French Court Harp by Naderman, ca. 1776
Appraised Value: $60,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: ()
GUEST: It was offered at an estate sale. They were having a silent auction. At the request of one of my harp student's mothers, I went over to check the harp out because she wanted to know, "Would this be suitable for my daughter to take her lessons on?" So I ran over to the home and I looked at the harp and I said, "Oh, it's, like, really an antique. It's not anything for a student." It couldn't even be strung to pitch. So the next morning, I called the woman who had been running the estate sale and I said, "I need to get that harp. That's such a beautiful harp, and I'm a harpist, and I don't want to share it with people." I said, "Is there any way I could be in touch with the person who won the silent bid?" and she said, "That person's an antique dealer. Maybe we can work out a deal." And I was able to purchase the harp.
APPRAISER: Wow. And how much did you pay for it?
GUEST: I paid $2,400 for it, and I was so happy to have it.
APPRAISER: Naderman was born in Freiburg in Germany in 1735, and in 1778, he was made harp maker to Marie Antoinette, who was then the Queen of France. Here on this side here, you can see the Naderman stamp. Now, I think that the instrument is probably made around 1776.
APPRAISER: The reason for that is, here on the soundboard, it has roses. Rose Bertin, who was the maker of all of the French costumes for the court, kind of set the fashion for the period, so 1776 was the year of the rose.
APPRAISER: And you often find this on these French instruments. They have an association with a particular year.
GUEST: Oh, that's interesting.
APPRAISER: The soundboard is painted in the royal workshops probably by some of the best painters of the period. Here on the front of the instrument, this is a replacement, but originally this would have had the French coat of arms, the fleur-de-lis. So we know it's a royal harp. It was made for one of the royal family. These fleur-de-lis were taken off after the Revolution because it was illegal to hold them.
GUEST: Interesting, that is.
APPRAISER: It has its original feet down here. It's very unusual to find the original feet. These are the pedals that are responsible for raising the pitch on the strings through the hook mechanism. There's a whole complicated mechanism that goes from here up the center of the pillar, into the console, and, um, I can't get it open. If we could get it open, we might see that there's a name of the owner inside or some other details that would enable us to date it even better. So it needs a little bit more discovery to find out more about it, but basically it's a fabulous example and it does have some of its original strings. And the value of it today, if I was going to sell it, would be $60,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow. That's a lot, wow. That's great.
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