Chinese Peking Glass Vase & two Jades

Value (2004) | $34,000 Auction

APPRAISER:
When you brought these in, you said they were family pieces.

GUEST:
They are.

APPRAISER:
Belonging to your grandfather.

GUEST:
That's correct.

APPRAISER:
And this is Chinese Peking glass.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
This piece he had in a book where it was illustrated facing the title page, very unusual to be that prominent a piece, and that was a 1968 publication. You have two layers of glass, the white and the green. They would carve away enough of the green to reveal the pattern, and in this case the pattern is a pair of Chinese dragons. Now, this is Chinese. Now, the dragons are chasing what's called the flaming pearl, which is a precious object that they're after. The flaming pearl is in the center, right there.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Now, this is dated to about 1780 to 1820-- end of the 18th, early 19th century-- and it's a very fine example. It's in perfect condition. I think the value on this is about $15,000 today.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
That's what I felt. When I saw it, I said, "wow." I was quite surprised to see it. These two were also your grandfather's.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Now, he bought them in London in a 1958 auction. These are jade carvings. I don't know if you know about jade and how it's carved.

GUEST:
Very little.

APPRAISER:
It's extremely hard. You can't scratch it with steel. The knife blade will not scratch jade. It takes power tools. When they didn't have electric power, they used foot treadles to drive the wheel and the tool was usually diamond tipped. Now, this is an incense burner. It comes from an early Chinese form that was done 3,000 years ago, but this dates to late 18th, early 19th century. If you look at the cover, you'll see that it's carved through, what we call reticulated carving. And if you look at the mouth of the dragon on the cover, his tongue has been carved.

GUEST:
That's always been my favorite thing.

APPRAISER:
You pointed that out to me. I didn't see it because it's so small. These are handles with loose rings on them, and right in the center is what we call the taotie. It's a mask that was a motif used in early bronzes in China and it's a very ancient motif. This one has a value of approximately $12,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
It's a beautiful piece. Now, the color's gray. Jade comes in many colors. These two are both of nephrite jade, which is the more fibrous form of jade. The third piece, also from the London purchase, is a libation vessel. They would hold the two handles, lift it up and drink like that. This was also the same period-- late 18th, early 19th century. These animals are not dragons, they're ch'i-lin, they're similar to dragons, but they seem to have tiger bodies. This is a beautiful jade. It's, as we call it, translucent, because you can see through it so easily. There aren't any duplicates of these. These were one of a kind. A third aspect of both of them is the wood stands. These wood stands are superb. The wood stand alone-- there are people who would pay $500 for that.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
It's very intricate and beautifully done. It's inlaid with ivory. This vessel is worth approximately $7,000.

GUEST:
Well, I think my grandfather did quite well, because he paid £38 for the small vessel and he paid £140 for the incense burner and I have no idea what he paid for the jade.

APPRAISER:
Well, the £38 translated to about $114. I think that's what we figured. And that's $7,000 today. This, about $700; that's $12,000 today. And that's what these are worth on the market today, not insurance values. If you want to wash them, you can put the jades in the dishwasher.

GUEST:
Really? We'll have to try that.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin Sokolow Antiques
Bayside, Wisconsin
Appraised value (2004)
$34,000 Auction
Event
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)
Form
Vase
Material
Jade

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