadow,
the abstracted landscape behind.
It's really a wonderful example of Remington's work
at the turn of the century.
And this piece, together with the letter,
would be something
that I would value at auction between $600,000...
(laughing): Oh, my goodness.
I was hoping I would be wildly exuberant-- I am.
And certainly for insurance, at, in excess of $800,000.
FESKO (voiceover): I think he knew it was valuable.
I think he may have been thinking
around $30,000, $25,000-$30,000,
but not, not that level.
I can only speculate that he came home,
told his family what it's worth, and they said...
(laughing): "Get it out of here."
Because something like that
is subject to any sort of mayhem in a private home.
Um... and it's much safer in a museum.
He had the painting restored, professionally restored,
and it's now in the Birmingham, Alabama, museum
for everyone to see.
The market has gone up for Western art,
and the market is still very strong for Remington.
And, in today's market, in 2019, I would value the painting
between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
WALBERG: If Frederic Remington is almost a household name,
John Lennon certainly is.
And collectibles expert Laura Woolley
enjoyed being the bearer of good news
to a shocked Beatles fan in New York City in 2014.
He had absolutely no idea
what's happened to the market for this stuff.
So it was really fun for me to be able
to drop a giant price bomb on Ted.
I bought it at an auction about 27 years ago.
How much did you pay for it?
It started at $300, the bidding,
and I got it for $400.
We do see that there's
John Lennon and Yoko Ono's signatures on it,
with his little face that he would draw, with he and Yoko.
The more important thing about this piece
is not just the signatures.
It's the fact that we have this photo of it
sitting at their bed-in in 1969,
when they were protesting the Vietnam War and wanted peace.
They were going to have the bed-in in New York,
but because of his cannabis conviction,
he wasn't allowed back in the country.
So they decided to go up to Montreal. Mm-hmm.
And during these days there,
they had a number of guests come.
They had Timothy Leary, and Murray the K
is one of the people that came to visit. Mm-hmm.
So this is the sign hanging on the wall over here
saying that "Murray the K comes on Monday."
So the cool thing about those bed-in posters is,
they made all these wonderful things
to put up on the walls behind them,
because they knew the press was coming.
But then when they took them all down, he signed them all,
and they would put the little doodles on it.
And of course,
there's the little John Lennon and Yoko doodle
on this one, as well.
I would say, at auction,
conservatively, given the context on this,
they would probably put anywhere
between $50,000 and $75,000 on it.
I'm in a state of shock.
That's great news.
Thank you so much.
I saw your knees go out a little bit there for a second.
(laughing): They did, they did, Laura.
Good, I'm glad you held on.
I remember the moment I told him the price.
I saw his knees buckle a little bit.
He, um, just kind of dipped, and I thought,
"Man, this guy's going to hit the ground,"
which is amazing and terrible all at the same time.
I started in this business in 1997 at Sotheby's.
He, he purchased it at Sotheby's in 1987.
So it was really fun for me,
because this piece started at Sotheby's
ten years before I started working there.
But when I left that show,
I ran home and pulled my catalogue copy of that
to confirm that everything he said was true.
And it was right as rain.
It was all right there.
What I noticed is that Ted was, even in 1987,
he was quite lucky to have purchased this for $400,
because this was one of, I believe, seven pieces
that this publicist sold,
and they sold for $3,000 to $5,000 apiece.
But they had no photo of this in the catalogue.
So because of the fact
that no one could see what it looked like,
and they had to just go off of,
"It's a piece of paper and this is what it says,"
he picked it up for a steal.
I mean, he really got a great deal, even back then.
When I left the auction business,
I decided to really be just an appraiser.
I don't buy, sell, deal, auction myself.
I'm happy to assist and help, help people
find a good place to sell,
but I'm not the person to help sell a piece like this.
In 2015, a year after we did the appraisal with Ted,
he decided to sell the poster at auction.
He reached out to Heritage Auctions.
As you might predict,
pieces like this come up so infrequently
that bidding was quite active.
And happily, this sold for $75,000.
I couldn't be happier for someone like Ted.
WALBERG: From a knee-buckling auction buy
to the kind of fabulous family heirloom
"Roadshow" is famous for,
furniture expert John Sollo
nearly had to sit down when he found a very special chair
that he says is still his favorite.
My very first "Antiques Roadshow"
was in Philadelphia,
and I remember I was a little bit nervous about doing it.
The whole production, there was people running everywhere,
and lots of activity and action.
And I'm thinking,
"Oh, my goodness, I'm just a little country boy.
I'm not sure how this is all going to work for me."
I look up the line and I see this lady holding this chair.
She's holding it like a rifle,
and it's kind of sticking out the end.
And I look at that chair and I think,
"Holy cow, that's a Charles Rohlfs chair,
and a damn good one."
WOMAN: My mother found it in my grandmother's house
in Dayton, Ohio, back in around the 1960s... SOLLO: Right.
...when they were settling up their estate.
It was up in the attic.
Nobody else knew it was there.
Do you know who did this chair?
Haven't a clue.
I've never seen anything like it,
and that's why I brought it here. All right, great.
Well, let me show you, on the back of the chair
we have a mark,
and it's an R with a vertical saw.
That's the maker's mark
for a very famous Arts and Crafts maker
named Charles Rohlfs. No kidding.
And Charles Rohlfs was a very eccentric man.
Unlike a lot of the Arts and Crafts other makers,
he worked only in a studio with himself
and a few apprentices.
He made all kinds of unusual things,
and he really pushed the boundaries of Arts and Crafts.
The whole design is very radical.
It was the thought of furniture as sculpture.
And this chair, as you can see,
really goes a long ways in blurring those boundaries
between furniture and art.
It captures the essence of the Arts and Crafts movement,
and what it does, it adds a creativity
and, and a sense of beauty and artistic license
to, to Arts and Crafts
that Gustav Stickley and a lot of other people
just don't have.
Most time, Charles Rohlfs worked in oak.
This chair is mahogany,
which makes it very interesting, also.
Charles Rohlfs furniture is very rare,
and it's absolutely,
sought after by the best collectors in America.
SOLLO (voiceover): There's not much of it out there.
A lot of it's in institutions.
And, and so when a great piece, especially a piece
that's of sort of virgin to the, to the marketplace
I mean, it is really big news,
and it's really important.
This chair is worth
between $80,000 and $120,000 at auction.
(laughing): You're kidding.
I am not kidding, I am not...
I'm not kidding.
Yeah. Absolutely unbelievable.
This is a fantastic chair.
There's, like, one of four known in America.
You have one of them.
That's absolutely amazing!
SOLLO (voiceover): We got several other people's opinions
about value of the chair.
Because I didn't want to say something too high or too low.
WOMAN: And you remember what I said.
What did you say?
"You got to be kidding!"
(laughing): I remember that, yes, I do.
Because it was worth so much money,
Mom's financial advisers were advising her
that she should sell it.
He persisted, and, and, uh...
Mom decided to, to sell it at auction.
I think if something's worth $500 or $1,000,
it's not a burden to families.
But something as valuable as Nancy's chair
becomes a burden--
you have to worry about insurance,
you have to worry about locking the front door.
You have to worry about who's sitting in the chair.
In the auction business,
parents wanting to avoid
their children fighting over things
is one of the main-- and honest truth-- main reasons
that people consign things to auction.
I'm sure that all of that
was in the back of the mind of the financial adviser,
all of those things,
because Mom couldn't afford to insure something so valuable.
We sat through the auction
and, and kept track of everything,
and were hoping very much
that it would do well.
They had promised to, to sell it for quite a lot.
We kept hoping it would go higher.
Aren't I awful? Very greedy.
But it sold
for $180,000, plus buyer's premium,
which put it over, I guess, two-and-a-quarter,
which was great.
And we were sad to see it go.
Mom's still living today.
and so it has helped her out.
So, in that sense, it was a good thing. Yeah.
I'd love to know who's got it.
And that's their policy,
they don't let you know.
The whole process was fun,
took us out of our normal, humdrum life.
It all started from a Saturday afternoon
at the Antiques Roadshow. Absolutely.
Yes, perfect. Absolutely.
As far as furniture goes,
and as far as the Antiques Roadshow goes,
it was certainly the best thing I have ever seen.
We've seen a lot of great stuff since,
but that still, it's my very first
and, uh, my very favorite.
WALBERG: And speaking of chairs,
Ted said his Navajo blanket spent many years
just draped over the back of one.
He never even suspected it was a national treasure
until that unforgettable day in 2001
when he decided to bring it to the Tucson Roadshow.
JOHN BUXTON (voiceover): We found an extraordinary masterpiece
that will forever be
a major part of "Antiques Roadshow" history.
I recall vividly that I was standing at the table,
and I was actually appraising some small pre-Columbian heads,
when I heard Don Ellis's voice behind me.
And he was very insistent in the way he was calling out,
and I said, "Don, I'm busy, I'm busy."
I turned around and I saw that Don was holding
a striped blanket,
and I knew what this was.
I excused myself from the pre-Columbian lady,
and I went back, and, and Don was literally speechless.
It was given by Kit Carson--
who I'm sure everybody knows, in his history--
given to the foster father of my grandmother.
I was a young boy-- six, seven, eight, nine years old.
During the years I was living with my grandmother,
it was on the bed where I slept,
and in the cold winter days, it was probably thrown over me.
ELLIS: Well, Ted, did you notice
when you showed this to me
that I kind of stopped breathing a little bit?
Yeah, you did. (both laughing)
I'm still having a little bit of trouble breathing here, Ted.
It took me by surprise, because I...
You know, didn't think much about it.
Probably a chief's blanket, but...
That's exactly what it is.
And it's not just a chief's blanket.
It's the first type of chief's blanket made.
These were made in about 1840 to 1860
and it's called a Ute first phase.
A Ute first-phase wearing blanket.
Chief's wearing blanket. A Ute first-phase wearing blanket.
But it's Navajo-made, they were made for Ute chiefs,
and they were very, very valuable at the time.
This is sort of... this is Navajo weaving
in its purest form.
All of these things that we see later,
with diamonds and all kinds of different patterns,
comes much later than this.
This is just pure linear design.
This is the beginning of Navajo weaving.
Wow. And not only that,
the condition of this is unbelievable.
We see these. In spite of the...
We've got a little bit of damage over there.
It's made from handwoven wool. Yeah.
But it's so finely done, it's like silk.
Wow. It would repel water.
And this here is dyed with indigo dyes.
It was a very valuable dye at the time.
It's an extraordinary piece of art.
It's extremely rare.
It is the most important thing
that's come into the "Roadshow" that I've seen.
Do you have a sense at all
of what we're looking at here in terms of value?
I haven't a clue.
Are... are you a wealthy man, Ted?
Well, sir, um...
I'm, I'm still a little nervous here, I have to tell you.
On a really bad day,
this textile would be worth $350,000.
On a good day, it's about a half a million dollars.
(voice breaking): Oh, my God!
You had no idea.
(voice breaking): I had no idea.
I'm just laying it on the back of a chair.
Well, sir, you have a national treasure.
Wow... A national treasure.
When you walked in with this, I just about died.
Congratulations. I can't believe this.
Now, the value of this
that I'm giving
is, is not using the Kit Carson provenance.
Provenance is sometimes
very difficult to ascertain.
If, if we could do research on this
and we could prove with a... without a reasonable doubt
that Kit Carson did actually own this,
um, the value would increase again.
Hm. Maybe 20%.
I can't believe it.
My grandmother, you know, were poor farmers.
Her foster father
had started some gold mills, and, and, you know,
discovered gold and everything,
but there was no wealth.
No wealth in the family at all.
(crying): I can't believe it.
TED (voiceover): I had no idea
that it could be worth anything like that.
I thought maybe $5,000 or $6,000,
you know, at the most it might be worth, but...
Which would have been a big sum for me at that time.
I knew we couldn't afford to keep it.
And it would be better served to be someplace
where it could be preserved properly.
I immediately contacted Donald Ellis, uh,
to see if he would be interested in, in buying it.
He gave us $300,000,
with the idea that we would split
whatever he was able to sell it for above $300,000.
That was the summer of 2001,
and basically, Don very quickly had a deal,
and we had 9/11,
and Don's deal suddenly evaporated.
So here he had this enormous amount of money
invested in the blanket,
and his deal just disappeared.
Now, this went on for, actually, several years,
and Don finally wound up, um, selling this.
It sold, I think, for around $400,000, $450,000.
It was sold to an anonymous buyer
who donated it to the Detroit Institute of the Arts.
It's still there on display.
The Navajo weaving market is crazy now.
And so I think that with the collection history
that we have on the piece,
I could probably support a price on this
higher than a million dollars.
WALBERG: We hope you've enjoyed this special episode
And I think, since we sold it north of $50,000...
MAN (on radio): Pause there for a second.
Penny, why don't you just take it off the hook?
That's only the first phone call we've had since...
...a month. (crew laughing)
SOLLO: Isn't this a beautiful place, though?
NANCY: Yes, it's beautiful...
SOLLO: I can't imagine living here, though.
It would... I'd hate to mow the lawn.
There'd be a lot of work in mowing the lawn,
that's for sure.
I said, "Well, I think that the number that we have in mind
"is a bit more than that.
"On a good day, this table has a chance of bringing $200,000.
"And with all the stars aligned,
this has a chance of actually selling for $300,000."
Right, is that right? (laughs)
You're going to cut out the "right, right, right?"
They wanted it to be the same. (engine running in distance)
They wanted it to be the same. MAN: Hold on.
He's awfully noisy.
(crew laughing) I think...
He turned around and came back.
So today, I would be estimating it
at between $800,000 and a million-two.
(stammers): Between $800,000 and $1,002,000.
(hesitantly): Between $800,000 and a million-two... hundred thousand.
I can't say it.
I would value the painting
between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
MAN: Nailed it.
WALBERG: I'm Mark Walberg.
Thanks for watching this special episode
of "Extraordinary Finds."
See you next time on "Antiques Roadshow."