Franz Hagenauer Embossed Brass Frame

Value (2003) | $2,000 Insurance

GUEST:
I found this at a church rummage sale about eight to ten years ago and really loved it, and I've never found anything suitable in my eyes to put in it. I thought it was just beautiful the way it was and I know nothing about it.

APPRAISER:
So what was it about it that caught your eye? I'm just intrigued to know why anybody would buy a frame that's got such a busy design on it like that.

GUEST:
Because it's Egyptian and it's... it's the '20s and it's Deco and it's got all this stuff going on and it's just beautiful. It's a work of art, I think.

APPRAISER:
You're quite right, it is a work of art. I share your enthusiasm for it. I mean, the actual manufacturing technique is quite simple-- it's just embossed, so there's no great intrinsic value in the material. It's straightforward. It's brass, it's embossed.

GUEST:
Is this mass-produced?

APPRAISER:
Well, believe it or not, it would be mass-produced, but fortunately, the people who made this were quite discerning, and they didn't let too many onto the market. They could have made a thousand, but they would only make a hundred. Did it occur to you just where it might have been made? No? Okay. Let's have a look at some of the decoration. There's something Egyptianesque about this bird, isn't there? We've got more stylized birds here. This is a stylized palm tree-- the trunk of a palm tree. And then over here, I love this figure. I mean, it's almost like a Masai warrior, isn't it? There's a definite sort of African feel to this. And then more of this sort of cubistic elements. You're quite right, it's very Art Deco. And the dog down here is a joy. I say a dog. I mean, it may well be a gazelle. I can hardly make it out from where I am, but either way, the composition's everything. When it comes to where it was made, well, you've got to do a little bit of detective work. If I can just pop this down here. I noticed there's a mark down here. Have you ever come across this mark?

GUEST:
I looked at it a number of times and could never find any mark.

APPRAISER:
Okay. Well, it's hiding down there. It says "WHW." This is a mark of a maker that was working in Vienna called Franz Hagenauer. You come across him before?

GUEST:
I have a small Hagenauer head.

APPRAISER:
You do?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Well, it seems that you home in on Hagenauers. This particular frame dates from around about 1925, 1928. And if I wanted to replace this today, I would need to have in my pocket at least $2,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So, all I can say is the next time you go off to this church rummage sale, would you give me a ring? I'd love to fly over from Britain and come and meet you there and do a little bit of buying.

GUEST:
I'm amazed. I'm very pleased. Thank you.

APPRAISER:
So you should-- three dollars. $2,000. Not a bad return.

GUEST:
What would you put in this frame?

APPRAISER:
You put a photograph of your mother in it. ( laughs )

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2003)
$2,000 Insurance
Event
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)
Form
Frame
Material
Brass

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