Silver Saint Catherine of Alexandria Statue
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $100,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (4:17)
GUEST: It's something I've had for about 30 years. I found it in an antique show in Houston about 30 years ago and bought it from a dealer who I believe was from Boston.
APPRAISER: And what did he tell you about it?
GUEST: He was of the impression that it was a late medieval European statue, Western European. And I've drawn the conclusion that it's probably either French or Flemish and that it probably dates from circa 1450 to about 1500.
APPRAISER: Okay, and what made you think that?
GUEST: The mode of carving-- the angularity. The very tight curls, the drapery, the technique of constructing the statue. The fact that it's silver with possibly a gold wash.
APPRAISER: Well, it really is wonderful studying art like this. Now, let's talk a little bit about this fine figure of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, out of silver, and what we can tell about her just by looking. She has a beautiful face that is the elongated style that is typical of Flemish and Renaissance works of maybe Germanic or even French origins. She has the elongated neck significant and indicative of that era. A "mannerist" movement as they called it. She has the attributes of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. She was an Egyptian woman, well-educated. She was attempted to be martyred by the wheel, as you see here, because she had criticized the emperor, and he is shown being downtrodden in kind of an archaic fashion. The book to show how educated she is. She's got jewels in her crown. Typical of a rendition of a Renaissance figure. If we turn to the back of the statue... See the beautiful workmanship in the silver here? The carving in the hair. This piece would have been made with one piece of metal that was hammered around a wax or resin mold. And you can see the seam mark that goes down right here. Just beautiful, beautiful Renaissance style renditions. But yet we're a little concerned about the authenticity of it because of a couple of problem issues. This little lady has made it around to about five people. You notice this stone here. This stone is a little off-colored for something that old. In the front-- her mouth, although it has the elongated and flattened features of a Renaissance figure, this is a devotional, popular patron saint of the era. Her mouth would have been wider-- it would have been more widespread. It would have been less of a pouty, Clara Bow type of a mouth. Her hand also doesn't have the mannerist traits of that elongation that is shown with her neck. So these are things that are making us think that maybe it is a slightly later copy, not necessarily a forgery or a bad attempt, just an artist's rendition, possibly a 17th-century copy of this Renaissance piece that would have basically been indicative of a style from 1450. What do you think it's worth?
GUEST: I-I still am inclined to disagree with you there because I've seen a number of medieval statues with smaller hands, although the angular hand was more common. And as far as the stones go, I'm not that familiar.
APPRAISER: I really feel that this is a piece that needs some more research, some more homework than we were able to give it here. If it is indeed a 17th-century piece, then we could say that a really reasonable well-placed auction price would be $4,000 to $5,000. However, if this is actually an authenticated Renaissance figure, we could say that this could be a $100,000 piece of art.
GUEST: And that's a wonderful thing. That I didn't expect... even if it were the original vintage.
APPRAISER: Well, thank you so much for bringing it to the Roadshow. It just made my day.
GUEST: Well, thank you very much.
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