Gorham Martelé Pair of Silver Vases, ca. 1904

Value (2007) | $12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction

GUEST:
All I know is they're Gorham Martelé vases, and my dad purchased one of them at an auction in Chicago; the other one he purchased at an auction in Indianapolis, and he thought they were similar enough, they could be a pair, but he wasn't really sure.

APPRAISER:
Well, you are right: they're by Gorham Martelé. Gorham is based in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Martelé section of it was from the late 19th century to about 1930, under the instruction of William Christmas Codman; and it is known as the... pretty much the finest silver of the 20th century. These vases here are quite interesting. What's unusual about them, you had mentioned that he had purchased them in two places...

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
…and if we look at the bottom of one of them, you can see the marks. It says Gorham Martelé,

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
but then it also says "Spaulding," which it was retailed by, in Chicago.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
This vase, on the left, also says "Spaulding," so it's funny that he purchased them in two places because I have a feeling that they were meant to be together, and I'm not sure whether there's a... sort of a confusion in the story, but I'm almost certain that they are a pair. Martelé is a higher silver standard than traditional sterling silver. It's .950, as opposed to sterling silver's .925. You have this wonderful hand-hammered rim, and then on the body, you have wonderful floral decoration, which continues down the body-- this fabulous leaf, which stretches around it, to this wonderful, scalloped, almost Art Nouveau style rim. You had mentioned that you thought they might be from a particular date.

GUEST:
Uh, I think they were from, like, 1904.

APPRAISER:
Okay, the marks underneath confirm that. You have these small marks which say "K.O.B." which are the date marks. And what's interesting, again, about having purchased them in two different places is they both have the same marks. There are some slight variations, but as they were hand-hammered, there are always going to be some variations. You've had them for some time in the family?

GUEST:
Probably 25 years.

APPRAISER:
It's hard to find a pair. They are a very nice size, quality and condition. At auction, I would say they are worth between $12,000 and $18,000 for the pair.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
That's awesome.

APPRAISER:
They're a great pair of vases.

GUEST:
That's great. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2007)
$12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Event
Las Vegas, NV (August 18, 2007)
Period
20th Century
Form
Vase
Material
Silver

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