1917 Caldwell Hair Ornament

Value (2004) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

GUEST:
This hair ornament was given to my grandmother by Henry Bacon to say thank you for her work on the Lincoln Memorial. She was in charge of all the flat work.

APPRAISER:
Is this your grandmother sitting on...?

GUEST:
This is she, sitting on Lincoln's hand before he was put together.

APPRAISER:
Okay, and this one is...

GUEST:
When they were moving... when Lincoln was put together up on the pedestal. She was a sculptor.

APPRAISER:
She was a sculptor.

GUEST:
She worked in stone, she worked in clay and then had it cast in bronze.

APPRAISER:
The other interesting thing is this box. It's an original box. And it's in deplorable condition.

GUEST:
It's in deplorable condition.

APPRAISER:
But you've saved it.

GUEST:
I have saved it.

APPRAISER:
When did your mother give this to you?

GUEST:
It was for Christmas, either 1972 or 1973.

APPRAISER:
Did your mother ever wear it?

GUEST:
I don't know. I think so, once. And I know my grandmother wore it.

APPRAISER:
Do you ever wear it?

GUEST:
I've worn it twice.

APPRAISER:
Oh, great. It's made out of 22-karat gold. It's high-karat gold, and it's hallmarked also, by Caldwell from New York, Edward Caldwell. He was a great jeweler in New York City. One of his claims to fame is that he made a lot of boxes for prominent people in Washington, D.C.-- silver boxes, gold boxes and jewelry. I know you're interested about the yellow stone in the middle. That is topaz. The flower on the outside is all done in green enamel. The other thing about this great hair ornament is that it's not only signed by the maker, it is also dedicated to her on this adjustable hairpiece. On one side it says, "To Evelyn Beatrice Longman, given to her by Henry Bacon." And the date is 1917, July 21. And the other side... is inscribed, "A token for her work that she did on the Lincoln Memorial." The building was done by...

GUEST:
Henry Bacon.

APPRAISER:
Bacon. And the statue was done by...?

GUEST:
Daniel Chester French.

APPRAISER:
The workmanship on here is magnificent. Every one is graduated, so it's not a casting-- it's all hand done. Every leaf is done separately and then assembled, so it's a lot of work. Now, there's 2 1/2 ounces of gold in here. So gold content, that's pretty high. The stone is not valuable.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's not a very good topaz. But it is genuine. Gold content and the value of the stone and the labor on this, today's market would be somewhere around $3,000, okay?

GUEST:
That's a lot.

APPRAISER:
But because we have Caldwell, we have the name of Bacon on here, we have your grandmother's name on here, this can easily go to $15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow. (chuckling)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cluster Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2004)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Portland, OR (August 21, 2004)
Period
20th Century
Material
Enamel, Gold, Topaz

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