Late 19th-Century Pietra Dura Plaque

Value (2012) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My husband's aunt had it in his house; it was his grandmother's. And they had it for, like, forever because his aunt said she remembered when she was little, running around the house, they hung by the fireplace forever. So I don't know how old it is or anything about it other than it's stone mosaic.

APPRAISER:
It is stone and it is mosaic, and there's a specific name for that.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's called pietra dura.

GUEST:
Pietra dura.

APPRAISER:
Exactly. Pietra dura was best known in Italy. They have a very long tradition of it going back to antiquity. This piece isn't quite that old. It's probably from about the 1870s, maybe the 1880s.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's a great scene. It's this nice man who's very, very happy to have his bottle of Chianti with him, (laughing) as he holds on to it. And he has a couple of extra bottles in reserve. This one is pretty exceptional-- the way you really get the depth in his face, the way he's smiling and you get the color in his cheeks. That's one piece of stone that had to be chosen for his cheeks. If you look really, really closely, you can see it, and that took a lot of work to choose just the right pieces. We see a lot of pietra dura at the Roadshow, and not all of them are terribly valuable.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
You know, some are only worth 30, 40, 50 dollars, if they're just small pieces.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
But because this one is so well done, I think it would be very fair to estimate it at auction at about $5,000 to $7,000.

GUEST:
Oh, wow!

APPRAISER:
Yeah.

GUEST:
That's fabulous.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Jeni Sandberg 20th Century Design
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Period
19th Century
Form
Mosaic, Plaque
Material
Stone

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