Chinese Ivory Parasol Handle, ca. 1880

Value (2011) | $1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction

We had an uncle, and he managed some apartments in San Francisco. They had a storage area in the basement of those apartments. And then when the owner of the apartment sold the apartment, he told my uncle that he wanted that basement clear, and there were a whole bunch of boxes. So he came over to our house and took my sister and my aunt and cousin and asked them to help him clear that basement, and there were boxes, and whatever was in there was theirs. So my sister found this one, and then she passed away, like, eight years ago, and she gave it to me because I liked it. They call it an ivory stick.

Okay. (chuckles) It is ivory. Sometimes we see pieces that are made out of resin or bone or some kind of faux ivory, but it's a very nice piece made of elephant ivory. It's Chinese. The petals are very delicately carved. There's a good, deep kind of carving-- this is relief carved. Pieces of this length are a little hard to identify. Now, we have ivory cane handles that are sometimes carved in this manner, and then we have ivory parasol handles. Now, I believe this is an ivory parasol handle, to be held like this.

(laughs) Okay.

But unfinished.

Oh, okay.

I don't know why it's unfinished. I don't know how this came out of the workshop unfinished. Nonetheless, this long length here that's smoothly carved is where there would have been a hole drilled to put the shaft of the umbrella, to put a silver cap, as was often the case. It's from Canton, made for export in the port city of Canton. Lot of ivory comes out of there, ivory of this style. But the quality is quite good. The age is good, 1880s, 1890s, late 19th century. The market is good and getting better. I would estimate the value on this piece at $1,500 to $2,000 at auction.

Oh, okay. That's good.

If it were a completed parasol handle, perhaps with a silver cap or some other additions to finalize the look, the value would be not substantially more, maybe a few hundred dollars more.


The real value is in the carving in the ivory, which is beautiful.

Okay, good. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
New York, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)
Asian Arts

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