Judaic Etrog Box, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000 (1997)
$4,000 - $6,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
GUEST: It's an etrog box that my father had found in the garbage, that someone had thrown out, and my mother suggested he leave it there and he took it home instead and cleaned it up. And ever since then, he's used it.
APPRAISER: Was this on the East Coast or out here in Phoenix?
GUEST: On the East Coast, in New York.
APPRAISER: It's a pretty unusual thing. I'll show people the writing a little bit. It has a Hebrew inscription. And what's really neat about this is that the silver has been cut out and applied down. It looks like basically scrap silver that's been used. If you look closely, each of the patterns is a little bit different. And these are marked sterling in different places. And how it opens is... Like this. And what this basically... I'm sure, as you know, etrog is part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and it's sort of a citron-like fruit. And it's got lamb's wool here. The fruit would sit snugly inside here. It was meant to keep it from getting bruised. It's sort of traditional with Jewish ceremonial art to decorate these boxes, and this is a pretty unusual, I think one-of-a-kind kind of thing. And it looks like maybe somebody who had been involved in either the scrap business or something like that because all of these pieces... this looks like it's a handle from something. Some of the silver up in front-- I don't know if you noticed it has engraved decoration. It looks like it may have been cut from something else. And this is sort of like a Bakelite or plastic backing. Do you know what time frame your father would have come by this?
GUEST: We came by it in the early '50s, and the person that it belonged to, she said it belonged to her father. I don't know if he brought it here from Russia.
APPRAISER: With the sterling marks, I think it's probably made in this country.
GUEST: It would have to have been quite a ways back.
APPRAISER: Yeah, I would think probably maybe sometime after the 1920s. And etrog boxes, I've seen them in wood and in silver and some of them are fruit-shaped, some are made of textiles. This is certainly the most unusual one I've come across. And I would think this could bring upwards of $2,000, $3,000-- a fair amount of money.
APPRAISER: It's quite a nice piece. I'm glad you brought it here.
GUEST: Yeah, and my mother was yelling, "Don't take it out of the garbage."
APPRAISER: Well, good thing you did.
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