Émile Gallé Faience Cat, ca. 1890

Value (2012) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction

This cat has been in my family probably since the early '50s. And my grandmother, since my childhood, has always said that it would be mine because I loved it as a little kid and I drew pictures of it. So when my grandmother passed away recently, the cat was left to me.

Well, let me tell you a little about your cat. I'm going to turn him over, and we can see the name of the maker, E. Gallé, which is for… Émile Gallé. Now, …Émile Gallé is known as one of the founders of the French art nouveau movement, and he's mostly known as a maker of glass. But he also made furniture, and he grew up in a family of potters. And in his early career in the 1880s and 1890s, he made pottery, especially this type of pottery. You can see the white color of this glaze. It's made white by adding tin, which oxidizes and goes white over the pottery base. We call this faience, or tin-glazed earthenware. It's very traditional to the French provinces. Gallé was working in the French provinces, in Nancy, when he made this faience cat. And he made a wide range of faience, but he particularly liked these cats. And they have been reproduced more recently, so we look carefully at them to see if they're new ones or old ones. But this is an old one, and in many ways, the best way to tell if it's an old one is simply by looking at the face. Your cat has what I like to call the Cheshire Cat grin.

Yeah, it does.

And it's almost impossible to replicate that particular kind of mischievousness that Gallé put into the grin.

He does have that look.

It's also beautifully made, beautifully colored, and very characteristic of a Gallé cat, probably made in the 1890s. Today, these are quite valuable. I don't know if you've ever had an appraisal done of him, or...

No, I've tried to find out a little bit about him and I went on the internet, but I could only find out about the glass, there wasn't anything about pottery.

Well, this one today at an auction would probably bring about $2,000.


Because it's in such great condition, it may even bring $2,500 or $3,000.


Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Update (2012)
$2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
Appraised value (2001)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
New York, NY (July 14, 2001)
19th Century
November 12, 2012: We contacted appraiser Nicholas Dawes for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500 (Increased)

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.