Pre-Columbian Gold Pendants, 1000-1500 AD

Value (2012) | $20,000 Auction$28,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
My father gave them to me.

APPRAISER:
And when did your dad get them?

GUEST:
I believe in the early '70s.

APPRAISER:
I understand he was a traveler, a world traveler?

GUEST:
Yes, he was. He told me they were pre-Columbian. They used to be attached to Mayan warriors' armor.

APPRAISER:
First of all, they're not Mayan.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
These are from actually Central America. And this one I believe is from Panama in a place called Veraguas. This one is Diquis from Costa Rica. In the process of authentication, what we want to look at first is do they look what we would expect them to look like if they were authentic? And the first part of that is yes, they do. Now, you know we already tested the gold, and they did... a lot of these that are fake are brass. So stylistically, they look good, and they are gold. We have some fantastic imagery. These are eagles here. These are probably some sort of crocodile or shaman imagery. And over here, again probably a crocodile and you have these snakes. These things were worn as pendants. Probably shamans would have worn these or important individuals in the culture. They were definitely status symbols. And you wouldn't have some ordinary Joe wearing these. It would only be worn by very important people. Now I'm going to first of all take this one off, and I want to show what a fantastic thing this is in profile. And really very, very strong. Now, looking at the back, you see where we have this support for the pendant?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
This is pretty low. I think this is a repair. You can see how the surface is somewhat different here than the surrounding surface. If you look very carefully here and here, it looks like that was where the old support was and it came off.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
All right? I'm going to put this thing back on. Now I'm going to take this one off. And again, I want to show what a fantastic thing this is in profile. It's a very, very powerful piece. All of these objects would have been buried, so when I see an indication that you have the support that's been crushed, that to me is a good sign. So we have two authentic pieces. They date between 1,000 and 1,500 A.D. Now let's talk about money.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
You want to take a guess?

GUEST:
No way.

APPRAISER:
All right. Now, the gold content alone on this one was $3,500. The gold content on this one was $5,500. I believe-- and again, it's a crazy market, it fluctuates a lot-- I'm going to say that this one is in the $8,000 to $10,000 range and this one is in the $12,000 to $18,000. It's a good day, isn't it?

GUEST:
Yes, that's so exciting!

APPRAISER:
Well, it's exciting that you brought them in, and we thank you for that.

GUEST:
Thank you!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2012)
$20,000 Auction$28,000 Auction
Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)
Period
Pre-Columbian
Form
Pendant
Material
Gold

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.