Ostertag Minaudière & Cartier Compacts
Appraised Value: $24,000 - $33,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 6
Appraisal Video: (4:59)
GUEST: My mom's mother inherited them from her cousin. He got them from his parents. And I've now inherited them.
APPRAISER: Let's start with the first one here, the Cartier. This would be the latest of the group. Probably circa 1940, '45. And it has one little ruby set into the compact. Ladies would carry these in their evening bags, and it was 18-karat gold. Very elegant way to be putting your lipstick on in the evening. They were very chic times. The second one is Cartier also.
GUEST: Oh, it is, okay.
APPRAISER: This is from the Art Deco period. It's circa 1925. It's black enamel with diamonds accenting. They used a lot of black enamel in that period. This one was made in Paris and retailed in London.
APPRAISER: And it's really beautiful. It opens to a mirror and a compact as well. A little bit more elaborate than the later version. It has a little bit of damage here.
GUEST: Yeah, I've seen that.
APPRAISER: Along the edge. The two push buttons on the side are how it opens. The third case is a minaudière, which these came about in the 1930s. It was a woman's evening bag. This is the chicest of them all. This would have been her carrying pouch. And she might have, perhaps, had a little bit of cash tucked in the pouch here. So you open it. And the first thing that I saw was its maker, Arnold Ostertag, out of Paris. Ostertag started their jewelry company on the Place Vendome in Paris in the 1920s. They're not as well-known as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels; they're neighbors. But they were every bit as talented. The workmanship in their jewelry and their accessories, some of the finest that you'll see. So this would have been the case that would have protected this. So here you have this beautiful minaudière with the diamond and rubies sort of in a floral motif. This would have been circa 1935 to '38. The rubies are probably Burmese, which is the finest quality of stone. And the diamonds are beautiful as well. They used very, very high quality material. The case itself is 18-karat gold. And it opens to reveal the watch.
GUEST: The watch, yeah.
APPRAISER: Here is the lighter. And then the below section opens to reveal the lipstick. So once you take those two sections out, the case opens and one compartment would be for her powder and a mirror. And then the back would have been where she would have kept her cigarettes. If we're thinking of values, let's start here. With the more simple version of the compact, I would say an auction estimate you would be looking at $3,000 to $5,000.
APPRAISER: The black enamel Art Deco Cartier case, conservative estimate because of the condition issue, I would say at auction $6,000 to $8,000.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: And this one, the minaudière, is the star of the group. At auction, a conservative estimate would be $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: That's amazing.
APPRAISER: So it's really a wonderful collection.
GUEST: Wow, wow. Pretty, pretty cool.
APPRAISER: She must have been quite a lady.
GUEST: I would imagine so.
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