Italian Curio Cabinet, ca. 1680
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (2007)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
GUEST: My grandmother bought it in London right after World War II. My grandfather was stationed in London, and she bought it at some antique shop. That's all I know, and it was an antique at the time.
APPRAISER: Do you know what country of origin?
GUEST: My mother said she thought it was Italy, but we don't know.
APPRAISER: Your mother was absolutely right.
GUEST: All right.
APPRAISER: This is, in fact, a wonderful example of Italian Baroque coin cabinet-- coin cabinet, or actually curio cabinet. It does date from about 1680. A very wealthy merchant or nobleman would have owned this to have their precious medals, coins, and, also, jewelry. Women, in the day, would be wearing pearls in their costumes and throughout their hair, as well as coral; and so, it would have been kept in something like this. It's a 17th-century sort of strongbox, if you will. It has these wonderful marquetry panels, Mm-hmm. in the front. And it has bits of veneer, exotic woods that have been stained or dyed different colors. As you notice here, the grass is green; and that was produced by using a vegetable dye.
APPRAISER: And originally, the sky would have been blue. This wonderful little charming village would have been different colors of stains and hardwoods. It has been altered over the years. It initially would have had a front-cover door, and as you can see here...
GUEST: Oh, yeah. ...
APPRAISER: nd here, they're pinholes,
APPRAISER: and that's where the hinges would have been. The other issue with this particular piece is that these glass panels are added later,
APPRAISER: most likely in the 19th century. The cabinetmaker would have been consistent using the marquetry panels all in the front, and would have continued here. And you would have opened this up, and it would have been like opening Aladdin's cave.
APPRAISER: Because the highlight of the collector's collection would have been in here in the mirrored niche. It could have been a wonderful silver chalice or anything of the like.
APPRAISER: The stand is later.
APPRAISER: It dates from about 1900, although it is keeping within the baroque style. It does have the wonderful barley twist legs. However, the main carcass of it is 17th century. It is Italian, and it is a very rare piece. Because of the condition issues and the alterations, this piece would auction for $3,000 to $5,000.
GUEST: Wow. All right. Great.
APPRAISER: Had it had its original base and the original drawer fronts and that kind of thing-- 10,000 to 15,000.
GUEST: Yeah. sure.
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