Décorchemont Glass, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000 (1997)
$1,000 - $1,500 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:02)
GUEST: Well, it originally belonged to an antique dealer in Pittsburgh, and he would never sell it. But when he passed away they had an auction, and I was bound and declared I was going to go to that auction, and I did, and I bought it at the auction. That's about maybe 35 years ago.
APPRAISER: And when did you first see it in his... in his shop?
GUEST: Probably in the early '60s, I would think.
APPRAISER: Do you remember what you paid for it when you bought it at the auction?
GUEST: I think I paid $120 for it.
APPRAISER: Really? What's exceptional about it is it's by Décorchemont. Um... it is French. It's from the 1920s, and it is made in a technique that we call pate de verre. And pate de verre is made by a very interesting process that is unlike other glass techniques. It's essentially made from ground pastes of glass. That ground glass in various colors is put into the mold and then it is baked in an oven until it gets into this form. There are inclusions that come about-- often you don't get crisp detail. It has the scarabs on it, which in the 1920s, with the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb and other Egyptian monuments, there was a great deal of fascination with all things that were somewhat Egyptian inspired. And what's astonishing about this piece is the detail is exceptionally strong with the long lines coming down from the scarabs. There are very few bubble inclusions and the color is very, very strong, which is also very important in the pate de verre in the Décorchemont pieces. If this piece were sold at auction and it were in perfect condition, it would sell for approximately $18,000 to $24,000 today. It's the sort of piece that we would expect in pate de verre to break a record because of the fineness of the piece, the quality...
GUEST: But it is not perfect.
APPRAISER: Unfortunately, that is the case. And one will see that through the lower portion of the body of this piece, it is obviously broken straight through. I mean, I shouldn't say it's broken, it has cracked. It goes around the piece over the signature-- and there is the signature that you see.
GUEST: And there are some chips on the...
APPRAISER: There are some small chips, but they're not terribly significant. But obviously, the crack going around the structure of the piece would be a problem. At auction today, I would think that one might get $2,000 or $3,000 for it. It's very difficult when glass has been broken to determine exactly how much it might sell for. It becomes a much smaller market.
GUEST: I see.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.