Jewelry Collection, ca. 1875
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
In this segment appraiser Virginia Salem discusses a collection of cameos, one of which depicts a scene of a mother and children. After the appraisal aired viewers wrote in to point out that that particular scene is actually from a well-known 1514 painting by the Italian Renaissance master Raphael. It is called Madonna della Seggiola or Madonna della Sedia ("Madonna of the Chair") and depicts Mary holding the baby Jesus as a young John the Baptist stands close by. The original work is held in the Pitti Palace in Florence.
Appraisal Video: (2:55)
GUEST: Well, it's been passed down through generations. They were from my great-great-grandmother on one side and also from my great-great-grandmother on the other side.
APPRAISER: Okay. One thing that really stood out for me is the different types of cameos and the different qualities that you have in your collection.
APPRAISER: The first couple cameos are pretty standard cameos. We see tons of cameos on the ROADSHOW. These are the more commercial style cameos that we see from about a hundred years ago, and they're carved out of conch shell, made in southern Italy. And then moving on to the Three Graces, which we have right here, which is also carved out of conch shell in southern Italy and pretty standard quality. Then we're moving on down below here to an intaglio. This is goldstone glass, which you see the shine around the center, and that's a little bit of inlay. It's called "pietra dura" inlay, or "tessera" it's called. And this is also done in Italy. This is not a really fine example. The finer example you would see would be almost like a tiny painting. We can actually see the little inlays right there.
APPRAISER: And moving down, we have a little portrait brooch, and this is made out of porcelain. This is done in Germany. It has a German mark on the back. This is actually angel skin coral carved in Italy as well, around 1900. And the way I can tell that is this has this really lacy frame around there. It's just very delicate and lacy, which is very typical for jewelry made in the early 1900s. Last but not least, we have your wonderful cameo here. Now, what can you tell me about that one?
GUEST: Well, my great-great-grandmother got it around 1918 from a wealthy lady in Fargo who ran into rough times with her family for money, and they needed to sell some of their more valuable items. And she bought that from her.
APPRAISER: Were you ever told what she paid for it?
GUEST: No, we don't know.
APPRAISER: Okay. This is the best cameo you have in your collection.
APPRAISER: It's got a lot of bells and whistles of great carving. It's got some high-relief carving. It's carved out of a conch shell, most likely in Italy, which is where most of the carvers were from and still are to this day. It's of a mother and children, which is a great motif. You have the little curls right here-- that's really desirable. There's no chips on the noses or anything like that that you want to check out when you do see cameos because they're shell.
APPRAISER: So this one is your most valuable one.
GUEST: All right.
APPRAISER: You're probably looking at auction between $500 and $700 for this one alone.
APPRAISER: For the rest of your collection of cameos, which are, like I said, the more commercial types of qualities, these would sell at auction anywhere between $150 each and $200.
APPRAISER: And then these two-- a little bit less. I would say around $75 for the pair, and that's auction estimate.
GUEST: Cool. Thank you.
APPRAISER: You're welcome.
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.