Sri Lankan Kastane (Sword), ca. 1800

Value (2006) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

GUEST:
I really don't know anything about this sword, and that's why I came here today. To hopefully find something out about it.

APPRAISER:
You said it was in your grandmother's house.

GUEST:
Yeah. I know she did, um, flea markets.

APPRAISER:
And where was she from?

GUEST:
She was actually from Massachusetts. She could've picked it up from some antique dealer up there.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. Well, it's actually a pretty incredible thing. It's a weapon called a “kastane.” And it's from the kingdom of Kandy, which is in Sri Lanka,

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
an island off the coast of India. And it's in the central part of the island. And one of the things these people are known for is just incredible metalwork, as you can see with this piece.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
There's a brass body here that's been inlaid with silver-- also set with gold. And even in the eyes of the animal here on the end, they're rubies that are on there.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The hilt is rhinoceros horn.

GUEST:
You're kidding me.

APPRAISER:
Carved rhinoceros horn. Although there's no problem with selling this sword or owning this sword because this material was collected almost 200 years ago.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
This sword was probably made between the middle of the 18th century and the very, very beginning of the 19th century.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The kingdom of Kandy was conquered by the English in the middle part of the 19th century. And when they did, this metalwork declined, so that by 1900, quality pieces like this were almost extinct.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The quality of this is just absolutely superb. When you turn the blade this way--

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
--and you can see the floral scrolling that's underneath here on it.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Just incredible quality work. And all that gold work is also pure gold. Very, very, very high-carat gold in here; beautiful filigree work around the eyes. The way it's carved along the underside of the hilt, it's an amazing thing. And the people who used to wear this had an absolutely even more fantastic costume. The guy used to wear a little tiny vest and then thin sleeves and then pantaloons that like basically stuck out straight at his sides. And stockings and shoes like they show like the elf shoes with the pointed ends.

GUEST:
No kidding?

APPRAISER:
And then a turban that was like a sun hat. And then thrust through the sash was this sword. It's actually undervalued. A conservative auction estimate on this would be $6,000 to $8,000.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
You know, it's a...

GUEST:
Wow. Fantastic.

APPRAISER:
And something that, when your children grow a bit older--

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
--it'll probably be a considerable amount more.

GUEST:
Okay, fantastic.

APPRAISER:
Fantastic. The most amazing thing is the rhinoceros.

GUEST:
I thought that was plastic.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Tremont Auctions
Newton, MA
Appraised value (2006)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
Philadelphia, PA (August 05, 2006)
Form
Weapon
Material
Brass, Gold, Inlay, Silver

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.