Giulio Nardi Jeweled Gold Moretto, ca. 1960

Value (2011) | $40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My mom and dad were on a vacation in Venice, and my mother saw him in a store window and loved him and my father went back and bought it for her. He's been in my family since then.

APPRAISER:
Well, these things don't come cheap. Tell me a little bit about your father.

GUEST:
Well, my father was a successful man. He worked in New York and he could have afforded to buy something pricey for my mom.

APPRAISER:
And you don't have any idea what they paid for it?

GUEST:
Unfortunately, no.

APPRAISER:
When did your parents take this trip?

GUEST:
In, probably 1980, '81, somewhere around there.

APPRAISER:
Well it’s not an everyday thing. We don't see these in this size very often. The form is a Moretto. He’s the guardian of Venice and he’s in important clothing. It's very likely that this piece was made around the late 1950s through the 1960s. He's made out of carved ebony on a wooden plinth, and the body and turban are heavily gem-encrusted gold. The gems are all sorts of jewels that might have been sitting around the bench, and they're all very nice. We've got turquoise, opals, rubies...

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
...sapphires... (chuckling)

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
...star sapphires, and we've got topaz.

GUEST:
And how about the earrings?

APPRAISER:
The earrings are pearls. At the top, he's got an aigrette on his head that's diamonds set into gold, and if we turn him around... The top of the turban is set with a very large turquoise.

APPRAISER:
There's a signature here, G. Nardi 750. 750 is the standard for 18-karat gold. It's heavily worked 18-karat gold in the Florentine manner, with scrolling. G. Nardi started his studio in 1924 in Venice, and he comes out with these Morettis. He's very well carved; he's a showpiece. We see many small examples come up at auction. Brooches-- and they're still making them-- run for a couple of thousand, to several thousand dollars, sometimes approaching the $10,000 mark. There was another one of these sold in May 2011 at an auction. The one that sold in May, sold for $53,000.

GUEST:
$53,000, wow! No, he didn't pay anything like that for it. That I know. Oh, my goodness.

APPRAISER:
So the value on this one, I'd give it an auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

GUEST:
Mom, are you listening? (laughing)

APPRAISER:
What's the plan now?

GUEST:
I'm going to keep him. I love him, and I just want my children to know what he's worth so when they clean out my house, they'll know what to keep. Thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
You're very welcome.

GUEST:
That's 40 to 60? Wow, wow!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2011)
$40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
Event
Eugene, OR (June 04, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Bust

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