Demetre Chiparus Bronze Figure, "Starfish"
Appraised Value: $100,000 - $150,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:02)
Asian Arts, Glass, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
Senior Appraiser-Fine & Decorative Arts
GUEST: It's been in my family for over 40 years. It was purchased by my father when he was in the midst of purchasing a building in downtown Toronto. He had already bought the building. The owner who had his business there said to him if he would like to purchase this statue. And he said that he would very much like to do so, and so an agreement was struck, and he bought it.
APPRAISER 1: And do you remember what he paid for it?
GUEST: Yes, two dollars.
APPRAISER 1: Two dollars, Canadian.
APPRAISER 1: The statue here, which is bronze, ivory and marble, has a signature: D. Chiparus. Now, Demetre Chiparus was a Romanian who studied and worked in Paris, born 1880, died 1950. Most of his work was early in this century, in the '20s. He was very much influenced by the Russian Ballet. Most of his figures are delightful like this with a curvilinear look and an ease that's very appealing to the eye.
APPRAISER 2: This particular model is called “Starfish,” and it was made in three different sizes. This one happens to be the largest, therefore the rarest. His work is so popular that nine out of ten of these that we see are copies. But this one you can tell is original for a number of reasons: the fine quality of the casting, the detail work in the body and also the very, very detailed carving in the face. You can also see fine cracks in the ivory, which is a telltale sign of age.
APPRAISER 1: Sandy, do you have any idea of its value?
GUEST: I've seen articles by this gentleman in auctions, but I have never known what this might be worth.
APPRAISER 1: Usha and I have conferred and feel that very easily this is worth $100,000 to $150,000, American-- U.S. dollars.
GUEST: Oh, my Lord!
APPRAISER 1: So for your two dollars, Canadian, you've gone up quite a bit. And you have a lovely piece of early 20th-century memorabilia.
GUEST: Oh, that's wonderful. Thank you so much, both of you.
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