1945 “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” Set

Value (2012) | $4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail
Watch  

GUEST:
I brought in a commemorative collection that was given to the U.S. ambassador to Belgium by the Prince Regent of Belgium after World War II for the return of "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," which was considered one of Belgium's best pieces of artwork. It was stolen by the Nazis, and they were going to destroy it, and the U.S. military saved it and returned it. So this is a collection. It has a book that has their correspondences between the Prince Regent and the ambassador, and then it has 123 silver nitrate prints like this one, just kind of depicting the altar piece and the work and describing it.

APPRAISER:
How did you get it?

GUEST:
We got it in the estate sale of Charles Sawyer's family. He was the ambassador.

APPRAISER:
And when you say "we"?

GUEST:
My parents and I. So my parents bought it as a gift for me.

APPRAISER:
So "The Adoration of the Lamb," or "The Mystic Lamb," was in Belgium, and it had a storied history. I mean, it was first hanging there in the 1400s. World War II came along, the Germans get it. Fortunately, they didn't destroy it. The Americans, upon winning the war, presented this back to the Belgians, and that's what this is all about. They had royal designers, members of the architectural college, design this gorgeous box. This is a book that I don't know how many copies they did. It looks very much like that they might have only done one copy. This is all hand-done. This is all artwork. All the way through it, it is gorgeous. And it gives the history. But the main thing it gives is the great appreciation of the Belgian people for getting it back. Also, I can't help but point out this is an absolutely spectacular binding. In the box is the book, and then there are a whole group of photographs. And this is a list of all the photographs contained with the book. We just put one out here to show it off. A book like this took tremendous amount of production. It's one of the most beautiful books of its type. Everything hand-done. What did you pay for it, do you know? Or what did your parents pay for it?

GUEST:
I think they paid several thousand for it, I'm not sure exactly.

APPRAISER:
It was a gift, so they won't tell you?

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
With everything that this goes with, with the gorgeous box, the photographs... Just as a design piece, the book and the artwork in it, I would say a very conservative retail price is $4,000 to $6,000.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Any library, any World War II collector, anyone interested in the art of Europe, they're all going to want it.

GUEST:
Okay, thank you.

APPRAISER:
It wouldn't shock me if someone would pay $10,000 or more, but there's no way of getting comparables.

GUEST:
Right.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Brattle Book Shop
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$4,000 Retail$6,000 Retail
Event
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)
Period
20th Century
Form
Folio
Material
Paper

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.