Eugene Kupjack Miniature Room
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (2:24)
Decorative Arts, Pottery & Porcelain
Quinn's Auction Galleries
GUEST: This was purchased about 40 years ago by my husband's aunt and it was given to me. And she had lived in Richmond at the time and then had gone to Williamsburg for the day and was shopping. And evidently, this was on a center table that was highlighted and stuff, and she fell in love with it. And it took her a while to convince her husband to purchase it, but they did buy it and she's had it for the 40 years. But there's no receipt or information about it, so we'd love to learn more.
APPRAISER: What more have you discovered about it? Everybody gets out on the Internet these days and does a little research. What have you found?
GUEST: Well, the name is on here. And I found that the gentleman is no longer living, but his sons have carried on the tradition. And from what I understand, they would do a room and that would not be duplicated.
APPRAISER: Well, these are really interesting. You look at this and it's a relatively modern construction box. We know it's not terribly old. And we see on the lower left corner a signature, E.J. Kupjack, for Eugene Kupjack. This fascinates a lot of us in the trade. Now, if you look at the craftsmanship, it's absolutely amazing.
GUEST: Well, she fell in love with it, yeah.
APPRAISER: The table, the fireplace. So, Eugene Kupjack operated in the late 1930s. He was hired by the Thorne family, which were the heirs to the original Montgomery Ward. And the wife had designed some rooms for Mr. Kupjack and he created those. And those are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago today. And you're right, his sons do still make them. So Eugene Kupjack was born in 1912 and as you found on the Internet, he died in 1991. He was actively working as of the late '30s, where he did those rooms for the Thorne family. And everything was produced, really, after that. So I think it's reasonable to expect it was completed in the 1950s.
APPRAISER: We see the package and at first glance, some of us thought it was a microwave. But really, it's a miniature meant to sit on a bookshelf, and it would have blended in. You can see the artist has actually put the book on the end. Now, the other thing that's absolutely fascinating is, we see this new stuff, we don't think it's going to be valuable. It doesn't make sense to us. Yet when these come up at auction, they're selling for a good bit of money. So if I were to estimate this at auction today-- and I think we're conservative-- we would say between $5,000 and $7,000.
GUEST: That's amazing.
APPRAISER: To have one made, a new one, can cost over $100,000.
GUEST: Oh, my Lord.
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