Bakelite Purses & Bracelet

Value (2014) | $9,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
When we think about antiques, we normally don't think about plastics.

GUEST:
I know.

APPRAISER:
And that's what you brought us here, Bakelite, which is an early form of plastic, a phenol formaldehyde. How did you get these?

GUEST:
I'm a collector, and I just love purses. I have more at home, but I think these are three of the best. I love Art Deco stuff.

APPRAISER:
Well, this is the quintessential Art Deco look. In 1908, a man called L.H. Baekeland got the patent for Bakelite, and that's where we get the name Bakelite from. And here we have three examples of terrific purses. These have become very collectible over the past couple years. We've seen an increased value in radios and other Bakelite items. Sometimes they're marked like this first one, which is by Llewellyn. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're just great style, like this one. But purses like this run for between about $500 to about $1,000, to about $1,500.

GUEST:
Yes!

APPRAISER:
So you've really done just a great job. But tell me a little bit about how you got this bracelet.

GUEST:
Mrs. Bart lived just down the block from my parents, and she was elderly, and my parents would do the lawn, and the light would go out and my dad would go down and fix it, and they just became very good friends and took good care of her. She passed away. People from back east came and took most everything in the house. My mom went down to clean, and the people that were there said "Take this, throw it away, do whatever you want with it, we don't it." So Mom said, "You know what, take it." So she did, and then she gave it to me.

APPRAISER:
It's very classic Bakelite design. It's called the Philadelphia bracelet. And I'm going to say, conservatively, it's worth between $6,000 and $8,000.

GUEST:
No way!

APPRAISER:
And I've asked a couple of other experts here, and we feel it could be even worth a little bit more than that.

GUEST:
Oh, my God! (laughing) Yay! This is so cool! Oh, thank you so much! Am I allowed to hug you, or is that not okay? Oh, thank you so much, oh, my gosh! (laughing) Okay, that is so cool, oh, my gosh! Oh, thank you so much!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
New York, NY
Update (2014)
$9,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Appraised value (2000)
$9,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Event
Denver, CO (June 17, 2000)
Form
Bracelet, Purse
Material
Bakelite

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