What it's Worth

What's It Worth? Gifts from Juan Perón to his Personal Physician

We received a call from a California jeweler with an incredible estate. A relative of the infamous doctor James Poppen — and a dear friend and confidant of Juan Perón, the president of Argentina — had decided to sell Poppen’s estate. It is hard to assign value because of the heavy gold content, so we were able to purchase at 25 percent over gold. While the retail value on each piece might be in the high hundreds to thousands, we were able to buy the entire collection for $15,000.

What's It Worth? Tokens and American History

At various times during our country’s illustrious history, private entities have issued tokens to be used by their own clientele, or in the case of local government, by their citizens.

What's It Worth? To Clean Or Not To Clean

One of the most enduring debates in the world of fine art and collectibles is more nuanced than just whether or not to clean an item.

This controversial subject is generally debated in a cerebral and studious manner among aficionados, experts, collectors and academics. But often the discussion turns ugly. I have never seen fisticuffs or weaponry used, but believe me, the discussion is passionate.

What's It Worth? Magical Art Nouveau

As merchants, we like to make a profit – but we made a decision 20 years ago to make a little profit on every sale instead of doubling our money on each one. This has always worked for us, and because of that, we try to buy more expensive things in the $2,000 to $100,000 range. The reason is that working on small profits on low-priced items doesn’t work well in 2020 because overhead is staggering.

What's It Worth? The Esthetic Silver Movement

While silver value has suffered over the past few years because of changing tastes and less formality, one of the few styles that command prices above silver value are from the esthetic silver period.

This movement was an artistic reaction to the starkness of the Victorian age and celebrated art for art’s sake. Works were often characterized by flourishes and unusual shapes. Popular during this time was the medallion style, which showcases a face or head of a person (or goddess or other entity) in cameo form.

What's It Worth? A Case of Sketchy Provenance

In the world of miniature provenance, this should be a real winner! It is an example of American miniature art and even has handwritten provenance. Add to that it is early American, circa 1840, and is of Southern origins. Southern-state items tend to bring a huge premium among collectors.

What's It Worth? Comic Book Collections

I first started collecting comics 1978 when comic book collecting was in its golden years, and there were shops on almost every city corner. My personal preference was for Steve Gerber, who did Howard the Duck and other unusual comics; plus Jack Kirby, who wrote Captain America, Thor and others. Back then, we kept our comics mostly unread in plastic sleeves.

What's It Worth? Brown is Down

My, how things have changed. For true aficionados who follow the antiques market, this isn’t new — but many may be surprised that brown is down.

What's It Worth? The Enduring Artistry of Judaica

Like most collectors, collectors of Judaica are extremely aggressive and seek out items all over the globe with energy and urgency. Judaica collectors, though, typically have a more in-depth and passionate knowledge of the items they collect. Most of the time, the older the Judaica, the more valuable. Often its value is more historic in nature; sometimes it’s because of its artistry. A New Mexico jeweler sent us these five pieces to sell to us.

What's It Worth? Rare, Fragile Pewter

While pewter items are as rare as silver and make for terrific collectibles, pewter’s valuation has always been lacking. Early American, English and continental pewter are readily available in the marketplace.