♪ ♪ CORAL PEÑA: "Antiques Roadshow Recut" has highlights from Newport, Rhode Island.
Who knew what was in the attic?
Oh, my gosh.
PEÑA: Stay tuned for part three of "Antiques Roadshow Recut: Rosecliff."
♪ ♪ PEÑA: Rosecliff Mansion made "Roadshow" history when it became the first historic location to host our public event.
What's the history behind this weathered wagon?
Check it out.
♪ ♪ It was in a local ad.
I think, anyways, it's referred to as a Chinese carriage or wagon from the Qing dynasty, if I'm not mistaken.
You're right on target, it is Qing.
So that means it dates to somewhere before 1911 in China...
...and after the Ming dynasty.
And, in my opinion, based on the appearance, the construction... Hmm.
This would date to the 19th century.
Which is really quite unusual-- these had hard wear.
And you can see that it's had a hard life.
That's not what it looked like when it was built.
This was lacquered, and you can still see traces of burgundy lacquer on it.
And also black lacquer.
And on the underside of the ceiling in there is a finely woven bamboo mat that is put to the ceiling... Mmm, yeah.
...on top of which is this thick lacquer surface to make it waterproof, which we need on a day like today.
Oh, interesting, okay.
All this would have been likely black, burgundy, and gilt lacquer.
This was not meant for your average person to be carted around town.
The thick iron bands on the edge of the wheel... Mmm.
...was to withstand the wear and tear of going over rough cobblestoned, potholed streets at the time.
What we see through here you would not have seen through here.
This would have been lined with beautifully painted paper or silk.
Part of it opened with a curtain right there that could be pulled back so the person could take a look.
What'd you pay for this?
I paid $125.
Oh, my gosh, you got a great deal.
There are very few of these that are in good condition.
A realistic price is going to be in the $1,000 to $2,000 range in an auction sale.
But it's got to be to an audience of people that recognize the difference between those that are modern reproduction... Mmm.
...those that were made for transport of somebody of elevated stature... Mm-hmm.
...and those that were authentic but made for transporting commercial products.
This is the very best of that type.
It's just unfortunate that the decoration is gone.
Right, right, it's worn.
♪ ♪ (talking in background) So my family is from Radford, Virginia, up in the mountains.
And about 30 years ago, when my mother was selling the family house, all these papers were just haphazardly thrown in the attic, and she didn't know what they were, so she boxed them up and moved them to her house, and there they sat for another 30 years.
And till about five years ago, I wondered what was in all those boxes, and I started opening them and found these letters.
And they're all from your great-grandfather or... Great-great-grandfather.
He was General Gabriel Wharton from the Confederacy.
And, yeah, these are all his personal letters before, during, and after the war.
That's what I find fascinating about it, because, obviously, General Wharton was a very important Confederate general, and you have a tremendous amount of material from the war.
But also material prior to and after that really fleshes out his life.
So starting over here, we have a fabulous letter written to General Wharton, obviously before the war, by a Mr. Mason.
Tell me a little bit about the letter from what you remember.
At this point, General Wharton was a surveyor for the railroad on the Gadsden Purchase.
And he had friends who were throughout the West at that point, so this friend, Mr. Mason, was in Salt Lake City, and he was working for the Indian Affairs office, and he just writes him a letter to tell him what's going on... With the Mormons.
With the Mormons in the city, yep.
With the Mormons in Salt Lake City.
Yeah, so it's a fascinating letter from 1859, and he recounts attending the Tabernacle Sunday events with Brigham Young... Yeah.
And is a little bit derisive about the beautiful girls who make up his 64 wives.
Now, when he was in the Civil War, he was involved in a number of very important campaigns, including the Battle for Fort Donelson.
And we picked out from your archive just a letter, one letter here from General Lee, Robert E. Lee, dated April 21, 1862.
And of course it was just after the Battle of Fort Donelson when Floyd and his troops had lost the battle to General Grant, and there was calls for unconditional surrender.
So this very interesting war period letter from Lee instructs them to gather the troops and bring them together.
Because it's an archive that expands beyond the war, and he was one of the last Confederate generals to be in operation before the final surrender... Yeah.
You also have him returning after the war to do what?
Well, you know, the Confederacy lost, and so he needed to have a job, and he went back to his old profession... profession of surveying.
And went... worked for the land office, and was very lucky to get the job, actually.
So, in the 1880s, he's working for the land office out in New Mexico and Arizona.
And he has a narrow escape from Geronimo.
This is a letter written to his wife, I believe, from April 1886.
And, of course, Geronimo would finally surrender to American troops later that year, in November of 1886.
He later acquired this cabinet card.
It's a very famous cabinet card from C.S.
Who was based in Tombstone, Arizona.
So it's an incredibly interesting archive, and we only could pull out a few things.
If it were to come to auction at a major auction house, it would probably have an aggregate value of $30,000 to $50,000.
Oh, my goodness.
And that might be conservative, given the richness of what you have.
Thank you, I'm so glad you were able to bring it in.
Who knew what was in the attic?
PEÑA: Rosecliff was given its name by the man who owned the estate prior to the Oelrichs family, George Bancroft, a secretary of the Navy, historian, and a great lover of roses.
Bancroft's horticultural passion is said to be the reason roses are so abundant throughout Newport today.
APPRAISER: I think 1925, 1935, platinum, diamonds, very dressy.
You know, women still like these today as a dress watch.
At auction, a watch like this is $1,000 to $1,500.
♪ ♪ APPRAISER: Where did you acquire this?
WOMAN: From my father-in-law.
He was into antiques, he loved yard sales and stuff like that.
Do you know anything about it?
He said it was a Delft charger, back around the 1760s.
Well, it is Delft, and actually, there's two Delfts.
There's the Delft pottery that came from Holland, and then the Delftware that came from England.
Same type of thing, a tin-glazed earthenware.
Tin-glazed is very brittle, so to have these chips around the edge, all very acceptable.
It is 18th-century, possibly a little bit later than you think.
Closer to 1780 or 1790.
The pattern, although we're looking at a floral design, is actually called a peacock design.
Once you start to look at that fanning there, you can see that.
The market's dropped a bit for Delft and for a lot of ceramics in general.
An example like this today should sell for about $400 in a retail setting, perhaps $250 to $350 in an auction.
Thanks for bringing it.
Oh, thank you.
"The Adventures of Wesley Jackson."
Making sure it's not a library book, all right, good.
(chuckling) No, it's not.
Not anymore, anyways.
We'll send that over to books and maps and posters.
You're all set.
Thank you very much.
They're very beautiful, actually.
They're wooden, hand-painted, hand-carved.
Not sure where they're from-- it's very exciting.
I've had the dozen and a half of them.
This is a little interesting box.
It shows the local shoreline.
It was given to me by a fisherman when I was a little kid.
I was about ten years old.
It's absolutely gorgeous.
And it is an excursion view of Narragansett Bay and Block Island.
There are two rolls in there and they are 30 feet long each.
♪ ♪ I bought this in an auction of jazz-related memorabilia in New York City about 12 years ago.
It belonged to the great jazz tenor player Dexter Gordon.
He wore it for the Academy Awards ceremony.
He was nominated for his role in "Round Midnight" as the best male actor.
He didn't win, but I got the suit.
But he looked snazzy going to the awards show.
You, years later, found this photograph of him wearing it in French "Vogue" magazine.
So he obviously liked this suit.
One of the most interesting things about this suit-- beyond the fact that it was Dexter Gordon's-- for me is who designed it for him and the fact that he had a custom suit designed.
And the reason he had a custom suit designed, apart from wanting something fancy, is because... (laughs): ...he's quite tall.
My goodness, yeah.
I think it's difficult to find pants to fit someone who's 6'5".
And his nickname actually was Long Tall Dex, because he was known for his great height, which added to his larger-than-life persona.
Arthur McGee, the designer of the suit, is a really important figure that's not known as much as he should be because he was the first African-American fashion designer on Seventh Avenue in New York.
So he essentially broke the color barrier of American fashion design, and did pave the way for a lot of other people who came up after him.
He's also very well-known among a lot of African-American entertainers.
He designed for Stevie Wonder, Cicely Tyson, Dexter Gordon.
I think that's a really important factor here.
What did you pay for it back when you bought it?
I paid $1,000 for it.
Today, if it were to come up for auction, I would expect it should sell for at least $5,000.
We actually had the great fortune in Anaheim a few years ago to meet his daughter.
She came to the Roadshow and she brought some beautiful signed photographs.
She had Billie Holiday and a few other people he was friends with-- Sarah Vaughan.
She couldn't have been lovelier, she was such a wonderful spirit and personality.
I love the patination on this.
It's just, it's so warm, and you don't want to polish it.
You do not.
I know, I know, but what you can do is, it literally, you can polish it with your fingers.
APPRAISER: These are chromolithographs, which just means color lithograph, but it sounds more official to say chromolithograph.
Realistically, as a pair, you're probably still only looking $50 for the pair.
Their greatest value is as a family piece.
♪ ♪ WOMAN: It's an Egyptian hawk mummy, and I bought it in 1996 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Middletown, Rhode Island.
There was an auction of the contents of a house from an old professor in Maine.
And I saw in the newspaper the day before that there was an Egyptian mummy in the auction, so I thought, "I need to get down there and buy that mummy."
(chuckling) Yes, so I did.
There were some Egyptologists holding on the line to, to bid on it, but I outbid them.
Mummified animals and birds are found in many Egyptian tombs, and they're there as offerings.
This one is to the god Horus, the god of light.
He's also the lord of the sky, so he's really, really important.
Horus is a falcon, and he's also considered the savior of Egypt from the scorpions.
These are found really from about 650 B.C.
to about 250 A.D. in Egypt.
Have you any idea what it's worth?
No, none whatsoever.
And what did you pay for it?
My top bid was going to be $1,000.
But I went to $2,500, so... All right.
I think a retail market for this would be between $3,500 and about $5,000.
That's amazing-- I would never sell it.
(talking in background) I found it last fall in a local antiques store.
I went to visit it almost every weekend for... for a month, and it was meant to be mine, you know.
I absolutely love the piece.
I mean, this piece of furniture dates from probably 1760, '70.
It's made of mahogany, as you know.
This has the earmarks of a Queen Anne dressing table of good quality.
They went to the trouble of molding the edge of the top.
The top has a little bit of overhang, which gives it more grace.
The drawers are thumb-molded, and that's typical of that period.
And thumb molding is this, is this molded edge.
The central drawer has a well-executed carved fan, and that cost extra money.
These legs are well-formed, in pad feet on platforms.
And a pad foot on a platform, again, cost a little bit of extra.
The top edges of the drawer sides are double-beaded.
That's a sign of a good cabinetmaker.
He didn't have to do it, but it finishes it off nicely.
And there's this... on the bottom of the drawer, there's this terrific oxidation.
But you can see the center of the drawer, which runs on a central support underneath.
You know, the oxidation is considerably worn away.
These are things that we want to see.
I think the origin of this piece, probably the North Shore of Massachusetts, in the Salem area.
I've seen similar dressing tables and high chests that have very much the same treatment of a valance.
So at the time that you purchased it, what did it cost?
I ended up paying $8,500 for it.
Do you think you got a bargain?
What do you think it's worth?
I feel I got a bargain.
I was told that... Well, that the family might have had it appraised some time in the early '90s, and the appraisal came in rather high.
$30,000 This is what's happened to the American furniture market.
A) You're buying at a really good time.
Because as wonderful as this piece is, it isn't worth particularly more than you paid for it.
So you paid around $8,500.
I think that's kind of on the money.
In an auction situation, for example, I would not be surprised if it brought $8,500.
I think, I think, um...
I think that's realistic.
Well, to me it's worth a million, so... And I absolutely love it, and, um...
I'll pass it on to my son.
It's money well spent.
The thing that prevents it perhaps from being a little more valuable is that the brasses are old, but they're not original.
They've been replaced.
And also the quality of the mahogany, as good as it is, is not spectacular.
Today's market is not supported by a lot of young folks.
The fact that you're interested in this is a really good thing.
But that's what's lacking.
Competition for these pieces today is just not what it used to be 25 years ago.
25 years ago, when the market was up, you know, $35,000-- that's what I would have gotten for this.
♪ ♪ PEÑA: Along the Atlantic Ocean coastline behind Rosecliff, the historic Cliff Walk stretches in either direction, allowing passersby the chance to admire the views of the sea, as well as the opulent mansions.
The walk crosses both public and private properties, and is about three-and-a-half miles long.
♪ ♪ These are some memorabilia from World War II that I got from my father.
He joined the Army and joined the Medical Corps 361st station hospital, which went to the Philippines.
After Japan surrendered, they sailed up Hiroshima Bay and stopped in Kure, where there was a naval hospital.
They were just ten miles from Hiroshima, which had just been bombed three weeks earlier.
And when they went up to Hiroshima to provide medical care, they found complete devastation.
Everything was glazed.
And in the rubble, he found these artifacts left over that had not been completely destroyed, but had been blasted with sand that turned to glass from the intense heat of the explosion.
When you opened the box and you brought these out, it was immediately evident to me what they were.
It's a little amazing to think that here were American G.Is.
in and amongst the survivors fairly soon after the fact.
When you look at an artifact like this, it has a profound impact on you.
You realize this was there.
This was in Hiroshima when that bomb went off.
This was in somebody's house.
I've heard the explanation that it was dust and things in the air that were turned to glass.
I've also come across individuals who support the idea that it was glass that melted that was in the vicinity of the objects.
Every once in a while, an artifact really speaks to you.
Just by looking at that artifact, that tells what you need to know about the atomic explosion at Hiroshima.
That's why it raised the hair on my arm when you brought it out of the box, and that's one of the reasons why it is profoundly important that these artifacts exist in the world, and that's also a reason why people would be upset that there would be a value associated with them.
Because of the horrendous nature of the event that happened.
Artifacts like this are sought out by collectors and museums in order to tell that story.
From a monetary value perspective today, a retail price for these on the market would be between $2,000 and $3,000.
MAN: It's a snuff bottle.
A gift from a friend.
She bought it in the 1960s as a possible Fabergé piece.
It's a stunning piece.
It is a Fabergé piece.
Fabergé was opened in 1842 by Gustav Fabergé.
And then his son, at the age of 18, Carl, toured the world, came back to Russia and came into the business.
And then Tsar Alexander III had them declared goldsmith by special appointment to the imperial crown, thus beginning the association with the Russian tsars.
Also, Tsar Alexander III commissioned the first Easter egg to be made in 1885.
So what we have here is really a fabulous jadeite snuff bottle.
The snuff bottle dates from the 18th century.
And then Fabergé put this cap on top of it here, probably around 1890 to 1900, in that era.
The cap is made out of 14-karat gold, which is a Russian standard.
I looked at these little round cabochon stones.
Do you know what kind of stones those are?
They look a little bit like rubies to me.
They are rubies, and they're the best kind-- they're Burmese rubies.
They're Burma rubies all the way around there.
It's capped on top with absolutely a fabulous cabochon garnet.
Do you have a wild guess, if we had to put a value on it, what it could be worth?
I really don't-- Fabergé.
I wasn't even sure it was real, so... Oh, it is real.
I'm very happy to tell you, retail, this is, easily would sell between $50,000 and $75,000.
Oh, my gosh.
And it is a unique piece, it's not replaceable.
No, no, absolutely not.
It should be insured for $100,000.
It's absolutely a fabulous piece.
PEÑA: You're watching part three PEÑA: And now it's time for the Roadshow Feedback Booth.
We had a great time, and this was...
I'm going to cross this off my bucket list.
But the second thing on the bucket list was going home a millionaire, and that's not working.
(laughs) Well, I have a porcelain figurine that is probably from Germany in the 1920s.
It has some museum markings on it, and the appraiser said it's worth between $200 and $300.
I brought a painting, and we were hoping we were going to get enough money so we could buy a car, but it looks like we know what his sister's getting for her wedding present.
And I brought a diamond stick pin from Dad, and it's real.
(chuckles) I brought my, my rifle.
They said it was a nice rifle, with a lot of pieces missing, from the 79th Regiment, and they said it was, was a good rifle, but not in really good shape.
And I found out that my bracelet is 1910, but I'm going to wear it in the year 2017.
(chuckles) And-- oh, I have a coffin, too.
It's from the 1850s to 1890s, and I'm really glad for a show like "Antiques Roadshow" that people here would appreciate something like this.
PEÑA: Thanks for watching.
Tune in again for another great episode of "Antiques Roadshow Recut."