Another nice piece just came in for our $4.95 Yard Sale Valuation Special offer. It’s a lovely little Art Deco Onyx and black Slate cased mantel clock with silvered dial, no big name maker’s mark, but a fun piece dating to the late 1920’s. Examples like this often go at auction for $150.00- $225.00 if in good running order.
We’ve had quite a few people take advantage of Yard Sale Valuation Special offer. This piece is a beauty, What’s it worth? Value at auction $4500.00. It’s a limited edition Lladro figure, “Oriental Horse”, sculpted by Salvador Furio (Spanish, 20th c) It was issued in 1971 and retired in 1986. it had been stored away for over 20 years, a wedding gift never displayed.
The urge of others to “Spring Clean” the house is often a “Sterling Opportunity” for Yard Salers. The result of a winter surrounded by things we no longer want need or taking up too much space sometime leads nto clearing things out without really taking into account their genuine value and letting them go for pennies on the dollar.
In my many years in the business I’ve come across many items at garage and estate sales miss-identified and priced well below even their value at auction. They generally fall under the Decorative Arts and Metal ware categories, but often Furniture and Collectibles as well.
The first on this list is Silver, the majority of under priced items I see these days is worn or damaged silverware and surprisingly the easiest to check and even place a base value on. Items made of silver, such as souvenir teaspoons, tableware, jewellery, and cigarette cases all have a basic floor value based on the weight of the precious metal used in making them. It does not matter what condition the item is in, it has a value as “Scrap silver” by weight if it has any silver content at all.
Determining if the item you have is actually silver and not silver plated is relatively easy, especially if the item was made in North America. All that’s required is to look for the company markings, if the item is silver it could be marked with a numerical stamp, or the word “Sterling”. Sterling Silver is a standard measurement of silver first used in England that indicates the silver content is 92.5% pure silver, the numerical stamp for Sterling is “925” ( 925/1000 ths.pure silver). The other numerical marking you might run into is “800”, indicating a silver content of 80% pure silver. On smaller items such as spoons and jewellery these marking can often be worn or quite small, so a magnifying glass would come in handy when checking for these marks.
With all precious metals, the value for them by weight fluctuates on a daily basis on demand from international markets, which is often listed daily in the financial sections of newspapers and online. As I write this, the daily “Spot” value for Sterling silver scrap is $14.43 a standard ounce. There are several online calculators one can use to determine a base value such as http://www.silverrecyclers.com/Calculators/ster_calculator.aspx . The most common unit used for silver is the “Troy Ounce”, which is approximately 1.0971 Standard ounces, but most scrap silver calculators offer options in more commonly used weight measurements such as Ounces and Grams. To use these calculators is pretty easy, all you have to do is weigh the item on a digital kitchen scale and enter the weight into the calculator and click calculate, it will then show what the current “Melt/Scrap Value” is for the item weighed.
It’s easy to see that the scrap value of just a couple of silver items can add up to a tidy sum, even a very plain sterling silver spoon can weigh over an ounce, a battered sterling teapot could have a scrap value of over $250.00. That said, you should know Silver items of all sorts also can have a value far above it’s basic scrap value. Depending on it’s vintage, style and maker that teapot could have a value ten times its scrap value, so before rushing off to a dealer in scrap silver, call in an Appraiser for a valuation of it’s potential value as a Decorative Arts or Collectible item first.
Free Online Antique Appraisals.. is probably one of the most used search terms for antiques & collectibles on all the major search engines. As I write this today, just on Google alone searching for Free Appraisals pulls up 17,240,000 results… While this may seem like a great thing for people trying to find out what their antiques or collectibles are worth, most of them break down to the following four types:
“Click Bait” Free Appraisal sites loaded with links that take you to other Click Bait sites…they get paid every time you click a link.
Auctions Sites, they will provide free appraisals for items they think they can sell, but generally only for items worth more than $1000.00
Antique Forums, thousands of postings from people looking for free appraisals, very few of them getting any response…and full of adds
Dealers Sites, they will provide a valuation, but the value they quote you to buy it is not an appraisal, it’s 30-50% of what they would sell it for.
In reality most of these sites are not in the business to provide free appraisals, but to sell advertising, or get stock at wholesale values. In the case of auction houses and dealers the initial appraisal might be free, but commissions they charge you to sell your item can be as high as 25%.
Of the ones where you actually might get an appraisal for free are the Antique Forums. The problem with forums of this type is you have no idea that the information received is accurate, after all, expert appraisers are in high demand and do not work for free. If you do get a response to your request it will probably be dozens of others saying they’ve got one “just like yours” and asking you “have you found out what it was worth yet”…….
So, the reality is there really are no free appraisals, you pay either with the time you spend searching, clicking and waiting, selling your item at an extreme discount or commission fees at time of sale.
At Antique-Appraise.com we don’t provide free appraisals, but appraisals are our only business. If you are really are interested in finding out what your item is worth quickly, easily and at a reasonable cost click here….we promise there will be no advertising…
I rolled out as new service this week, a quick evaluation service for $4.95 by text or email for clients that are:
-Clearing an relative’s estate or selling an inherited piece
-Trying to decide what to get rid of or what to keep
-Worried about selling a valuable item too cheap
We’ve had three clients who’ve use this new service, one almost listed a $3500.00 clock in a neighbor’s yardsale for $150.00, another has Chinese “Mutton Fat” Buddha from an estate sale boxlot that could go for $500.00
Every now and again one runs into unmarked pottery and china that only bears a signature and a date. Pieces like this plate seem to grab the interest more from my clients than well marked pieces by big name makers such as Sevres or Meissen. It’s the mystery of it all I suppose, the single signature and a date offering an irresistible pull.
This plate pictured is one such item, marked ” Jasmine Kain 95″. While there is no company marking, this piece originated in Limoges France, it’s painted in the floral Art Nouveau-style which was near its peak during the turn of the 19th century. The number “95” in my opinion indicates the year 1895.
Limoges was the home of many porcelain companies during the last quarter of the 19th Century, Companies located here produced pieces decorated within their own potteries and those sold as undecorated ” Whiteware” blanks to Schools and Decorating studios. A great deal of these undecorated blanks were made for the export market, chiefly to the USA.
Much of this “white ware” were hand-painted by Students in pottery studio’s located Europe and North America. Referred to as “China painting,” at the time , it was a popular hobby from the last quarter of the 19th Century until the First World War. Sadly, the pieces decorated in most of these studios and the artists who decorated them were very seldom documented. Often the only way such pieces can be identified is if there is a family provenance to the Artist, such as letters or labels some relation has taped to the piece.
In my humble opinion this plate was decorated in North America but, sadly, as is the case with many of these bits of hand painted Limoges, I have no listing for the artist “Jasmine Kain” in any of the databases or text references used to identify signatures or monograms for porcelain decorators.
The majority of these signed Limoges plates are “one of a kind ” items, but they are not rare. While not mass produced, such pieces were made in large numbers, so values are still modest for them. In the current market, comparable hand-painted Limoges based trinket boxes of this period and style often sell at auction for less than $75.00
It’s hard not to smile looking at a “Laughing Buddha”, nickname for the Buddhist figure also known as “Budai” or “Hotei”. The Budai’s can be found in many temples, in paintings, as carvings or statues.
Figurines of the Laughing Buddha have been made in virtually every material known to man from bone to solid gold. He is nearly always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname. This happy Budai has become a patron of the weak, poor and children, also as figure of abundance. In modern times he has become a sort patron saint of restaurateurs.
This Buddha is based on a wandering Liang Dynasty (502-557) Chinese monk, but he appears in Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto culture. The Hotei is usually shown carrying a sack which is filled with many precious items, which like a cornucopia never empties of food and candy for children. In Japanese folklore, this Buddha is one of the Seven “Shichi Fukujin” (Lucky Gods), he is also used as a symbol of good fortune his figure strategically located in the Feng Shui method of decorating.
The Laughing Buddha figurines were not only made in China, but have been produced in Europe since the mid 18th Century , notability by the famous Meissen porcelain works in the mid-1700s. The example pictured here is a modern Chinese example, most often seen in Chinese restaurants. this one was made during the 1980’s.
Values for Laughing Buddha’s vary depending on size and quality, an early Meissen example can sell at auction for over $8000.00. For those of us with smaller bank accounts there are a lot of other options, a late one like the one pictured often go for less than $75.00, even some late 19th Century examples caqn be found going for less than $200.00.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Art Deco, particularly the Rosenthal porcelain figural groups of the period. It’s also a good place for Collectors interested in this period
because there it’s still possible to pick up some great pieces at relative;ly most prices at auction or even yard sales if you don’t mind a bit of digging.
The piece shown here is a good example it’s a group by Rosenthal, marked “H.Meisel” for the original artist who designed this piece, Hugo Meisel (1887-1966). Meisel’s pieces were designed at the peak of the Art Deco period, he worked for Rosenthal in 1936 and 1937. Meisel also created pieces for several other porcelain works during the Deco period, such as Heubach, Aelteste Volkstedter, and Schwarzburger. The Rosenthal company back stamp on this piece indicates this one dates to mark on this piece dates to 1937.
Like a great many other sculptors of the period, Meisel work depicted his figural groups and figures in active poses, almost like stop motion, freezing a moment in time portrayed , like can bee seen in this “Blackamoor” figure. Meisel did not limit himself just to human studies, but is just ans well known for his designs including \Horses, birds and dogs. Not all pieces by him are bargains, some of the larger figural groups have listed with auction pre-sale estimates in the $1000-$1500.00 range and consistently hitting those targets. There are still bargains to be had though, it still not that hard to find individual figures by Meisel like this “Blackamoor” sometimes selling at auction for less than $200.00.
Mike Wilcox is a Professional Appraiser and Consultant
who specializes in 19th Century Furniture & Decorative Arts
Sometimes the term Limited edition gets thrown around so much it’s regarded as not meaning much in terms of value. While this view might apply to things like Elvis liquor decanters or Collectors plates, there are many exceptions, like the bronze pictured here. It bucks the odds because it truly is a limited edition item and very high quality. This particular piece is based on the work of Romain de Tirtoff (1892-1990), who was probably one of the first to market himself in the 20th Century by a singular nickname, in his case ” Erté ” after the way his initials “R.T.” sound in French.
Erte, who had been a major figure in costume and set design as far back as 1915 until the 1930’s had been out of the limelight for a great many years when the the interest in Art Deco design was revived in the late 1970’s. He was approached in 1977 by Fine Art Acquisitions to produce a line of serigraphs and bronze figures based on his original designs, some of which he had originally produced for the well known Harper’s Bazaar magazine Circa 1915-37.
The first bronze figure was titled “Victoire,” making its appearance in 1980, just one of over 60 models to be offered. The one pictured here was titled “Julietta, issued as part of an edition of only 500 in 1987, which lists retail in Galleries that specialize in 20th Century bronzes in the $18,000.00- $22,000.00 range, but often being brokered for less than $6,000.00. Occasionally these Erte’s will go at auction for less than $1500.00 when mistaken for other mass produced “Limited Edition” bronzes from the 1980’s, so keep your eyes open for a bargain.
Often if a “Lalique” item is not it’s cracked up to be there is often the idea it’s a ” fake” or appraised as a near worthless modern reproduction. In some cases this might be true, but it’s not always the case. Pieces like the one pictured are often described as “Unmarked, probably Lalique”, simply because it’s in the Art Deco style and is frosted or etched glass similar to the work of the famous french glass works of Rene Lalique.
The truth of the matter is many of these “Unmarked Lalique’s” are not actually fakes or even repro’s. The reality is that most of them date within the same time frame as genuine Lalique glassware, but made by now lesser known makers looking to cash in on a popular decorating item of the time, “Frosted” or “Etched” glass. As Lalique’s work was highly popular, other companies were soon to follow their lead and produce similar items to grab some share of the market. A great deal of glassware similar to Laliques was produced in glass works in Czechoslovakia, much of it only bearing paper or foil labels. Similar glass was also made by other French firms as well, such as Verlys, Sabino and Etling.
The piece pictured here is not Lalique, or even French, it’s a Czechoslovakian piece by the firm of Heinrich Hoffmann (1875-1939) . Like much of the Lalique style glassware coming out of Czechoslovakia during the 1920’s quality was often very good, some very much on par with Laliques, or even better in my opinion. Hoffmann was a contemporary of Lalique’s, beginning like Lalique at the turn of the 20th century, producing Art Nouveau-style glass and branching off into Art deco after World War One. Hoffmann’s glass was marked, engraved an open winged butterfly marking or wheel engraved signature, but such markings can be easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for. In terms of value, the pieces by quality makers like Hoffmann can be quite high, even at auction presale appraisal estimates for a Hoffmann piece like this can easily run in the $300.00-$600.00 USD range.