Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • ON TOUR
  • WATCH ONLINE
  • WEB EXCLUSIVES
  • RESOURCES
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    African Art Objects, ca. 1950

    Appraised Value:

    $450 - $600

    Appraised on: August 7, 2010

    Appraised in: Des Moines, Iowa

    Appraised by: John Buxton

    Category: Tribal Arts

    Episode Info: Des Moines, Hour 1 (#1507)

    Originally Aired: February 14, 2011

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 4 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Box, Tool, Mask
    Material: Wood
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $450 - $600

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW

    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (4:02)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    John Buxton
    Tribal Arts
    Antiques Appraiser and Consultant

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I bought them in 1999, within about a month of each other, from a dealer, and he had rather lavish descriptions of each of them. But I just thought they were fascinating, and I really liked them, so I bid and I won the auctions. The printouts that I made off the auction site said that the fly whisk was probably Kongo. He said it was ivory, and he didn't describe the hair on the bottom, but I think it's elephant hair. The center figure is a Fang... I think it's pronounced "bieri" box, in which they kept cranial caps, and that is a guardian figure, and they brought the cranial caps out at rituals and special times, and in the meantime, they kept it in a hut and the figure guarded the ancestors' bones. The small mask I know nothing about. He said it was Bakuba. He thought it was a child's initiation mask, but I do know that small masks were worn on foreheads and on shoulders, so it's not necessarily a child's mask just because it's small.

    APPRAISER: Was this on the Internet?

    GUEST: Yes, this was on the Internet.

    APPRAISER: And so did he give you guarantees, or how did that work?

    GUEST: No, he did not give me any guarantees.

    APPRAISER: Okay, this first one is a Kongo-style... Now, the country that it's from is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and that's spelled with a "C."

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: The tribal name is spelled with a "K"-- K-o-n-g-o. Now, the first thing that we do when we know what an object is, we look for the appropriate wear patterns. This is a fly whisk. It's a status symbol. It's a symbol of authority. And so what we'd expect to see is a great deal of wear where the hand would have touched this.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: Now, it's somewhat troublesome that the patination seems somewhat even on this and not really indicative of a great deal of wear. So this is definitely a reproduction, which is being made for sale, fly whisk. This piece is probably somewhere around mid-20th century. Now, this piece over here, these Fang features are very exaggerated. This shape of the head is really troublesome.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: And so in my judgment, this piece was also made for sale.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: Now, this piece here you thought is a mask. I think it's the top to a Kuba box.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: Because when you look at the wear along here, down on the nose, the side here, the Kuba don't have any masks like this.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: But they do have a tradition of box making...

    GUEST: Yes, and I have a few boxes. And they have lids. It never occurred to me.

    APPRAISER: Now, stylistically it's really weird, it's really aberrant. I think this is a little bit earlier. I think this is the first half of the 20th century, maybe into the '20s or the '30s.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: Now, the total that you have on this piece. What did you pay for this?

    GUEST: $1,200, about.

    APPRAISER: Twelve hundred.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm, and $2,800 for that.

    APPRAISER: Twenty-eight hundred.

    GUEST: And $500...

    APPRAISER: And $500.

    GUEST: $500 for that.

    APPRAISER: So our total is...

    GUEST: $4,500, about.

    APPRAISER: $4,500. Unfortunately, the total value of these pieces is going to be more in the $500 to $600 range.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: You'd expect on the Internet or in a retail shop, this piece would be somewhere around $100, $150. A piece like this is going to be in the $200 to $300 range.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: This piece over here as an authentic Kuba box lid without the box...

    GUEST: (chuckles): Right.

    APPRAISER: For a retail price, you're still looking at about $150. If they were all authentic, easily the group could be in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.





    WGBH 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.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube