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Kennebec appraisal at Antiques Roadshow in Boston 6-9-12

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by 1905Gerrish, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish Loves Old Maine canoes

    Just wanted to share my experience with everyone this past Saturday when my father and I attended the Antiques Roadshow in Boston. I ended up winning a pair of tickets through a lottery system and being one of the 5500 people in attendance. I brought a c1916 5 ft Kennebec salesman sample and my father brought a 1920-1930 5 peice Winchester advertising display. First waited in a hour long line to get another ticket to disperse the attendies with their items to quote "expert appraisers". Before we got tickets to see the experts we had to have our items visable so they could be viewed buy the roadshow crew. The canoe that I had was wrapped in a sleeping bag and the display which my father had totaled about 6 feet and had to be taken out on the floor because there was no tables for the 5500 people to set items on. I was given a ticket to see the "expert" in Toys and minatures by the name of Noel Barrett who I noticed right away being on the show. There was only one other person in front of me in line unlike the 200 that were in front of my father in the collectables line. Now to give a little description of what I am seeing is there are three appraisers to one 6ft folding table, each having a table lamp and an Ipad in a fabricated circular room that is about 75ft around with probable 300 people in it, lights everywheres and filming a painting 20 ft away from me. Noel asked to see the canoe which I handed to him. He asked what I paid for it and where I got it. I gave him the info and told him about how I had to restore it because of the poor condition that I got it in and some history behind it. He listened and commented on the beautiful resoration job done on it , ( thanks Roger). The info he gave me on the value was that he has seen these go for between 5 and 10K and mine not being worth much more then what I paid for it which was around the 5K mark. I asked him about other makes of canoes and their value but he could not tell me any makes of canoes! The appraisel lasted a total of 1 minute, not looking anything up on his Ipad in front of him with not one other person in line in back of me. I walked out of the room feeling very dissappointed with the lack of service and info! I walked back to see my father in line and he said " Thats it". He could tell I was dissappointed and he was frustrated because of it. I was not dissappointed because of the value but the lack of service, knowledge, whatever. I value the canoe on the 10K plus side. By the way I had to put the canoe back in the sleeping bag on the floor because there was not tables for the 5500 customers there.

    My father got more of the same. The hour in line to talk to an appraiser to first say " They sould have put you in the guns section because I have no idea about this but no one is here today besides military specialists". Now we first had to clear out a few attendies so we could display the display on th floor in front of us but we could only get three of the peices upright so she could see it because of the no room issue. She did the best she could and looked up a Wincheser poster that she compared it to. To us a single poster is not even close to what he had so the whole conversation was pointless. She at least spent a few minutes with him to try to help. We walked out and had to put everything together and back in the box again on the floor with everyone walking around. We heard in conversation that nothing could be recorded by video, verbally or signed for insurance purposes. There was a table with the appraisers business cards on the way out for the attendees to purchase appraisels for insurance purposes.

    My father and I walked out of the place feeling like we would have been better off to stay home and cut the lawn for the day. We were both extremely dissappointed in the entire event. We both realize that everyone is not going to know everything about everything but not knowing nothing by professionals was sad to see. Everyone has their own opionion but this was our prospective and it was not pleasent for us!

    Zack and Bob Smith
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  2. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Zack and Bob,

    I think what we must keep in mind regarding any “reality” TV show is that it is first and foremost a TV show for entertainment and secondly a show to actually serve a useful purpose.

    The engineering and land surveying company that my partner and I run participated in the building of a house for Extreme Makeover Home Edition last summer. We were invited to be the engineering firm to do all the design work, site layout, structural consultant etc. by the architect who was designing the actual house. Prior to the actual build, during the weeklong build and following the “reveal” we contributed approximately $20,000 of billable time. We were only one of many firms that contributed countless hours, resources, material and expertise to build a house for a needy family. All the firms waited for the show to air and were sadly disappointed to not receive a single mention for all the work we put in – not even in the credits at the end. Even during the build it became apparent that the whole project was a TV show first and a charity project second. Even the show itself has been canceled – the need for housing for needy families is still very acute but without ratings it will not happen with the help of Hollywood.

    I’m sorry your Roadshow experience was disappointing but I am not surprised based on my own Hollywood experience.

    Jim C.
  3. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Perhaps time for me to chime in here.
    Bob and Zack, I'm sorry your experience with Antiques Roadshow was not a better one. I'm a bit disappointed, too. First off, even getting in to such a program is difficult; the crowds make it even more of a zoo, and space can be limited. Then, a lot depends on the actual knowledge and qualifications of your 'expert'. In actual fact, you knew far more than they did. That's not unusual when it comes to canoes. Noel Barrett is great on toys, and a decent guy as far as I know. His canoe background may be scant, unfortunately; however, there ought to have been information resources right at hand. Last year, when I wrote my article on display samples, I was in contact with Antiques Roadshow for permission to use a photo from their earlier program re the E M White model. In return, I provided them with several digital copies of my research and complete article, once it was finished. I provided a copy from 'Hunting & Fishing Collectibles' magazine, which was even more extensive than what appeared in 'Wooden Canoe Journal'. In short, lots of info on prices, condition, auction results, etc., was likely (or ought to have been) right within their own computer information banks. If they fail to avail themselves, they do a disservice to you as well as their viewers in not being accurate and up-to-date. Professionals whose opinions are being offered, watched by viewers and relied upon should not 'guess at' values for things they know little about. That's a sham, whether it be called 'entertainment' or 'reality'.

    As to a proper appraised value of your model, I would certainly put this somewhere above $10K. I sold an identical piece last year at $13,500. It was my model that you used as a guide when restoring your own. I asked $15K, took a little less. I have just finished appraising a Kennebec model with no lettering, though possibly original paint, very nice interior - valued at $12 - $15K. Another highly knowledgeable antique dealer has quoted $14 - $18K on the same piece. I think you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that your model, properly presented to a discerning buyer, would bring at least $12,000. Yes, it has been restored; wooden canoe lovers understand that this is not a sin. Antiquers do not always understand that certain restorations add to value; old car buffs and wcha folks do. By the way, the other antique dealer who made the appraisal I mention above has sold several Kennebec models in near original condition in the $14 - $18K range. Both he and I believe that the market for antique display samples has not been much affected by the economic downturn, mostly due to their rarity and market demand. The Old Town brand has always led the way and, recently, two somewhat worn models with minor interior damage have brought in the $12,000 range. In short, the market is still good. I know for a fact that two 4' OT models in spectacular condition have sold in the past year for between $25K and $30K.

    Jim C, I sympathize with your disappointment about offering resources (donating expensive working time) only to get no credit and little thanks. That should never happen. Now, let me tell you all about two of my latest adventures, which may or may not reach television screens this summer and fall.

    This past winter, a Canadian tv program, "Pawnathon Canada", was publicly searching for folks to bring in interesting objects. I responded, offering to bring in a couple of miniature canoes. This is a "what-have-you got; what's-it-worth" show with a twist. You show up (along with hundreds of others) with your article; you are then directed to a 'vetting' table staffed by 'experts' who do a preliminary assessment of your stuff. If it's interesting, you get a pass to go in and see one of 5 professional pawnmasters/auctioneers/dealers who will discuss the piece with you and possibly make an offer to buy it. There is no obligation to sell. The exchange of info can sometimes be very interesting: some cheap offers, some outrageous asking prices. If what you have brought is really outstanding, in the opinion of the 'vetting crew', you are given a 'Platinum' pass to go and see all 5 Pawnmasters, sitting together. You discuss your item. One of them may make an offer; several of them may want it. If that happens, a bidding war breaks out between the Pawnmasters, and goes until one of them makes the highest offer. You can accept or reject.

    I went, with little expectation of making any sale. Quite frankly, I didn't even want to sell what I took. I was simply trying to promote interest in historic wooden canoes, mention both the Canadian Canoe Museum and WCHA, get a little publicity for my own collection, and just have a morning of fun, also doing some testing of the participants' canoe knowledge. Well, it was an interesting day!!!!

    I took with me a 6', wide board and batten, Rice Lake Canoe Co. display sample, c. 1890/1900, the only one currently known to exist. It's in near mint condition, and accompanied by two 24" sample paddles, the only ones I've ever come across. Being that rare, I personally believe it has substantial value, as well as historic significance as an antique. It was also featured on the cover of the catalog prepared by the Canoe Museum for the display in 2008 at which WCHA members attended during Assembly that year. In short, an authentic piece well corroborated. I was quickly handed a Platinum pass. Sad to say, the Pawnmasters had little interest in, or appreciation for, such a piece, even after I gave extensive background info, etc., etc. A couple of other presenters had not shown up that morning, and I was allowed their time during filming. In all, I spent at least a half-hour with the Pawnmasters - very generous, given that it might result in 4 or 5 minutes actual final program time. Such a waste on the cutting-room floor. The Pawnmaster chairman spent more time asking where he could find a small kit model to build with a granddaughter; I told him. At last, one of them asked what the Rice Lake model might be worth, even though they had no intention to buy. My answer was: "well, you're obviously going to start at zero; I'm hoping for 6 figures. Maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle, but you'll have to be much closer to my end than I am to yours." They were somewhat incredulous. I tried giving a bit of recent market history, of which they knew nothing, including comparison to the Rushton model skiff which had sold for close to $50K, and other auction or private sale results.

    They quickly turned to my other piece, a native-made birch bark model of Attikamekh origin, dating to 1932, absolutely pristine, and also on the Museum catalog cover. Asked what "something like that" could be worth, I replied "a few thousand", and offered to let it go at $3500. Not an unreasonable price compared to finely made bark models these days. The quick response from the one slightly keen Pawnmaster was: "I'm out." There wasn't much knowledge or depth of interest, as confirmed by conversation subsequently with one of the Pawnmasters who lives near a sister of mine. He simply told me my stuff was interesting, really neat, but they just didn't know enough to begin to deal with it.

    The moral here is that these are pawnbrokers, a la 'Pawn Stars'. They only ever buy cheap. As a rule, you will only ever get about 25-30% of retail value, or 40-50% of wholesale value. They're only interested in the profit the make on a 'flip', and they always give lots of room to cover themselves in the event of a slow sale.

    I have just had a visit from "Canadian Pickers", a northern version of the popular "American pickers" tv program. Long and short of it, these folks don't really have deep knowledge of canoes. I did manage to sell two small kayaks, at pretty much give-away prices (what I paid for them, basically). However, it was a fun day. Filming took place from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. It's quite an adventure. The crew was wonderfully nice, as were the Pickers, Scott and Sheldon. It was a day of trading info more than goods. Again, I wasn't really expecting a lot; really hoping more to get some publicity for old wooden canoes, promote WCHA and the Canoe Museum, which names I managed to work in several times. I also had arranged for them to visit Dick Persson the following day. Dick had a little better luck selling some things, but I'll leave it to him to tell that part of the story.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but hope you all might enjoy hearing of 'canoe adventures' up here in the north country.
  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    None of this sounds surprising, unfortunately. These shows are really just looking for a person who will get excited in front of a camera. This usually involves a someone who has something valueable that they don't know anything about. Anyone who has done their homework and researched their item often knows much more than the 'experts' who appraise them for things like this.

    My experience was similar at a free sporting collectables appraisal day at the Kittery Trading Post last year. My hope was that I might learn something new about two of my model canoes. The first 'expert' I met specialized in old fishing lures and said that model canoes usually sold for a few hundred dollars. The second one specialized in duck decoys and was more helpful but admitted that he didn't know much about model canoes. It is said that free advice is worth every penny and I got exactly what I paid for that day.

  5. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    Definition of Expert: an Ex is a has-been and a Spurt is a drip under pressure ;)
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Hey, I resemble that incineration.... :)
  7. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    It was with just such concerns in mind that I set out to see if I could get an appearance on "Pawnathon" and/or "Canadian Pickers". I didn't really care to sell, didn't need their appraisal or historic information. I was really just trying to gain some public exposure for older wooden canoes, particularly display models. I wanted to 'turn the tables' in a gentle way, and use the opportunity for public exposure by placing before the experts and tv cameras some truly significant and historic quality pieces, backed up by info they likely wouldn't have or be overly familiar with. It was done with a smile and a light-hearted attitude; no attempt to show off or up-stage was ever intended. I just felt there was a great opportunity to remind North Americans of a significant portion of their history - 10,000 years of travel, trade, development and commerce based upon the canoe. No other single mode of transport has been as significant for such a period of time. And, while the transport importance of the canoe became supplanted by covered wagons, railways, highways and aircraft, none of those others have a lasting, on-going parallel popularity as a recreational craft still surviving today. And not too many collect old railway engines, jumbo jets or Conestogas (do they even have an association?)

    Heritage has a value. That's what we, as a group, are all about with respect to canoes. Individually and collectively we treasure our antique watercraft, large and small. I was very much hoping that in some small way I could convey that enthusiasm to the wider tv audience - show them a portion of what is out there. To be sure, there was an effort to impress; to make even the appraisal 'experts' open their minds to the significance of old wooden canoes along with paintings, silverware, pottery, furniture. I think to some small extent I may have succeeded with the "Pickers". For 7 hours, they had the run of my home and my collection stuff; nothing was off limits, although certain items were not for sale - ever!! There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, endless questions, some amazement at suggested values, some need to explain historical relevance. All done in good spirits and friendly exchange. Did it work??? We'll all have to wait and see what shows up on broadcast day. Likely it will be no more than 7 or 8 minutes out of 3 - 4 hours of filming during the 7 hours spent here. It's quite a production; two tv star "pickers" backed up by a crew of 12 or more others - director, producer, several camera crew, sound techs, lighting experts and various other supporting cast. A long day for them; an exciting one for me. I hope it turns out alright, without appearing to come across as a 'show-off'. The intent was primarily to educate, to provide insight to the general public in tv land; to mention the work of wcha and the Canoe Museum. Hopefully, to get more folks interested in old wooden canoes. Not sure just when the "Pawnathon" program will air, but the latest series begins tomorrow. The "Pickers" segment will likely run sometime around Canadian Thanksgiving weekend - that's Columbus Day in the US; October 8, or thereabouts.
  8. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Doesn't surprise me either. These guys seem to know very little about canoe history, especially salesman samples, being kinda obscure. Although, it seems to me that canoes are such a HUGE part of Americana, it boggles the mind of the vast ignorance. Come to Michigan and I have to explain canoe building out east like these things were made on Mars, it's pretty unreal. They barely know the name Old Town much less all the others, I get tired of explaining the companies and the interesting history. Noel had a model of mine, and gave it to a guy that helped him one day for helping him with an auction. I bought it from him, painted it, and resold it. They had no clue how much time it took to make it, none. I'm not compairing my work to the masters either. Zack, sometimes we are loners in appreciating thes works of art, most of the time out here, thats the case. Thank God for this club right!!!!! Chin up my friend!!!!!

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