Louis Comfort Tiffany Vase, ca. 1897
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:56)
GUEST: I brought a vase that my mother-in-law gave me about 20 years ago, and she picked it up while she was looking for antiques in the Austin area.
APPRAISER: About when? Do you know?
GUEST: Probably in the mid-'60s, I would imagine. That was one of the hobbies that she had, so I trust her judgment that it was, if not famous, at least maybe a quality piece.
APPRAISER: You've looked it over, I'm sure, very carefully.
GUEST: I have.
APPRAISER: And you notice that it has some markings on the bottom.
GUEST: It has initials, it looks like, and some numbers, I believe. I saw an "L" and the rest of it was kind of indistinct.
APPRAISER: So you have no idea what it is?
GUEST: Well, I've seen vases like it. It looks like a Tiffany that I've seen before. It has the same base to it. So I'm hoping that it's kind of like that era, maybe.
APPRAISER: It does say "L.C.T. on the bottom, and it has a group of numbers. Those initials are for "Louis Comfort Tiffany."
GUEST: It is a Tiffany.
APPRAISER: It is a Tiffany vase, right. And the fact that it doesn't look like every other Tiffany vase is what happens, because they were free-blown, handmade, and each one is a little different from another.
GUEST: The ones I've seen all had a floral pattern. This looked like fish scales.
APPRAISER: Well, it does, doesn't it? It has that sort of look to it. I don't think that was what they were going for when they made this vase, but Tiffany did make a lot of things that were from nature. This one has a good iridescence to it. It's fairly early for Tiffany-- I would say before the turn of the century-- that is, before 1900, about 1897, '96. The numbers on the bottom can give you a better clue, but many of those numbers were used simply as inventory. You can see that on the inside, there are some rings of... essentially, dirt. You could clean it with dish liquid, and a little warm water. You don't want to put anything abrasive in it that will make the problem worse than it is now. But if you wanted to have it cleaned out, you could send it to a professional restorer and they would clean it with some proper material and you'd get a little more luster to it, a little more shine to it.
APPRAISER: As it is now, if we put it at auction, I think we'd estimate at $3,000 to $5,000. And it could very well bring more than that. It's a good-sized vase.
GUEST: It's been sitting in my living room. (laughing)
APPRAISER: If it were restored, its value would be around $5,000. It would not be expensive to send it to a professional restorer. You could probably have it done very nicely for less than $100. I thought it was, like, "in the style of," but I had no idea that it was... the real thing. I'm amazed. It's really worth that much?
APPRAISER: It's really worth that much.
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