Meiji Period Namikawa School Cloisonné Vase
I was traveling in England in 1969, and my wife and I are antique buffs. And we were fortunate enough to run across this piece at a dealer in Burnley, England, and I liked it. My wife thought it was actually porcelain, and I said, "No, it's cloisonné." She said, "No, it looks like porcelain," and I said, "No, it's cloisonné." And I won.
(laughing): That's great. Well, do you know how old this piece is?
I was told it's approximately 100 to 110 years old.
That's about right. You know, when I saw you in line, I got really excited because this is a potentially wonderful research project. Until the Meiji Period, cloisonné was made in Japan, but it was at the beginning of the Meiji Period, from 1868 onward, when Japan opened to the West, that, really, the golden age of cloisonné enamel began. And two of the greatest artists in this period were unrelated, but shared the same surname: Namikawa Yasuyuki and Namikawa Sosuke. Now, Namikawa Yasuyuki founded a cloisonné factory in 1871 in Kyoto, and worked with a German scientist in order to perfect the problems that they were encountering in cloisonné, which, you can see fantastic results on this piece. They learned how to do broad expanses of cloisonné enamel without wires, so that it lay flat on the surface, and also to create a painterly technique, as we see in this wonderful landscape of boats and pavilions and pines and waterway, depicted throughout this marvelous vessel. So Namikawa Yasuyuki was famous for his scientific innovations in that area, and also in fine-wire cloisonné as we see in this brocade band up here... throughout the top, these marvelous dragons... and the depictions and the lines delineating this landscape decoration. Now, Namikawa Sosuke was famous for his wireless technique. And the real question I'm confronting is, is it Sosuke or is it Yasuyuki? What did you pay for this piece?
Well, my wife was fighting with me because she thought I paid too much. I paid $125 for it.
Currently, I would put an auction estimate of between $15,000 to $25,000 on this piece.
I guess my investment was well... ventured.
It's a marvelous example and a wonderful, wonderful potential lost piece.
Thank you very, very much.
Thank you. Thank you.
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.