Chanel Opera Cape, ca. 1920
This was purchased by my grandmother when she and my grandfather went to Europe for a trip in the early '20s and went to Paris, and this was purchased from Gabrielle Chanel. I discovered that it probably comes from the period of 1921 to 1928 because of the embroidery work that's done on it. There was a woman from Russia, she was actually a princess, and when she escaped from Russia, she went to Paris and was introduced to Gabrielle Chanel, and she was apparently influenced by flamboyant colors and the flamboyant things of Russian art and artistry.
It is more vibrant than you normally see for Chanel. It is exciting to see it because it really is Chanel. The label is exactly right, and the color is so flamboyant and so wild, it's just fabulous. And your period of time is exactly right. This is not just Chanel, this is Chanel Couture. It is a whole 'nother level of value because this garment was custom-designed, custom-made. If you were to go to a major auction or a major dealer to buy a piece like this, you would expect to pay somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 for this coat.
Isn't that cool?
Yes, it is!
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.