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    Early 20th-Century Singing Bird Cage Automaton

    Appraised Value:

    $500 - $700

    Appraised on: August 1, 2009

    Appraised in: Phoenix, Arizona

    Appraised by: Sarah Shinn Pratt

    Category: Decorative Arts

    Episode Info: Phoenix, Hour 3 (#1415)

    Originally Aired: May 3, 2010

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Automaton
    Material: Metal, Feather, Gilded
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $500 - $700

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    Appraisal Video: (1:38)


    Appraised By:

    Sarah Shinn Pratt

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: This is a singing bird in a cage. It's been passed down in my family. I've had it for about 40 years.

    APPRAISER: It's a German singing bird cage automaton. And this was made around the early part of the 20th century. The bird feathers are quite realistic. It's sitting in a beautiful gilt metal case with embossed work here, and on the bottom you'll see it has the wind-up mechanism and the diamond mark for the maker and "made in Germany." There was a big craze for these automatons around the turn of the century, and some of the finest ones were made by the French and the Swiss. But the Germans also made them. And this one is not as complicated, and it does have some condition problems. This one seems to be missing a berry here. And I'm not sure what was here.

    GUEST: I don't know what was down there either.

    APPRAISER: Perhaps it was more feathers or some foliage. And the velvet base is a little faded. Probably it was in the sunlight. An almost identical bird to this, in a cage, sold for $650 in May of this year.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: And so the auction estimate for this would probably be around $500 to $700.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: Shall we see if it works? (cranking) (bird singing)

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