The time has arrived! Many of you have been asking about the answers to the appraisal game we invited audiences to play during The Price. Throughout the run, we asked you to guess the prices that a professional auctioneer would pay for the items in our lobby, as well as what the most expensive item was.
Before I give out the answers (I have kept these completely hidden even from my fellow Company and Staff members so there could be no cheating!), I want to give some more background on the specifics of the appraisal and the items in the lobby.
The scenic designer (Brian Sidney Bembridge) and props designers (Amy Peter and Mary O’Dowd) worked very closely on this show to transform the lobby of the theatre into the 19th century New York Victorian brownstone of Arthur Miller’s The Price. What’s important to remember about the furniture that we collected versus the furniture that the characters in the play would have collected: Ours was mostly early 20th century, while theirs would have been mostly mid- to late-19th century. Almost all of our furniture came from the prop departments at DePaul and Northwestern universities, and while much of it is “true” furniture—meaning it is not a reproduction or made for the stage—it is primarily mass-produced pieces. The furniture that the characters in the play are selling would have been true antiques (more than 100 years old), would have been purchased for a hefty price considering the wealth of the family, and would have definitely included many one-of-a-kind items.
When all was said and done, Corbin gave me the piece of paper with all his calculations on it.
What he wrote down was the retail value of the furniture, and it looked pretty good actually—almost every item coming in at $100 or more. But then came the bad news. An auctioneer needs to make money, and they will have to store and deliver this furniture. That means they will offer about a third to half of the actual retail cost. The most shocking thing to me was that the numbers were surprisingly close to the numbers in the play (which is set almost 50 years ago). Again, it is important to remember that this furniture is very different from the furniture Arthur Miller describes. I suspect our numbers would have been much higher had we been able to find 19th century pieces!
Now here they are, the answers to the questions posed in The Price appraisal game:
- What is the price that Leslie Hindman Auctioneers would pay to obtain the entire collection? $5,000
- What is the price that Leslie Hindman Auctioneers believes the collection could sell for at Auction? $13,500
- What single item was appraised at the highest value? The harp
- What is the price that Leslie Hindman Auctioneers would pay to obtain that item (and what would they estimate that item selling for)? $2,500 (buy) / $5,000+ (sell)
Congratulations to those of you who guessed right on the harp! For those who got the actual numbers right—that verges on wizardry! And for everyone, I hope this proved as interesting and fun for you as it was for us. Thank you for participating.