19th-Century Chinese Jade Scepter
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $2,500 (1998)
$50,000 - $80,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:25)
GUEST: It was with a collection of things from China that my father got in payment for doing some electrical work for a Chinese gentleman in Washington, D.C., in about 1957. So I thought it'd be fun to bring it to the Roadshow.
APPRAISER: This is a special Chinese magical scepter. It's called a ruyi scepter, and that means literally "as you wish." It's like a Chinese magic wand.
GUEST: Oh, wow!
APPRAISER: And it is a type of thing you would give as an offering, a gift to someone. An important personage might receive something like this from another equal. And it would be a wonderful present. This particular piece is 19th-century and you have all sorts of wonderful carving on it. It is nephrite jade, which is one of the two types of jade. Here on this end, you have a bat which is a symbol of good luck and very popular in Chinese art. Here-- try to see it-- is a qilin, which is sort of a baby dragon, but it's a mythical animal from Chinese lore. And on this top right here you have a fantastic landscape pattern... I mean, landscape design carved into it, but the whole top section of this is shaped like a lingzhi fungus, which is a fungus of immortality. So this would mean long life and good luck. This is such a fun piece and it's really nice. They make modern ones, but this one is 19th-century. There are earlier ones. This jade is not quite as white as we would like it to be for a nephrite, but it's still a nice color. These items, as you can imagine, are very popular at auction. People love to have them, and there's generally a lot of competition on them. If I were to put this in an auction, I would estimate it at $1,500 to $2,500 as a conservative estimate.
GUEST: That is very good news. Oh, good.
APPRAISER: Did you have any idea of value?
GUEST: Actually, no, never had it appraised or anything. That's a lot of fun.
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