20th-Century Bakelite Purses & Bracelet
Appraised Value: $9,000 - $10,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:45)
APPRAISER: Kathie, when we think about antiques, we normally don't think about plastics.
GUEST: I know.
APPRAISER: And that's what you brought us here are Bakelite, which is an early form of plastic, a phenol-formaldehyde. Uh, tell me, how did you get these things?
GUEST: You know, I'm a collector and I just... I love purses, and these are three of my favorite. I have more at home but I think these are three of the best. And I just, I think they're cool and I love Art Deco stuff.
APPRAISER: Well, really this is like the quintessential Art Deco look. We wonder often where the word "Bakelite" comes from and it's from 1908. A man called L.H. Baekeland got the patent for Bakelite, and that's where we get the name Bakelite from. And here we have three examples of terrific purses. These have become very collectible over the past couple years. Uh, we've seen an increased value in radios and other Bakelite items. Um, sometimes they're marked, like this first one, which is by Llewellyn. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're just great style, like this one. Um, but purses like this run for between about $500 to about $1,000 to about $1,500.
APPRAISER: So, you've really done a…
APPRAISER: ...just a great job. But tell me a little bit about how you got this bracelet.
GUEST: Um, Mrs. Bard lived just down the block from my parents, and she was elderly, and my parents would do the lawn and the light would go out and my dad would go down and fix it, and they just became very good friends and took good care of her. She passed away. Um, people from back East came and kind of went through everything and took most everything in the house. My mom went down to clean, and this was there. And the people that were there said, "You know, take this, throw it away, do whatever you want with it. We don't want it." So Mom said, "You know what? Take it." So she did, and then she gave it to me.
APPRAISER: Oh wow, it's really quintessential design, its style is called the Philadelphia style. It's a very classic Bakelite design. And, um, do you have any idea what something like that might be worth?
APPRAISER: No-- well, I'm going to say conservatively, it's worth between $6,000 and $8,000.
GUEST: No way!
APPRAISER: And I've asked a couple of other experts here, and we feel it could be even worth a little bit more than that.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh! I just can't believe... Yay! This is so cool! Oh, thank you so... Am I allowed to hug you or is that not a good thing? Thank you so much! Oh, my gosh. Okay, that is so cool! Oh, my gosh. Oh, thank you so much!
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 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.