Articles

What's It Worth? A Sterling Silver Methodology Conundrum

With the value of silver being so high, items that are extremely heavy don’t carry much premium because the weight of silver tends to make otherwise willing investors have second thoughts.

An Indiana jeweler asked me about the value of eight dinner plates he purchased. He knew they were old, but wanted me to identify and value them. As with many items, this was a real struggle. He paid $3,000, knowing he could scrap them if he had to for a small profit. The plates are very heavy and almost identical.

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What's It Worth? Upward Valuation Journey: A Confederate Pistol

Many years ago, a customer answered one of our ads for antique firearms and brought in an antique percussion revolver (interesting despite its poor condition). According to the paperwork, their ancestor bought it in the 1980s for $3,000. They sold it to us, after negotiations, for $8,000. We knew we were taking a chance because of its poor condition, but it was one of a small handful of guns made for the Confederate army in the 1860s.

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What's It Worth? Illuminated Books and Manuscripts Katrina Hess, licensed auctioneer, was very excited when we bought a miniature “Book of Hours” from a fellow antique dealer for $5,000. While she was keen to auction it, we attempted to sell it privately for a small profit of 10-15%.
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What's It Worth? Art Deco, Asian, and Midcentury Modern Collectibles

There are so many eras, styles and design movements that we could not possibly cover them all in one column. But those noted in the title are three of our favorites.

This last week, we enjoyed another $300,000 auction, headed up by Katrina Hess, Licensed Auctioneer. (No, I do not call her Colonel.) (Well, sometimes ...) We thought we would share a few highlights.

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What's It Worth? Why Your “Awesome Find” Is Probably ... Worthless

Treasure hunting is a national pastime. Miners look for veins of gold or chunks of rare gems. Folks search for buried treasure with their metal detectors and giant, well-funded ships search for 18th century galleons full of gold coins.

Lots of people find treasures, big and small, every day. However, this week, we thought we might shed a little light on those finds that hold little value.

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What's It Worth? The Role of Miniaturization in Watchmaking

When watches were invented, they were the size of a large egg. In fact, one of the first watches ever made, in the late 16th century, was referred to as the Nuremberg Egg.

In the following 200 years, watchmakers strived to make them smaller and smaller, until eventually the goal became to miniaturize watches to the smallest possible size.

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What's It Worth? The Functional, Beautiful Parfleche

We enjoy fine and decorative arts of all types. While Asian art and antiques are taking center stage currently, we still have a soft spot in our hearts for Native American art.  

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What's It Worth? Fabergé Didn’t Just Make Exquisite Eggs

Karl Fabergé (aka Peter Carl Fabergé, also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé), made exquisite, decorative eggs. But that wasn’t all. We have written about his continuing legacy and the companies that still make “Fabergé eggs” in so-called “limited editions” (likely thousands of them produced).

Only about 50 originals were made, with 46 Fabergé’s mark. accounted for. Your chances of ever seeing one, let alone owning one, are slim.

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What's It Worth? Auction Results Can Still Surprise Us

Katrina Hess, a licensed auctioneer, oversaw our $235,000 auction this past week that was heavy in Asian antiques, many of which were consigned to us from an Orlando-area diamond dealer who recently retired to the South of France. Last month we reported on his mid-century modern collection, and this month we sold his Asian collection.

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What's It Worth? The High Price of Restoration

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Ming Dynasty porcelain is not really rare. Some very basic crude cups or bowls, in poor condition and made by “lesser hands” (in auction vernacular), can be had for as little as $50 to $100.

We were thrilled when a Tampa Bay woman paid a visit to our St. Petersburg store telling us she had a Ming “blue and white” statue sculpture of a female immortal. As to provenance, it could not get much better. She said it was sold at Christie’s to her father and she had the exact date of sale!

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