“Jardin de la Malmaison” Book

Value (2012) | $85,000 Auction$135,000 Auction
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APPRAISER:
You've brought me a very large and impressive-looking book. Tell me where you got this.

GUEST:
Well, my great-grandfather was the first secretary of state in agriculture in California and developed the Department of Agriculture. And at that time, the United States was getting hit by the hoof-and-mouth disease. And it was invading the California livestock, and it was a great concern. At that time, he devised a solution to the problem. And so the disease never hit California. The similar situation was happening in Europe, and the hoof-and-mouth disease was invading France. And they commissioned him to come over and help them with their problem. And as a token of their appreciation, they awarded him this book.

APPRAISER:
And this is the letter that accompanied it from the French government to him, giving him this book.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
This book is about the Empress Josephine's gardens at Malmaison, which was her house outside of Paris. The Empress Josephine was from the island of Martinique, and she loved flowers. She had an absolute passion for flowers. So her official botanist prepared this book and cultivated the gardens for her. Now, the plates in this book are quite spectacular. They are flower plates done by Redouté who was the greatest flower painter of all time. And it shows the different varieties that the Empress had in her garden. It's two volumes bound in one. We come to this one, and we find that it's a new variety of flower which was named for the Empress Josephine. It's the Josephine Imperatrice. Now, when I was in Malmaison, you can still see some remains of this garden. Unfortunately, the plants are mostly gone. But we do have the record in this extraordinary flower book, which is one of the really great flower books. I think you said you liked flowers.

GUEST:
I love flowers.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, I love flowers, too.

GUEST:
I especially love them now, I think.

APPRAISER:
Yes, yes, and, well, you have one of the greatest records of flowers that's ever been done by one of the greatest artists. As you can see, it's all signed by Pierre Redouté. This book is, on the whole, in very good collector's condition. It has some difficulties here with a little foxing, a little discoloration. Now, do you have an opinion as to what this book might be worth? Have you ever been told?

GUEST:
No, I mean, I figure that it's got to be worth something, because I don't think the French government would give my great-grandfather something...

APPRAISER:
I don't think so either. And I think that association makes it even more valuable.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Because not only do you have the interest that always goes with Napoleon and Josephine, and you have the flower interest, and you have the government interest, in my opinion this is a $75,000 book.

GUEST:
Yikes.

APPRAISER:
You like that?

GUEST:
I do, thank you.

APPRAISER:
Thank you for bringing it in.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Update (2012)
$85,000 Auction$135,000 Auction
Appraised value (1997)
$75,000 Auction
Event
San Francisco, CA (August 09, 1997)
Period
19th Century
Form
Book
Material
Paper

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