Life
Man Can’t Contain His Emotions When He Discovers Value Of Parents’ Vintage Painting
His family had cherished the nautical painting for years. Turns out, it was worth a life-changing amount of money as well.
Elijah Chan
09.13.21

Family heirlooms pack a lot of worth as far as sentimental value is concerned, but sometimes, they can rack up a six-digit price tag.

In PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, they identify the true monetary worth of these family treasures. The 19-time Emmy Award-nominated show is one of PBS’s most-watched ongoing series and is in its 25th season in 2021.

In one of the show’s stops, they explored the story of a painting of swashbuckling sailors during the Age of Sail.

The 36-by-30 inch oil painting, named “Claghorn by the Rail”, was created in 1923 by Wilmington artist Frank Earle Schoonover as an illustration for Ralph D. Paine’s book “Privateers of 76,” that was published in Philadelphia. It was in the possession of Denis Chandler and was once owned by his parents.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

But the painting almost didn’t make it to the show.

According to Delaware Online, when Antiques Roadshow announced that it would film at Winterthur Museum, Chandler applied to win a ticket in the show’s lottery. Unfortunately, he failed to clinch the prize.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

Then, the team behind the show asked Chandler to send a picture of something he’d like to share with them for the show. He sent a photo of an artful nouveau furniture but was also declined.

A few weeks later, the team sent an invite once more. They asked him to tell a story about a piece he owns.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

It was then that Chandler thought of the painting and the love story that went along with it.

In the show, Chandler recalled:

“My mother wanted to give my father a gift that he would really love. And he loved reading to his children books that had illustrations.”

This affinity for book illustrations exposed his father to the art of the Brandywine School where Schoonover was a part of. The Brandywine School was well known for storybook illustrations, especially when newer technologies in printing introduced visually aided storytelling.

Today, we're celebrating Frank E. Schoonover's 139th birthday! This painting by Schoonover is one of our favorites in…

Posted by Delaware Art Museum onFriday, August 19, 2016

Chandler’s mother, knowing well how much her husband loved these illustrations, saved $5 every week for about two years so she could get him a work from Schoonover.

The painter himself pointed to their family the stack of paintings they could choose from. His father chose Serial 1248: “Claghorn at the Rail”

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

Chandler admitted that he couldn’t remember as much when Debra Force, the show’s appraiser, started the interview but when he and his brothers watched the episode they were all in tears. They all missed their parents and they were fortunate enough to still own a piece that told their love story.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

But what also brought tears to Chandler’s eyes was when Force revealed how much the painting would cost today.

She pointed out the authenticity of the piece through the illustration’s serial number and a handwritten label on the back. The painting which was bought for $300 was appraised for a whopping $125,000.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

The amazing painting was displayed at the Delaware Art Museum.

Chandler hopes that with the painting and his parents’ story, people would be inspired to do something nice for someone they treasure.

YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Antiques Roadshow PBS

Watch how this art owner struggled to hold back tears when he discovered the price tag of the art he’s holding!

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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