Dieppe Ivory Group, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:45)
Metalwork & Sculpture
Lillian Nassau, LLC
GUEST: This has been in our family for years, maybe even generations, as far as I know. I believe it was acquired by my great-great-great-uncle, and it may have been acquired in Europe when he traveled across Europe. It's been on a table next to the fireplace for years.
APPRAISER: But you do know what the subject matter is.
GUEST: Yes, it's William Tell.
APPRAISER: William Tell, and there's William Tell right there with his crossbow, and all the way in the background is his son with the apple on his head. So it's a rather famous scene. This is a piece that was carved in northern France, most probably in a city called Dieppe, which is on the northern coast of France, in Normandy. And it was very active as a seaport and in the 19th century became popular as a tourist destination. And in the city of Dieppe, they started carving these things in the 17th century. And that tradition continued on and reached its high point in the 19th century. And this piece itself is probably from the 1870s or the 1880s.
APPRAISER: These pieces are rarely signed. These were done by craftspeople, rather than people who were considered artists.
APPRAISER: Each figure is carved separately, and then the whole thing is put together. Now, on the ROADSHOW, we have seen individual figures, usually famous people-- Henry VIII, Marie Antoinette... We once had one of George Washington. And they're really quite nice and very, very well carved. Tremendous amount of detail. Without taking it out of the box, you can still tell that it's ivory. If you look at the tops of the heads, that's sort of the giveaway. You see there's sort of a graining?
APPRAISER: And that's a cross section of the ivory tusk itself. It's really quite a spectacular thing. I've never seen this before. You usually see single figures or groups. We see cupids, all kinds of different figures. So it's really extraordinary to see an entire scene like this put together in what I think is the original ebonized-finish box. In terms of the value, you have no idea? It's just been sitting on the table?
GUEST: Oh, I have no idea.
APPRAISER: You know, it's hard to determine the value on things that the appraisers have never seen before, because we usually base the values on what similar things have brought. So the only thing I could start thinking about is what the individual figures would bring, and then add that together and then maybe add in something for the whole scene itself. Um, I would think a retail price for this would probably be in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.
GUEST: I'm glad I could bring something that you've never seen.
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