Chinese Glass Snuff Bottles
They were given to me by a friend who said that his brother was a war correspondent during the Second World War and he collected them while he was in China.
Now, did he tell you what they are?
Chinese snuff bottles.
That's right. The Chinese had a long tradition of making glass but that tradition changed dramatically when the Jesuits came to China seeking to bring Christianity to the nation. The Jesuits came up with these tools for making glass in the late 17th century. The Chinese took those ideas, they developed them and by the time these were made in the late 18th century or early 19th century, they had a fully formed idea of how to do it themselves. The glass on this example on the right is done in a very elaborate, unusual fashion. The bottle itself is this white glass and all these other colors are applied to the surface. Little specks of glass are annealed to the glass, in fact, and then those are carved on the surface and there's a crab and some insects and there's a flower coming out of a rock, but they're five different colors. That gives you a clue as to the workmanship, the amount of time that it took to make this. The second snuff bottle is also made out of glass, but it's in the shape of a lotus, which has connotations of good fortune and prosperity. This glass is done in a complex manner. The surface, before it was carved, was virtually white. And then that's been carved back so that you get the deeper color in the background. The value of these... the one on the right is worth about $1,500 to $2,000. The lotus example is about the same and maybe, in fact, even a little bit more. So they're really pretty nice objects.
They are because I liked them just because I thought they were interesting and pretty…
…but it's nice to know they do have a value as well.
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.