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    French Benjamin Franklin Bronze, ca. 1870

    Appraised Value:

    $4,000 - $6,000 (1999)

    Updated Value:

    $4,000 - $6,000 (2013)

    Appraised on: August 14, 1999

    Appraised in: Columbus, Ohio

    Appraised by: Eric Silver

    Category: Metalwork & Sculpture

    Episode Info: Columbus (#1827)
    Columbus (#401)

    Originally Aired: January 10, 2000

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 3 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Sculpture
    Material: Bronze
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $4,000 - $6,000 (1999)
    Updated Value: $4,000 - $6,000 (2013)

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    Appraisal Video: (2:12)


    Appraised By:

    Eric Silver
    Metalwork & Sculpture
    Lillian Nassau, LLC

    Appraisal Transcript:
    APPRAISER: You have a French bronze of Benjamin Franklin that you bought in England.

    GUEST: Yes, I did.

    APPRAISER: Tell me how you acquired it.

    GUEST: I went to an antique fair there, and the dealer had this. And because it's an American, I thought it should come back to America.

    APPRAISER: It's a great depiction of Benjamin Franklin. He's certainly known as a statesman. He's known for being involved in the Declaration of Independence and writing the Constitution of the United States, but one of his major roles in the 18th century was as a scientist. And here he's depicted seated next to this apparatus, which is an electrostatic generating machine. And of course, Franklin was very known for his experiments with electricity-- the famous kite in the storm with the key-- and he received worldwide recognition for that. And this device that he's shown with is his electrostatic generator, and it's very clearly modeled and shown. It actually has this disk which is rotated with these pads that sort of scrape off electrons. It's stored, and then when it's touched here, a spark is shown. So it's really quite an extraordinary device. It was very popular in the 18th century, and even into the 19th century, people would have these and they would do experiments. They might do parlor games and parlor tricks based on static electricity. The bronze is very nicely cast. It's highly detailed. Franklin is shown in this very luxurious garment on a wonderful Rococo-style throne. He was in France during the revolution. He was very, very popular. So again, it's interesting this bronze is from the mid-19th century, made in France, and they're celebrating him as a scientist rather than as a statesman. You bought it from a dealer. About what did you pay for it?

    GUEST: About 1,000.

    APPRAISER: Well, it's really a wonderful piece. It's very unusual. It would appeal to a whole range of collectors, and I think at auction, I would actually estimate it in the $4,000 to $6,000 price range.

    GUEST: Ah, very nice.

    APPRAISER: Okay?

    GUEST: Yes. Thank you.

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