English Victorian Insect Collage
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (1:57)
Decorative Arts, Metalwork & Sculpture
Vice President & Appraisals Department Director, Generalist Appraiser, Furniture and Decorative Arts
GUEST: I bought it in London... I think it was in 1991.
APPRAISER: And you bought it with a group of other things, you said.
GUEST: I bought two other items with it.
APPRAISER: And what did you pay for it at that time?
GUEST: Um... all three items this and a book of pressed flowers and an edition of Spenser's "The Faerie Queen," was printed about 1700... $400 as I remember.
APPRAISER: For the whole grouping?
APPRAISER: Well, when you opened this up, we were amazed what we saw here. At first, when you opened it up, I thought I was looking at some glass beads. And then of course as I looked down, I saw all of these wonderful scarabs and these wonderful butterflies and moths. And this was made during the Victorian period in England somewhere in the 1860s, 1870s. They had a tremendous culture for nature at that time. The English did stuffed fish, they did exotic birds. I can't tell you the name of all these beetles here, but I think they're possibly from all different parts of the world. It's in remarkable condition. It's in a beautiful mahogany case, which is so typical of these Victorian pieces. With hinges, and it has the latches on the side. But we thought this should be carefully preserved. Maybe possibly not hanging on a wall, but maybe down flat. As you can see, we've got a couple little scarabs here that are falling off--
APPRAISER: --and dropping down into the case here. But all in all, it's still in remarkable condition and it's truly one of a kind. What do you think the fair market value would be on this piece?
GUEST: You know, I have no idea. All I know is that I actually was not going to buy it, and I walked about a block away, and I stopped and thought, "I'll never forgive myself if I don't go get that."
APPRAISER: Well, I'm glad you went back. I would say, fair market, auction value-- between $2,000 to 3,000. But we think that at a natural auction for exotic nature things, this might even do considerably better. But thank you. This is really a fun piece.
GUEST: You bet. Thanks.
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