Tiffany Iridescent Vase, ca. 1900

Value (2009) | $8,000 Retail$10,000 Retail

My husband and I bought it about 30 years ago up in Seattle. We were up there on business. We saw it at an estate place and we liked it. We thought it was beautiful. We're just sort of getting into antiques at that time, and so we bought it. We thought it was really pretty, but we didn't know exactly what it was. It said Tiffany on the bottom, but we weren't sure it was Tiffany because it was so big, and it could have been a fake or something like that.

Tiffany was pretty much the first to do beautiful Art Nouveau iridescent glass.

Yeah, I've heard that, yeah.

He was like the dean of American glass. Here you have a beautiful vase. It's a favrile vase, iridescent. The design, as you see it, the color was pulled off hot and then pulled down with tools while it was being blown. So all the design you see going down--the feathering and the patterns, were all done when the glass was molten. It almost looks like there's a letter on the side here, but what it is probably just a mark from when the hot glass was pulled with the tools, a lot of times it leaves a mark and it's just a by product of the way the glass was made. It's a beautiful design; it's typical Art Nouveau. The mark we see on the piece on the bottom-- and it's hard to see because there's a green felt through it--and it says "Louis" and then "Tiffany". You can't see the "C" and there doesn't seem to be anything else on the mark. Now, this type of glass, when the prices got high, were certainly faked. And you said you had some concerns.

That's right.

Well, let me assure you, first of all, that the piece is Tiffany.

Oh, good.

So, the time frame of this is going to be the very, very early 1900s. Do you remember how much you paid for the piece when you bought it years ago?

I think, maybe--we paid quite a bit of money--maybe it was like $250 or something.

I would say in a retail store in New York, you could easily expect a price of $8,000 to $10,000 on the vase.

Wow. Wow, okay.

Appraisal Details

Leo Kaplan, Ltd.
New York, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$8,000 Retail$10,000 Retail
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)

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.