♪ ♪ CORAL PEÑA: "Antiques Roadshow Recut" is spotlighting treasures from across the country.
In my ten years doing the show, I've never seen Whistler prints of this caliber.
Shut the front door, girl!
PEÑA: Stay tuned for "Antiques Roadshow Recut: American Stories."
♪ ♪ PEÑA: "Antiques Roadshow Recut" returns with more stories of success...
Your grandfather trained with one of the top makers in the United States, and then he opened his own shop in 1926.
He uses that for wedding ceremonies for those that want to be married in the Indian way.
PEÑA: ...and tenacity...
He put himself through college eating a can of baked beans and a PowerHouse candy bar every night for dinner.
PEÑA: ...from all across America.
First up: the tale of an American soldier enjoying some peaches.
I brought a label from a peach can that has a letter on the back from World War I.
My aunt passed away three years ago at the age of 95, but before she passed away, my uncle had died, and this had belonged to him, and it was all folded up, and I looked at it and I said, "My gosh, it's got a letter on the back."
And she said, "Yeah," that my Uncle Bob had had it for years and years and that his father had probably given it to him, because I don't recognize the person's name on the back of the can, but they were both from Brooklyn, and the letter was sent to a man who worked for this company here, Jurgens, who were, I guess, a distributor.
And the letter is all about enjoying this can of peaches in the trenches in World War I.
The front is beautiful, just as a piece of graphic art from the turn of the century.
And we see here that we have the individual who's, who sent it, the date, and then the censored mark.
In this case, this is a lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry.
His job was to look at that and to make absolutely certain that there wasn't any information in the document that was inappropriate to go back to the folks at home.
The back is really what gets us interested in this piece.
And we've got a letter from a fellow here... Mm-hmm.
...who is writing from Machine Gun Company, Fourth Infantry Regiment, which was one of the more actively engaged American divisions in World War I.
And apparently this fellow was quite taken by the peaches.
He's writing, he says, "Dear Sir, "Here I am on the firing line in the bottom of a trench, "having just finished my day's rations of corned willy "and hardtack, and having finished it all off by eating this can of peaches from your firm."
So clearly, it, it meant a lot to him, enough to save the label and send it back.
There's something else in here: "They tasted so good, "I feel it my duty to congratulate you and your firm for putting such goods within our reach."
But he signs it, interestingly, here.
He says, uh, "Believe me, they are worth fighting for.
Your friend, Eddie."
Clearly, this meant an awful lot to him... Yeah.
...in the circumstances that they were in.
Rations in World War I were not exactly high-level cuisine.
(laughs) They were more-- they were, they were-- they were concerned about two things: they were concerned about getting the food to the front, and having it be nutritious and provide the guys enough calories to keep going.
But more importantly, they also wanted it to, to make it from point A to point B without getting you sick and turning it into a botulism grenade... Oh.
...and to be sealed up to where it would be resistant to the chemicals that were in the air where, the gas that would settle.
So canned goods were particularly well-suited to that, because they're all wrapped up.
In the realm of value, these labels from fruit cans and crates and that sort of thing are collected, because they're decorative and they're, they're attractive, as just a nice period lithograph.
But on its own, this would be about a ten-dollar item.
It doesn't have a whole lot of value...
...on its own legs.
But as something that was so significant to this individual that he wrote that congratulatory letter... Mm-hmm.
...and sent it back home, this is something that, frankly, shouldn't exist.
He even talks in there about, "The trenches are littered with the wrappers from your peaches."
As a document of front-line life for an American soldier in World War I, I would expect to see a retail value today for this in the neighborhood of $550 to $600.
Not bad for a can of peaches.
This belonged to my father-in-law, who was a medicine man.
And that was about the turn of the century, so this could have been maybe 100 or more years old.
Rex, my husband, is very much involved in presenting Indian programs, and so he's enjoying them for about 20 years.
Now he's wearing them special occasions.
So this is his dress clothes...
When he does formal things and important things...
...he wears all this Navajo silver.
And, and does this basket, does he use that?
In important things?
He uses that for wedding ceremonies for those that want to be married in the Indian way.
Does this have cornmeal in it when it's used?
Cornmeal mush and... yeah.
Bridegroom and the bride, they put their finger there one at a time and feed each other with it.
I didn't know that part of it.
(laughs) Well, I've seen a lot of these baskets, but they're never used.
They're things people bought at tourist places or trading posts.
And, you know, they're worth $50 or $75.
This one, because of your family story, it's a very important thing.
It's more important to your family than money.
And the same with the jewelry.
It's hard to put a dollar amount on something that's this important to your family.
The, the basket, I would say $250 to $350.
With your family story, I would never sell it.
There's no price enough to have this.
I really like the bracelet.
It's traditional Navajo, it's set with turquoise.
It's made out of hammered silver.
With tools-- it's not cast, it's not made with machines.
It's all handmade.
If I found a bracelet like this, I would say... $800 to $1,000.
Uh, the, it's, very beautiful bracelet.
We won't part with it, yeah.
It's well done, and, again, you don't want to sell it.
But that's... the belt, again, $1,500, $1,800.
But the family history is so important to this.
And I really appreciate you coming in.
It's, it's been great to talk with you, meet you... (laughs) ...and see somebody using their traditional heritage in their life.
Thank you very much.
This had been given to either my grandmother or an aunt by a male suitor alleged to have worked for Tiffany.
This is a Tiffany flower-form vase.
Now, it should actually be completely glass, but it looks as though it was broken off of the stem and then put in this bronze base.
So what you have here is, we've made lemonade out of lemons.
(laughs) The value of this would be around $700 retail.
If it were the whole piece, it would be $1,500 to $2,000.
My great-great-grandfather gave this to my great-great-grandmother on their anniversary.
Now, she gave this to you.
Andy, what did you get?
I guess I'm chopped liver.
(laughs) WOMAN: I brought in my grandfather's violin.
My mom and dad always called him Pops.
He died in 1945, so I never got to meet him.
But he made violins, and he repaired violins for the Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the New York Symphony.
He worked for a company for a while, and then he opened up his own shop, and when he passed away, my mother took one of his violins, and I played this violin since I was in second grade until I had an injury and could play no more, and I am dying to find out what to insure it for.
I've heard the story of my pop for all of my life, what an amazing man he was and everything he'd done, and how he became a violin maker.
Well, I'm very excited about this violin that you brought in today.
I can't wait.
(chuckles) You brought in his tools.
And you brought in a picture of his shop in Manhattan.
His name, of course, was Nicholas Heinz.
He started training as a violin maker when he was 14 years old.
So he studied with Frederick Koenig, who was a violin maker in New York City.
And so your grandfather, from the age of 14 to 19 years old, trained with one of the top makers in the United States.
He also worked in Chicago for Lyon and Healy, he worked in Philadelphia, and then he opened his own shop in 1926.
So this particular violin that you brought in today has a label on the inside, and it says "Nicholas Heinz, Violin Maker and Repairer," and above that label is a brand that's been branded into the wood that says "N.
I love this picture.
He seems so proud and just brimming full of energy.
These are his knives for carving.
And this little tiny plane is a violin maker's plane.
It's used to do the fine arching that would be around the edges of the instrument.
This violin is made in very traditional materials.
The belly of the instrument is spruce and the back and the ribs are a flamed maple.
And the pegs are carved in a beautiful design, as is the tailpiece.
I believe that the pegs and the tailpiece were actually made in Germany, and that he would have purchased them for this instrument.
I thought he made them.
The bow is a French bow.
It is stamped right here, it's stamped "Paris."
The tip plate broke off, but it doesn't affect the value, and the tip plate is perhaps ivory.
It's either ivory or it's mammoth, but you can't tell by just looking at it, and that can be replaced-- it's not a big deal.
So the bow is intact.
In the world of retail, I would value this bow at $4,000.
Shut the front door, girl, are you serious?
Yeah, it's a beautiful bow.
The violin, I would value... My baby.
(gasps) It's a master-quality instrument.
Aw, sweetie, I love that.
And all of the ephemera that you brought, the tools and the, the pictures and the letters, I would say, in, combined with the value, would add $3,000 to its value.
Oh, my goodness.
So all the ephemera and the violin should always stay together.
MAN: I was visiting Las Vegas, it was the summer of '86.
The University of Nevada- Las Vegas and the University of North Carolina played an alumni basketball game.
After the game was over, I was in the casino, and Michael Jordan and the rest of the team came back.
I saw them sit down at a table, and I sat down at the table with them.
(chuckles) What did you guys play, poker?
How did he play?
He played okay.
At first, we all were doing, we were all winning, and then he upped his bet, and we all started losing.
You had your opportunity.
You wanted an autograph, so you went ahead and you went for it.
When he was leaving the table, I asked him, yes.
Looks like he found a blue ballpoint pen, he did his typical, usual Michael Jordan autograph right on this paper coaster.
So, '86, he got hurt early in the season.
He broke his foot, and he came back the same season.
The Bulls, when Jordan returned, finished with a 30-in-52 record and still made the playoffs.
If we're giving it a grade, it looks about an eight.
On a, on a one-to-ten scale.
Overall, great piece.
At auction, probably fetches somewhere between $2,000 to $3,000.
Oh, wow, very good, wow.
(chuckles) Well, I have two pieces of art done by John Biggers.
He's my Uncle John, as I know him.
He and my father were classmates in college at Hampton Institute.
This piece was in our house for as long as I've been alive.
And the story goes, my Uncle John was throwing it out of his garage, and my dad happened to be there, and said, "Well, no, don't throw it away, I'll take it."
I tried to get these restored, and the restorer here in town told me that she couldn't touch them until I got insurance on it and an appraisal.
Well, they are two drawings by John Biggers.
They're charcoal drawings with white chalk editions.
Now, we don't have a date on them, but my guess is that they would date to the 1950s.
This is the style he was working in, and they seem like they would be from that time period.
Do you have any idea who the subject is?
This could be a lady he experienced while in Africa or a tribute to his wife with an African look to her.
I think 1957 was the first time he went to Africa.
That would make sense for the date.
His wife is still alive... She is, she is.
So it's possible that, um, she could be contacted and find out if, if it is her.
The interesting thing about these two is that they are really a pair.
I mean, you have the front view and then the back of the same figure, and that's very rare to find.
At auction, I would value them as a pair $12,000 to $18,000.
Well, I really appreciate that.
Thanks for bringing them in today.
Oh, my pleasure.
You've brought a nice collection of Whistler etchings and drypoints to the show today.
Why don't you tell me how you got them?
I got them from my father.
Um, I inherited them from him.
And it was for me kind of a piece of my father that was left after he passed away, and a connection to him.
And I actually knew your father.
I did some business with him, and he was a fairly well-known collector.
What did he do for a living?
He was actually a professor for all his life, and raised a big family.
He grew up in a real humble home.
His dad was an upholsterer, and what I remember is, he always told us that he put himself through college eating a can of baked beans and a PowerHouse candy bar every night for dinner.
So that's what I appreciate about him, is that he was able to do this on a professor's salary.
Over here is "The Wine Glass," which is an etching from 1858.
And it's one of the only still-life etchings that Whistler made.
And it's also one of his earliest works.
As you may or may not know, Whistler was born in Massachusetts, and he studied college in America, and after school, went to Europe and never came back.
He lived between France and England.
And this is a work that he did in France in 1858.
The two women here are both drypoints, and drypoint is made by scratching directly into a metal plate.
It's a technique that is difficult to get many impressions from, because the drypoint wears down over time.
This is "A Model Resting."
And this is a study of "Maud Seated."
And they're both from the 1870s.
This here is a view of the Little Putney Bridge in London-- that's also from the late 1870s.
And then we have two views of Venice.
This is "Little Venice."
And this is "A Doorway in Venice."
And these both date from around the early 1880s, and Whistler was actually bankrupt at the time.
He had sued the critic John Ruskin in London for calling his paintings obliterations, basically.
And the result of that suit, which he won... Uh-huh.
...but he didn't get any money for, was that it bankrupt him.
And so he took this commission... Uh-huh.
...to go to Venice and produce these prints.
And finally, there's a view here of Brussels.
This is called "The Palaces in Brussels," and that is from the 1880s.
Now, do you know what your father spent on them when he was buying them, and when he bought them?
I think I saw one, he spent, like, $185 or $220, $220, something like that for... And this was in the '70s?
'60s, he started in the '60s, and collected through the '80s.
Well, your father had a great eye.
And he sought out what seems to me some of the scarcest examples he could find.
If you look at this print here, for instance, on the back of the sheet, you see in Whistler's handwriting "Selected proof."
So this is a print that the artist himself thought very highly of.
Actually wrote on?
It's the artist's proof.
And on this print, "The Palaces in Brussels," you see a dedication from Whistler to one of his collectors.
And on a number of the prints, you also see Whistler's signature, which is a butterfly.
He was sort of a dandy.
Fashionable guy, and he used his butterfly signature.
Here you see it larger on "The Model Resting."
And you see it even printed in the plate on the view of the Little Putney.
Whistler's market has risen dramatically in the last ten years.
So in the time that your father bought these... Uh-huh.
...the value has increased.
At auction, "The Wine Glass" would bring around $5,000 to $8,000.
"The Little Putney," which is a beautiful proof... Mm-hmm.
...would bring between $3,000 and $5,000.
Each of the drypoints, "The Model Resting" and "Maud," would bring $15,000 to $20,000.
The view of Little Venice, in the neighborhood of $12,000 to $18,000.
The "Doorway in Venice"... Uh-huh.
$20,000 to $30,000.
And finally, the best for last, "The Palaces in Brussels," exceedingly scarce print.
That would bring around $60,000 to $90,000 at auction.
(gasps) You are kidding.
The grand total at auction would be around $130,000 to $190,000.
You are kidding me!
It's a wonderful collection.
I thank you for bringing it in.
That is amazing.
They're beautiful prints.
They're just beautiful.
I'm, I'm just shocked.
In my ten years doing the show, I've never seen Whistler prints... Really?
...of this caliber.
These are museum pieces.
Wow, that's amazing.
MAN: I acquired that ring some years ago, back in the '70s, from a friend of mine.
APPRAISER: Why did your friend give it to you?
Well, it wasn't actually a gift.
He kind of got in a little bit of trouble, and called me, and I told him I needed a little collateral.
So I went by his house and picked up the ring, and told him when he gave me the money back, he could have his ring.
And that was in 1972, and... Now, when you say he got in a little bit of trouble... Well, it was a phone call from the jailhouse.
He was one of those people who enjoyed life kind of illegally, they say.
So he needed a little bail money, and the $500, what I had to get for the bail money.
It's a great old ring, and it's an early-20th-century ring.
It's an Edwardian ring.
It's got some old mine-cut diamonds in there.
There's a couple of them that are about three-quarters of a carat.
A couple of them, they're about a half a carat each.
Have you ever had anybody else take a look at that ring for you?
Well, we took it to a jewelry store in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Weren't too happy with what the lady told us.
Can you tell me what she said that didn't make you so happy?
Well, it was actually the money.
(laughing) Oh, yeah.
That's, that's always the story, isn't it?
She was telling us the weight of it.
Then she was telling me what kind of metal the ring was, which I'm not sure what she said it was.
But she offered to purchase it for $1,200.
It sounds a little bit unethical to me.
A ring like this is, it's pretty desirable in today's market.
We see these from that era pretty regularly.
It's platinum, which is commonly what they used to make jewelry back then.
That was kind of the new metal in town.
This ring is probably made in America, would be my guess.
I see a lot of rings like this made from people who emigrated to the U.S. who had the craft of making jewelry like this.
And it's in great shape.
So, so nobody wears it now?
My wife, uh, she says it's too big for her.
She's got little hands.
I see, okay.
So she says it's too big for her hands, so she doesn't wear it, so it just kind of just...
So, so it's not hers now?
It's still yours?
Okay, all right.
I give, I 'fess, it's hers.
Okay, all right.
I think in today's market, an auction value on something like that would probably in, be in about the $3,000 to $5,000 range.
So a little different than what you had originally heard at your jeweler there.
So hopefully that's a little bit, a better number that sits with you better.
That's, that's good news.
PEÑA: Thanks for watching.
We hope you've enjoyed this episode of "Antiques Roadshow Recut."