1879 René de Saint-Marceaux Bronze
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:30)
GUEST: I bought it from friends that were in the antique business when they liquidated their business. This was back in the Boston area, in about '76.
APPRAISER: What did you pay for it at the time?
APPRAISER: That was a lot of money.
GUEST: (laughing) I liked him.
APPRAISER: So are you a collector, or was this something that struck your eye?
GUEST: No, he just struck my eye, and I had to have him when they offered him to me. Yeah.
APPRAISER: So you don't know much about the artist or...?
GUEST: I just know that he's French.
APPRAISER: Well, it is a French artist. René de Saint-Marceaux. And he was born in 1845 and died in 1915. He did a lot of public commissions, but he also did some small-scale works that were mostly portraits and animals. I think those were the more commercially viable works. This is a wonderful figure of a harlequin, a jester.
GUEST: It may have been what attracted you to it. I think it was the mask, the eyes. Yeah.
APPRAISER: No, it's wonderful. And he's standing on this naturalistic wooden floor, this great, defiant pose.
GUEST: Very confident.
APPRAISER: And it's signed here on the back. We can spin him around a little bit. But it's signed Saint-Marceaux here, 1879. And then it has a Barbedienne foundry, which was one of Paris's best known bronze foundries.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: And then there's this little mark here, which shows that it's a reduced version of a larger-scale piece.
APPRAISER: There's a marble of the same subject that is a life-size figure.
GUEST: Where is it located now?
APPRAISER: It's in Vichy, in France.
GUEST: Okay, okay.
APPRAISER: And there are also on the market have been some life-size plaster reproductions of the marble, and this version, which seems to be his best-known sculpture, in a whole bunch of different sizes--so everything from probably around a foot high and up. And this is probably the largest scale.
APPRAISER: So you paid a fair amount for it in the '70s.
APPRAISER: Have you had it looked at in this intervening time?
GUEST: I did about ten years ago with a local antique dealer. And he thought about $6,000.
APPRAISER: Based on its size, the fact that it's the largest scale, I think that price was undervalued. I'd say in today's market, at auction, probably in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.
GUEST: You're kidding.
GUEST: What a wonderful surprise.
APPRAISER: Yeah, it is a wonderful piece.
GUEST: (laughing) I can't believe it.
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.