Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: What's your antique worth?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 8, 2016 9:00 AM

Antique bed Kaitlin Kennedy.jpg

Antique rope bed submitted by Kaitlin Kennedy

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, January 7, 2016:

Smart Talk finishes the week Friday with a show that will be a lot of fun.

Describe it as Antiques Roadshow on radio.  David Cordier, President and CEO of Cordier Auctions and Appraisals, appears on Friday's show to discuss antiques, collecting, and value.

The program may be the most interactive one we've ever had.  That's because we're encouraging you to either call the show at 800-729-7532 to describe an antique item that you have or send a description and photograph to  Mr. Cordier will try to provide a rough estimate of its value, based on what he sees and hears.

Do you have a family heirloom that has been handed down or maybe something you've picked up along the way?  Perhaps an old letter or postcard -- something with a famous person's signature on it?

Tune in to Friday's Smart Talk at 9 a.m. to hear more.


David Cordier

Published in News, Smart Talk

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  • Bob Nunn img 2016-01-08 08:09

    I have a collection of about 50 pieces of original work that I've thought about selling. Could you give websites or sources that are good for researching artist. Some of the pieces are local artist such as Donald Winer and some are by a New York artist Gilberta Bartalina, both of which I've been told by an artist friend have some value, but I have not been able to find any real information on either.

    • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:49

      Hi Bob,

      There are several good options for online art research. These include eBay (making sure to also check the Completed Auctions especially when looking at value), LiveAuctioneers (free subscription), AskArt and Invaluable (paid subscriptions), and just plain Google. AskArt is nice in that it allows you to search with just partial names if you can only make the first few letters. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  • Lisa img 2016-01-08 09:33

    The appraiser suggested donating rope beds to a charity. Please, please, please, ask that charity if they really want it before you just donate! They often cannot get anything for them either, have no use for them, and feel obliged to then hold onto it or display it when that would really not be their preference and may take up valuable storage. Always ask if it is truly something an organization would like before donating any item, especially one that may be of sentimental value to you, and what they will do with it. Try not to be hurt if the organization does not want your item, but consider that you are trying to get rid of it, too.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 10:44

    Kathryn emails: I have my Great Grandmothers china. This is a dinner plate and soup tureen from the set. On the bottom it has Mentone, Alfred Meakin, Ltd,England. I have plates, bowls and covered vegetable bowls.

    David says: Kathryn, this set is from the late 19th century. The stains may be helped by bleaching or using peroxide. Search online on procedures. The value for individual pieces is $10-15, Serving pieces $25-45 IF they clean up.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 10:48

    Jim in Newberrytown emails about his hutch: it's possibly made in Belgium, around 1830 or so. It is about 7 1/2' high, 5' wide and made of Walnut and White Oak.

    David says: A 19th century sideboard, European would be valued at $800-$1,200.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 10:53

    Laurie emails about her cross-stitch tablecloth.

    David says: These are sometimes called bridge sets for card table decoration. Probably dating 1920-1940 and valued at $15-20.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 11:01

    Cathy in York emails: I have two matching lamps and one small box. All are in very good to excellent condition.
    My parents purchased a house in the 1960's and these items were left in the house by the previous owners.
    The electrical cords were replaced and are not original. Any information you can provide would be very much appreciated.

    David says: These are Italian Capodimonte porcelain. 1700's, designs still made today. They are valued at maybe $25-35 each.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 11:22

    Diane in Camp Hill emails: Harris G. Strong Hand-painted Ceramic Tile wall art

    David says: Harris Strong was very prolific and primarily produced paintings on tile. Great mid-century decorative accessory. Valued at $200-300.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:30

    Mary Lou emails:

    This was given to my mother in 1948 from my grandmother. It was published on the occasion of the coronation of King George VI. I had it rebound last year because the covers had come off. Inside it is in excellent condition.

    Hi Mary Lou,

    The book is a commemorative from the 1937 coronation of King George V and Queen Elizabeth. Many were printed so unfortunately they are not exceedingly valuable – value would be around $30-$50. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:31

    Jeff emails:

    I have carved ivories that I bought from my uncle. He told me they were authenticated from China, mid 19th century. He died and I have no paperwork. With elephants being slaughtered for their tusks, only Ivory over 100 years old can be bought and sold. For me and those who have ivories my question is, How can I have the pieces dated?

    Hi Jeff,

    While it is true that there has been pressure recently to tighten laws regarding the sale of ivory, no definitive laws have yet been passed; in addition, all ivory that was brought into the US before 1989 (called pre-ban ivory) is legal to own, use and sell. However it is preferable to have documentation on such items. An appraisal by a qualified appraiser would work for that documentation. We would be happy to take a look if you could send photographs or come to our office on our Open Appraisal Day each Wednesday from 12-6pm. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:32

    Dylan emails:

    The item I have that I would be curious to know how much it is worth is a Deacon's bench. The bench was originally purchased by my great great great grandfather in Central Pennsylvania and we believe it was purchased between 1835-1850. I currently live in a home that he and my 4x Great Grandfather built when my 3x Great Grandfather was getting married in 1835. The house has remained in my family for 6 generations and some of the original furnishings remain, including this Deacon's bench. The bench is completely original with no repairs and has never been cleaned with anything other than a dry rag. No chemicals or other cleaners have ever been used on the bench. We hope you pick us because we are very curious to know!

    Hi Dylan,

    The dates you provide regarding the bench’s purchase are correct. We would love to see the bench in person as it looks to be in original condition. We would also look for signatures which could affect the value. If it is truly an original condition early 19th century Classical settee, it could possibly be worth $4,000-$6,000 plus. Also there may be chairs that go with it somewhere in the family since they were often made “en suite” or as a set. Thanksk.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:34

    Ann emails:

    Twelve pairs antique (over 100 years) shutters in very good condition, original finish, original fixtures included.

    Hi Ann,

    That’s quite a collection of shutters! They are circa 1900-1930 interior shutters and are worth around $10-$20 a pair (or $100-$150 for the collection). Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:35

    Hi Ann,

    That’s quite a collection of shutters! They are circa 1900-1930 interior shutters and are worth around $10-$20 a pair (or $100-$150 for the collection). Thanks.

    Hi Kimberly,

    The mirror you have is a reverse painted glass mirror with a lion circa the mid-19th century, possibly later. Estimate of value would be $300-$400. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:37

    Faith emails:

    I cannot seem to find any information about this sculpture's value. I inherited it from my Aunt and would like to know it's value.

    This has a great deal of historical/cultural value since it was commissioned to raise funds to help "Wild Horse Annie's" (Velma Johnson) efforts in gaining legislation to end slaughter of the wild mustangs in the West (Nevada, specifically).

    Hi Faith,

    It’s great that you have so much information on the sculpture. Unfortunately I was not able to find any information or sales results for the sculptor Marlene Newman. However horses are always a popular subject matter. It appears to be about 10” high. The value might be $200-$300. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:48

    It is a model 5 used as a navy trainer and it was probably constructed around 1917.

    Hi Lisa,

    Interesting piece. I think knowing the size will help – depending on the size and with the small feet type objects on the back, it appears it could have been an award maybe to contractors or a medallion of some type. Knowing the diameter of the piece will be helpful in doing more research.

    Regarding the diamond filigree bar pin, it is probably 14K white gold and is circa 1910 to 1915. Value would be around $100-$120. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-15 16:58

    John emails:
    I have all of the cards listed except for the ones with a dash in front of the name. They're in pristine condition but haven't been graded. The link will take you to pictures of the cards.

    1910 PC796 Sepia Postcards
    Checklist of Players

    Card # Player
    (1) Roger Bresnahan
    (2) Al Bridwell
    (3) Three Finger Brown
    (4) Frank Chance
    (5) Hal Chase
    (6) Ty Cobb
    (7) Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner
    (8) Eddie Collins
    (9) Sam Crawford
    (10) Art Devlin
    (11) Red Dooin
    -(12) Johnny Evers, Germany Schaefer
    (13) Sam Frock
    -(14) George Gibson
    (15) Solly Hoffman (Hofman)
    (16) Walter Johnson
    -(17) Nap Lajoie
    -(18) Bris Lord
    (19) Christy Mathewson
    (20) Orval Overall
    -(21) Eddie Plank
    -(22) Tris Speaker
    -(23) Gabby Street
    (24) Honus Wagner
    -(25) Ed Walsh

    Hi John,

    The PC796 set was issued by an unknown manufacturer in 1910 and mirrors the Novelty Cutlery postcard set. Condition is key as it is with any baseball card. I found a few examples of results for these cards. A Roger Bresnahan in Very Good to Excellent condition is at $160, a Nap Lajoie in Very Good condition is currently at $425 and a Solly Hofman in Very Good condition is at $90 in a current online auction with fifteen days left. A graded PR 1 example of the Ty Cobb and Honas Wagner card sold for $3,224 this past September.

    If your cards are in pristine condition, I think they would benefit from being graded as that could make a large different in the valuation. It was interesting to learn about this set! Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 13:55

    Roger writes...
    This corner cupboard is 6'11" tall, and is 6-sided: 46" front x 4.5" x 26" x 10" back x 26" x 4.5". It has 2 6-paned glass doors at top, a drawer in the center, and 2 solid doors at bottom. It is over 100 years old and has been refinished.

    Hi Roger,

    This is a nice corner cupboard circa 1820 to 1830, possibly cherry with tiger maple drawers. The value would be around $800 to $1,200. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 13:56

    Lee writes...
    Attached is a pic of an Edison phonograph, dtd 1916, with a number of thick records, probably from the 20s. It still plays

    What you have here is a floor model Edison phonograph – depending on the model and condition the value could be between $200 and $400. Unfortunately the 78rpm records usually little value. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 13:58

    John writes...
    We have a complete set of silver utensils and a number of candlesticks and serving pieces that are never used. The family history is not even certain. How should we go about making a decision of how to move it on? Is it more valuable in its useful form or simply as silver metal. How can we get advice that we can trust?

    Silver items can have a wide range of value so it’s good you are looking into it. The key is determine if the items are sterling silver (92.5% silver and the rest an alloy) or silver plated (metal with a coating of silver). Sterling items are marked “925”, “925/1000” or “Sterling” – flatware is typically marked on the lower back of the handle and can be worth a good deal of money. If not, the value is much less. If the pieces are sterling, they can definitely be worth more than the silver value depending on the form, maker, age, etc.

    There are also other levels of silver as well including 800 silver (80% silver) or coin silver (90% silver) typically found on foreign pieces – these are also worth money.

    We would be happy to review any items in question – we offer an Open Appraisal Day each Wednesday from 12-6pm for free evaluations of items. We do limit to five items; however we could arrange to review some additional. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 13:59

    Kathryn writes...
    This music box has Royal Sealy sticker made in Japan on the bottom. Also numbered 10/150

    Dear Kathryn,

    Thanks for sending along the photograph. The music box is circa the 1950’s and value would be around $20-$30. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 14:01

    Manuel writes...
    I have a 1903 London, Macmillan and Co Limited first edition of Herbert George Wells “Twelve Stories and a Dream”. It is one of the presentation copies with original green cloth, front panel stamped in gold as well as the blind and spine panel stamped in gold. It is inscribed “To Joseph / From H.G. Wells” on the half title leaf. The cloth is lightly rubbed at the head and tail of the spine panel. There is some scattered foxing to the front endpaper. I picked this up for $2.00 at an auction and feel it may be of some value due to being a first edition inscribed by Wells.

    Hi Manuel,

    Well for $2.00 I think you got a good deal. The book itself just as a first edition has a range of value depending on condition and you need to check to make sure that there are six pages of undated ads and sixteen pages of ads dated “20.9.03”. Book dealer prices for first editions vary considerably – between $100 and $900 depending on condition, dust jacket – and should be taken with a grain of salt as dealers can arbitrarily set a price; we typically see 10-30% of that at auction. I saw a few presentation copies being offered for considerably more; however the inscriptions were to contemporary authors that Wells knew and again these were dealer prices. I would want to take a look at the book in person to confirm condition and the inscription before assigning a more specific value. You can email photographs to me at or come to our Open Appraisal Day held each Wednesday from 12-6pm for a no charge evaluation. Thanks.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 14:02

    For Dottie...

    Hi Dottie,

    An interesting grouping of items. The French Napoleon lighted sculpture appears to be spelter and is circa 1890-1910. Value is around $150-$300. The gilded overmantle mirror is circa 1830-1850 and is valued around $300-$500. The five porcelain plates with cherubs (which I believe have the Limoges mark?) would be $100-$150. The single porcelain bowl would be $10-$30. Thanksk.