Meiji Metalwork Egret, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $6,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
President and Owner
Castle Fine Arts, Inc.
GUEST: I know very little about it. We've had it about 15 years. We used to have pawnshops, and a gentleman came in and borrowed some money on it and never came back for it. It appeared to have Oriental markings on it, and so we've always wondered what it would be worth.
APPRAISER: May I ask how much did he pawn it for?
GUEST: My husband said he thinks we have about $450 in it.
APPRAISER: And do you know anything else about it? Just been on your mantel ever since?
GUEST: It's been in a... a case ever since.
APPRAISER: In a case. Well, it certainly is Oriental-- it's Japanese. And it's an interesting piece, because it's in the transitional period in Japan, and by that we mean that it's the period of the Meiji Restoration, which began in 1868, when the samurais went out of favor and the government began to look towards the West and look towards taking the craftsmen that had made swords and sword fittings and so forth, and getting them into the Western-influence type of crafts. And this is a good example of one of that period, in which the Japanese would export pieces to the great exhibitions in New York and in Paris and elsewhere. It is signed, but we can't read the signature; the script is not legible. But certainly it is a signed piece, and we think it probably dates from about the 1880s or so.
APPRAISER: And what's interesting is that the body of the bird, the egret, is pure silver, and then the base is bronze. The wonderful juxtaposition here is that you've got this beautiful, smooth presentation of the bird in silver, standing there very elegantly on this rock base, which is bronze, got a very, uh, crafted, natural look to it. It's wonderful craftsmanship. We feel that the value would be between $4,000 and $6,000--
GUEST: Oh, my.
APPRAISER: --if it came up at auction or in a gallery.
GUEST: That's wonderful. That's amazing.
APPRAISER: So it really is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship--
GUEST: It is.
APPRAISER: --of that period.
GUEST: We'll have to lock the cabinet now.
APPRAISER (chuckling): That's a good idea.
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