Edward Farmer Jade and Gold Box

Value (2013) | $250,000 Auction$350,000 Auction

This was given to me as a gift at the age of ten, and I won't say how long that was ago.

I'm not going to ask.

It was purchased in New York at Parke Bernet galleries. I was told that the jade pieces came from a ceremonial belt, Chinese, and probably came into this country in the mid- to late 19th century. The piece was commissioned to incorporate these pieces of jade at the Edward Farmer Studio in New York.

All those things are absolutely correct. But there's a few other things about it which really will help determine what the value is. These white panels are indeed part of a Chinese belt, and the belt... you'll notice on this particular box that the panels match each other. And that's because you have the two sides of the belt so they're evenly matched. And you can see that here on this side. This one has a shou symbol in the center, which is for good luck. And as we flip it around, you'll see exactly the same panel on the back. And if we do the same for the top, you'll see that there are, in fact, panels that have dragons, and the carving of this jade and the color of the jade is indicative of a type of workmanship that would have been made in the 16th century. And it would have come from a tomb.

A tomb?

So it was buried and someone took it from a tomb. Likely would have been sometime right around the Boxer Rebellion, which is in the early part of this century. Now, the other thing that's interesting is Edward Farmer was a major New York City designer-decorator- goldsmith. He worked in the Carlyle Hotel from the '20s through the 1940s, and he worked in a manner very similar to the things that were done by Cartier, where they would actually have European shapes and they would incorporate Asian materials, principally jade, lacquer and other things. What's interesting about Edward Farmer is a lot of his stuff comes up for auction, but typically most of the pieces fetch prices that are in the range of $1,000 to $5,000. Most of those are not gold. This is, in fact, as you turn it up and look and see right here: "Edward Farmer, 18-karat gold." So what we're looking at is not just a regular Edward Farmer box; you're looking at one of the finest boxes Edward Farmer ever made, and I've seen lots of Edward Farmer things. These incorporate Mandarin beads from a necklace. And I would have to say that this is going to be worth quite a bit of money. You're smiling-- you ought to smile.

Well, quite a bit is better than not too much.

You got this as a gift?

It was a gift from a wealthy friend of the family, yes.

Well, in fact, this is worth, I would say, between $80,000 and $125,000. That's a lot of money.

Yes, it is.

Appraisal Details

Lark Mason Associates
New York, NY
Update (2013)
$250,000 Auction$350,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$80,000 Auction$125,000 Auction
Providence, RI (August 21, 1999)
Asian Arts
Gold , Jade

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