18th-Century Polychrome Plaster Figures

Value (2012) | $6,000 Auction$9,000 Auction

Ever since a child, I remember these sitting in my grandmother and grandfather's home at Christmastime. It was always a delight to see. My great-uncle bought them at an auction in Portugal back in 1923. They supposedly came out of a convent that was being demolished, and they were auctioning off all the religious items. My great-uncle bought them for my grandfather, and my grandfather brought them back to California about 1925, I would say.

Well, what they are, actually, is they're polychromed plaster groups representing the nativity scene. There are obviously some missing parts. But what you've got here is still quite wonderful. They date from the 18th century. In spite of their Portuguese Madeira Island origin, I actually think that there's no doubt about it that these two groups are definitely Spanish. This one... this one actually is not typically Spanish. This group could actually be Portuguese. The carving of these faces here are not very Spanish. They're unlike the other groups, even though these obviously are not religious figures. So that may be the reason. But what you have here with the three kings and this marvelous painting all the way around, this is very Spanish. They date from the 18th century with these sterling crowns. And the value for the entire set would be between $6,000 and $9,000.

You're kidding me. Wow.

No, not at all.


No, not kidding you at all.

My God. Oh, that's fantastic.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2012)
$6,000 Auction$9,000 Auction
San Francisco, CA (August 09, 1997)
18th Century
Plaster of Paris

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