Early 20th-Century Singing Bird Cage Automaton
Appraised Value: $500 - $700
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (1:38)
Sarah Shinn Pratt
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.
APPRAISER: And so the auction estimate for this would probably be around $500 to $700.
APPRAISER: Shall we see if it works? (cranking) (bird singing)
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.