WHAT'S IT WORTH - A Specialist's Opinion
Each issue our panel of specialists assess the value of readers' items. The service is free and can be accessed via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters and replies will appear in the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure & Profit BEFORE they appear here.
Experts include Damien Kalmar, Stan Prickett and Ian Armstrong.
I'm hoping you can tell me something about this bracelet. It appears to be silver, although there are no markings as far as I can see. It's very well made, and there is an engraving on the front that says: Please return to Tiffany & Co New York 925. Any information would be appreciated.
Thank you, Gwenda M., Wyalong, New South Wales.
The first thing that strikes me about your bracelet, Gwenda, is the lack of quality I would expect in a Tiffany piece. Especially from the back, the quality just isn't there. I have taken your photos to ask a colleague who actually worked for Tiffany, and he doesn't recall such as piece being made in this style. From the photos I would assume that your bracelet is a copy, and for this reason I am not really able to put a value on it.
If it does turn out to be a genuine Tiffany piece, then this is a different story; however, at this stage I would assume it's a copy. It's important to note that the vast majority of Tiffany silver pieces being sold today outside of a Tiffany store on many online auction sites are often copies and the common rule of thumb is, 'If it's too good to be true, then it often is.' This also applies to many Cartier pieces of jewellery and Pandora beads, amongst others
I would appreciate your professional opinion on the following piece - an antique, hand made and decorated glass beer stein, presented to me by a German family member in 1973. Unfortunately this person passed away 30 years ago without providing details of its origin or history. Since then, attempts to gain this information by various research methods have failed to produce any definitive results. It is obviously an antique, as during manufacture, several marks were left in the glass. It has a pontil mark where the foot was broken away from the pontil rod, and horizontal striations running around the glass. The foot is wider than the stein. It measures 180mm high to the top of the lid. I have absolutely no idea what is depicted in the hand painted scene.
I am aware that the German tradition of glass steins reaches as far back as the 16th century and became famous during the 17th and 18th centuries, becoming an object of daily life. Apparently, the traditional glass steins, such as this one, were hand blown using high quality crystal and quartz as the base materials. I would appreciate any information you could provide regarding its age, history and origin, and estimated market and insurance value.
Thank you for considering this matter, it is greatly appreciated. Michael M, via email.
Thanks Michael for the expansive description of your stein. It was made in Germany and would date to the late 18th or early 19th centuries. My best guess is around 1800. My reasons for this attribution are that the hand painted scene is rather crude and is typical of the period; the style of the glass, including the greyish tint and striations in the glass; and the extensive base wear. Striations in glass were often used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a form of decoration, particularly in England.
As you rightly comment, it is hand blown and made from potash, lead or bracken glass. The scene depicts a woman at a well-head, getting water for her flowers with a few crudely painted shrubs in the background. I am unsure of the engraving on the top. They could be the initials of the original owner. As to value, I would suggest a figure of around $1000.
I would be grateful for you comments on my Auguste Moreau bronze/spelter table lamp. The bronze figure is of a lady with a can, watering her flowers. She is also holding some picked flowers in her lifted skirt. The brass plate is inscribed 'la Rosee par Aug Moreau'. The lamp itself is 59cm high and the shade is the original, being pink with flowers engraved on it matching those of the bronze.
The lamp is in good working order and the whole piece is in excellent condition. As well as a valuation, I would appreciate any other information including your comment on the significance of the 'par' preceding the name, and an estimate of the date of manufacture if possible.
Thank you, Charles C., via email.
Your lamp is not rare, Charles, but it's a nice decorative item and is quite attractive. It would not be an original by Moreau, but is one of thousands of copies made in the 20th century of his works because of their appeal and his fame. In remember in the 1970s there were shops full of hundreds of such lamps, newly converted to be lighting from the figures that had originally been produced. 'Par' means 'by' (Moreau) in French. It's not possible to tell from a photo if your item is spelter or bronze; if it can be lifted with one hand it's probably spelter, as bronze is heavier and would require a two-handed lift.
This is a good basic rule of thumb. I believe your lamp was made in the second half of the 20th century and does not date from Moreau's lifetime, however, it does have decorative value and I would suggest it is worth around $500.