Late 19th-Century Chinese Ivory Wrist Rests

Value (2008) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

GUEST:
I got them from my ex-father-in-law, who has since passed away. And he was in the Navy for 38 years and got those in the Far East.

APPRAISER:
They were made in China, probably in Canton, and they probably date from the late 19th century, probably about 1880, 1890. And do you know what they are?

GUEST:
No, not really, just ivory carvings.

APPRAISER:
They're actually wrist rests for calligraphy. They used to be laid flat like that. You'd be holding a writing brush, and it was like this for your wrists so you could write. They're scholars' items. And beautifully carved. Really detailed carving. Also, the two of them are mirror images of each other. Really very, very finely carved. And even the backs are carved and have considerable toning due to age. One thing is, these ivories are absolutely legitimate to buy and sell. These things were made 70, 80 years ago. A long time ago. So they're entirely legitimate.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
To own, to sell, to transport across state lines. These are the kind of things that, in terms of value, even five years ago, were $800 to $1,200. Today the Chinese market is so strong that these would be conservatively estimated at auction at $5,000 to $7,000.

GUEST:
Are you kidding me?

APPRAISER:
Oh... And might even sell more than that.

GUEST:
Oh, my, I can't believe it. I'm so happy about it! (choking up): It was so nice of him to give them to me.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
James D. Julia Auctioneers
Fairfield, Maine
Appraised value (2008)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Tool
Material
Ivory

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