St. George & the Dragon Figural Group, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $30,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:41)
Collectibles, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Metalwork & Sculpture
GUEST: This St. George slaying the dragon was part of my aunt's property and estate on Cape Cod.
APPRAISER: And did you inherit this?
GUEST: She left me her property and I bought the contents of the house, so I acquired this and everything else in the house.
APPRAISER: And about how long have you had this?
GUEST: Since 2011.
APPRAISER: So you've been enjoying it for a couple of years now. Well, what you've brought us here today is a fantastic German late-19th century-- we could even say circa 1880-- example of St. George slaying the dragon, and this is done in silver and carved ivory and it's on this fantastic base with this inscription here on the front in Latin, saying, "Sanctus George," so St. George. The legend of St. George, who was actually born in Palestine in the third century AD, was brought back by the Crusaders and has been expounded upon throughout the middle ages into more modern times, depicted throughout art history in various forms: in sculpture, painting. And what we have here is this fantastically carved horse and dragon in ivory, and I say fantastically carved because if one looks quite closely at all of the detail, you see the fingernails, the dragon's eyes, the dragon's claws. It's incredibly detailed and well done. And then the silver is also very finely chased and it's got these great paste faux stones representing emeralds, rubies and sapphires. This is carved fully in the round, and if you look from the back, it's just as well done as it is from the front. You've got the plume on his helmet, you've got the beautiful horse's mane, and the tail is fantastic. While we don't know specifically who made it, we know it's German based on some hallmarks on the silver, though they're fairly indistinguishable, so it's impossible to know specifically. And unfortunately, it's not possible to know who carved the ivory, as it is not signed. So this was done by a master carver and a master silversmith, and it's a great example. Now, I've said it's carved ivory, so we do need to just mention that there are local, state, national and international laws that deal with the trade in protected species, so when selling this, one has to be conscious of those laws. But I would expect this piece, if it were offered at a gallery, we could see this priced at $30,000.
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