Late 19th Century Chinese Duan Stone Screen
I purchased this at a flea market that my sister and I were selling at, and my sister was selling it for $20.
And I purchased it there in Brooklyn.
And how long ago?
‘Um, maybe two years.
It's a Chinese duan stone screen, and it dates from the late 19th century, so late Qing dynasty. It's a volcanic rock, or a volcanic slate. Now, duan is typically identified from its purple-to-green hue. One of the charming features of this plaque is the fact that the green natural hue has been carved in a cameo design. So it highlights the mountain peak, shown at the top, the pine and tree blossoms, the highly reliefed, carved pine tree issuing from the rock work at the base. So what they've done is incorporate the natural features of the stone, or slate, to show a cameo effect. It's been mounted with iron painting hooks. However, it was never meant to be hung on a wall. It would have been on a reticulated bracket base, and stood 24 inches tall or so.
The reason this is quite an unusual example is the fact that it's a large piece of carved slate. Most duan examples are small inkstones. The carving's very, very highly worked, so it's a good quarter-inch off the base of the stone. Ten years ago, this would have been worth between $800 and $1,000 at auction.
However, China's just become the second largest economy after America. The Chinese are investing huge sums of money in decorative art, Chinese works of art. It's difficult to find large pieces of duan stone carved in this cameo effect. For those reasons, in today's economy, at auction, this would be worth between $7,000 and $10,000.
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.