Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • SHOP
  • Appraisals

    Articulated Iron Crayfish attributed to Myochin

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 26, 2003

    Appraised in: Chicago, Illinois

    Appraised by: James Callahan

    Category: Asian Arts

    Episode Info: Chicago, Hour 1 (#801)

    Originally Aired: January 5, 2004

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Animal
    Material: Iron
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $15,000

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (2:08)


    Appraised By:

    James Callahan
    Asian Arts

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: My father collected arms and armor and this was always one of my favorite items.

    APPRAISER: Well, there's a great deal of connection with his collecting and what this object is. This object was probably made by a family called the Myochin and the Myochin were armorists that used to make armor. But it turns out, in the middle part of the 19th century, the feudal system collapsed in Japan and there was no need for these people to do anything. And what they started to do was make tourist objects like this. And this crayfish that you have here is actually made out of iron. And it's completely articulated, totally movable and absolutely naturalistic. This is an exact duplicate of the original little animal... with all these movable parts, and as realistic as it conceivably can be. And in fact, one of the things you notice is that color. That color is actually an artificial color that's been put on it to make it look even more natural. And then, if you reverse the item, and you see the bottom of the piece, you can see all the little articulations and movable parts that would be on a live lobster, but in this case recreated in iron. It's just a spectacular work. Very, very finely done. And one reason why I attribute it to the Myochin is the Myochin were so good that it doesn't seem likely too many other people could have done one of this quality. Now, of course, we get to the inevitable question. What did you think it was worth?

    GUEST: I don't know. Yes, I'm not sure.

    APPRAISER: Well, I sold another piece that was not attributable to the Myochin. It wasn't as fine a quality. And it was a completely articulated dragon and dragons are a much, much more common item. I sold that for $10,000.

    GUEST: Hmm.

    APPRAISER: I would say a conservative price on this one would be $15,000.

    GUEST: Oh... well, great.

    APPRAISER: It's just an incredible piece of workmanship. But all we need for this one is a little bit of cocktail sauce.

    GUEST: Yes.

    WGBH 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.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube