Miniature Portrait, ca. 1815

Value (2008) | $3,000 Retail$5,000 Retail

GUEST:
This piece was purchased in Cape Town, South Africa. It was a trip that I took about four years ago with my daughter as a college graduation present for her, and I was browsing in Cape Town and went to an antique shop and I noticed it, asked the seller about it. The only thing he told me was that it was from the Georgian period, and he said he believed it was an English piece. And I, really, to tell you the truth, I don't know a whole lot about miniature paintings.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
But I did like it, so I purchased it. I think the price was about $300, and I worked it down to $200.

APPRAISER:
(chuckling) This is an incredible piece. We rarely see a miniature portrait of a black man. It's not totally unknown, but it's almost so. Now, I'd love to tell you it was American. If it was American, we'd be dancing in the streets pretty much, okay?

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Because it's so unknown. I don't know who this man is. I don't know who painted it. But I'm reasonably certain that this man had to be in some way involved in the anti-slave movement. Because these men would have stepped forward. They were used in pamphlets, they were used in all sorts of publicity material to kind of publicize the cause. Now, in terms of... the guy told you it was Georgian. Okay, now, that can cover almost 120 years. 120 years, okay. But when all else fails, costume's a very good indicator of age. And if we look here in this picture, you can see his high collar and that high collar inside the white of his shirt.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
That very much indicates to me it's the early Regency period, 1805 to 1825, which was a very big time in the anti-slave movement, especially in England. Now, I know you paid, you said $200 for it?

GUEST:
Two hundred dollars.

APPRAISER:
I'm going to premise this on the fact that we don't know who he is and it's a little rough in condition. There's some wear on the surface. But without any question, in today's market, in a retail setting, this would easily sell for $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
No joke. And if we could do a little more homework and we could find out who it was, we might be able to do a lot better.

GUEST:
Wow. Whoo! Mmm, okay. That's good, that's good.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2008)
$3,000 Retail$5,000 Retail
Event
Dallas, TX (June 28, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Material
Ivory, Paint

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