1837 Mardi Gras Costume Designs

Value (2006) | $4,000 Auction$6,000

They were in my husband's family, and they are original watercolor costume designs from an artist called Jules Maré. And they were from 1837. And we've just... we've had them around for years. I've had these two framed ones hanging in my family room for many years. These wonderful costume designs are from the early 19th century, by a French artist, Jules Maré, and they were created for the famous-- or infamous-- early society, the Cowbellion de Rakin Society.

Cowbellion de Rakin. Cowbellion de Rakin Society. Let's take a look at the back, where we have lots of interesting information. Here's the reference number we have for the costume. And sizes for the various... Costume measurements, yes. Costume measurements for who would be wearing the pieces. And this nice statement discussing the artist, and also the Cowbellion group. I was interested to see that they got their name in 1830 from raiding hardware stores and waking people up with cowbells and rakes and hoes. Exactly-- not terribly elaborate, but fun. In terms of the values of these pieces, costume designs are a very, very specific market. And they're in generally good condition, but you do have some foxing and staining. Without the story, without the background, without the Mardi Gras connection, I'd probably value them between $300 and $500 apiece.


With the connection, however, I would estimate the collection at auction between $4,000 and $6,000.



That's terrific.

Appraisal Details

Colleene Fesko Works of Art
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2006)
$4,000 Auction$6,000
Mobile, AL (July 08, 2006)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.