20th-Century Lucite Purse & Silver Brooch

Value (2004) | $900 Auction

APPRAISER:
You came in wearing this pocketbook on your arm and wearing this brooch on your sweater and I'm curious,

which one did you come in to show us?

GUEST:
Well, I was curious about this, but I was very curious about this pin.

APPRAISER:
How did you get the bag?

GUEST:
This purse belonged to my husband's grandmother.

APPRAISER:
Oh, so you got it in the family.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
It's a very neat bag. You're probably thinking it's Bakelite. It's not. It's Lucite, it's one of the plastics done in the '50s. What makes this bag unusual is the shape. We call this the beehive and that's really more than the color, because the color's kind of, you know, it's not bright, but it's black so you wear it with everything. It's got some nice rhinestone closure, missing a few stones, but the shape is what makes it and you're probably curious about value. I mean, it's not tremendous, but around $250 to $350.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Now, how did you get the brooch?

GUEST:
I got that at a garage sale.

APPRAISER:
Did you know anything about it?

GUEST:
No, and I liked it because of the color of these stones.

APPRAISER:
You like carnelian. Well, when I saw the pin on you, I was saying, I wonder if that's by a very famous Danish silversmith named George Jensen. Have you ever heard of him?

GUEST:
Uh-uh.

APPRAISER:
He was the most important maker at around 1905. That's when he started his silversmithy, but when I turned it over, it wasn't by George Jensen, but it was by a very interesting manufacturer at the same time, so this is actually a hundred years old.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
It's repoussé and it's silver, and the stones are carnelian. Right here it's got hallmarks and it says "BH" and it says "826." Now, the BH is the maker, and that's Bernhard Hertz, and the 826 is the standard of silver, the fineness of the silver. Sterling is 950. They used 826 and 830, as did George Jensen, so that tells us all about it. It's sort of its provenance. The design is fabulous. It is something that is certainly wearable and you could get those stones not only in carnelian, but in dyed-green onyx or in amber. If this were by George Jensen, I would value it at about $3,500.

GUEST:
Amazing.

APPRAISER:
But it's by Bernhard & Hertz. What would you be happy with? Two dollars?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Three dollars?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
About $600.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
Well, I'm still going to wear it.

APPRAISER:
These secondary silversmiths from that period are starting to really increase in value, so you have something

that's quite valuable and wonderful.

GUEST:
Yeah, I love it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, Massachusetts
Appraised value (2004)
$900 Auction
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Form
Brooch, Purse
Material
Lucite, Silver

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