French Carved & Gilded Mirror, ca. 1780

Value (2011) | $3,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
I got it from my aunt, who left it to me when she passed away, and she got it from her mother. Her family is from Lucerne, Switzerland, so it was shipped all the way over there, to my aunt, probably about 50 years ago. That's about all I know about it.

APPRAISER:
Okay. The thing about this kind of mirror is, the vast majority of them that we see are later. This is actually an 18th-century mirror.

GUEST(gasps): Wow!

APPRAISER:
And it's French. The other thing that is so wonderful about it is, if you look at the detail of the carving and the way that it's done, they started out with a piece of wood, carved it, and then they put gesso on it, and then they put gilt on it. And the other thing that I think is so fantastic about this is, you can see traces of the original gilding. See that sort of fiery, shiny part that you see in some of those "C" curves on the sides and up there where the flower basket is?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That speaks volumes also. The back on this is very roughly cut, and that's what you would expect. In the 18th century as now, time was money, and in a cabinetmaking shop, they would have not spent a lot of extra time worrying about what the back was going to look like. They would have spent their time on the front. The plate or mirror part of it is probably second generation.

GUEST:
Oh, it was replaced.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, but that's not the end of the world, because you would expect that in most instances. The color of the mirror part of it would be much different and kind of sparkly, because, you know, it would have deteriorated more since the 18th century.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it would be nice if it was perfect behind all the carving, but you know what? That doesn't bother me; does that bother you?

GUEST:
Not at all.

APPRAISER:
When I see something old, we want it to look old.

GUEST:
Exactly.

APPRAISER:
What about the wormholes? If it didn't have those wormholes, I'd be worried. Almost every piece of furniture from France from that early will have worm damage. This really sings out to you when you hang it on the wall. Where do you have it?

GUEST:
I have it right in the living room, right off of the entryway, so when you walk in, you kind of see it, it jumps out at you.

APPRAISER:
If you were going to insure this, I think you would probably want to insure this for $3,000.

GUEST:
Whoo! Wow, wonderful! Wonderful, wonderful. Whoo!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Farmer & Associates
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2011)
$3,000 Insurance
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Period
18th Century
Form
Mirror
Material
Gilded, Glass, Wood

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