1908 Augustus Saint-Gaudens Bronze
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $12,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:48)
Metalwork & Sculpture
Lillian Nassau, LLC
GUEST: My mother purchased it at an auction many, many years ago for five dollars.
APPRAISER: For five dollars? She was some sport, huh?
GUEST: She had an eye for things.
APPRAISER: And did she talk about it? Do you remember it as a child, seeing it?
GUEST: Oh, sure, but I don't think she ever knew anything about it. I didn't think much about it.
APPRAISER: But you looked it up, I mean, you see it's signed on it, and you know who the artist is.
GUEST: I'm thinking Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
APPRAISER: Yes, and he was one of America's most famous sculptors of the late 19th, early 20th century. I mean, he was known for his monuments. He did the incredible Shaw memorial in Boston. He did the Farragut monument in New York City. He did the Lincoln in Lincoln Park. And his main claim to fame: he designed the $20 gold coin. So this is a wonderful piece. It's called "Diana of the Tower." And this is like a little study of a much larger piece. It was done originally in the 1890s as a weathervane for the top of Madison Square Garden. It was Diana standing with her arm up, holding a bow, and her hand back here, standing on a ball. It was 18 feet high, and it was made out of copper.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: They put it up there, and it didn't quite work, so they... he reworked it, and they did it in a 13-foot size. And for a while, when that was at the top of Madison Square Garden, it was the highest structure in New York City.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: What happened was Madison Square Garden was demolished, and now the original is in the Philadelphia Art Museum. So it's a wonderful piece. It's beautifully detailed. We're not quite sure how many were done. It has his monogram, and it's also signed in the back.
GUEST: It is?
APPRAISER: Oh, you didn't see it?
APPRAISER: Oh, well, it's signed back here. First of all, over here is his monogram. And then it's signed right here. You never noticed that?
GUEST: Well, I didn't know that it was a signature of sorts.
APPRAISER: Okay. This is finely detailed, beautifully modeled, has this wonderful patina. It's in wonderful condition. Luckily, nobody's taken polish to it or steel wool or anything like that.
APPRAISER: It's in great shape. In a gallery, at retail, this would be about $10,000 to $12,000.
GUEST: (chuckling) Oh, wow. For a five-dollar investment, that's fabulous.
APPRAISER: Pretty good.
GUEST: She would be happy. And I thank you very much. She would be very pleased.
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