St. George & the Dragon Figural Group, ca. 1880
This St. George slaying the dragon was part of my aunt's property and estate on Cape Cod.
And did you inherit this?
She left me her property and I bought the contents of the house, so I acquired this and everything else in the house.
And about how long have you had this?
So you've been enjoying it for a couple of years now. Well, what you've brought us here today is a fantastic German late-19th century-- we could even say circa 1880-- example of St. George slaying the dragon, and this is done in silver and carved ivory and it's on this fantastic base with this inscription here on the front in Latin, saying, "Sanctus George," so St. George. The legend of St. George, who was actually born in Palestine in the third century AD, was brought back by the Crusaders and has been expounded upon throughout the middle ages into more modern times, depicted throughout art history in various forms: in sculpture, painting. And what we have here is this fantastically carved horse and dragon in ivory, and I say fantastically carved because if one looks quite closely at all of the detail, you see the fingernails, the dragon's eyes, the dragon's claws. It's incredibly detailed and well done. And then the silver is also very finely chased and it's got these great paste faux stones representing emeralds, rubies and sapphires. This is carved fully in the round, and if you look from the back, it's just as well done as it is from the front. You've got the plume on his helmet, you've got the beautiful horse's mane, and the tail is fantastic. While we don't know specifically who made it, we know it's German based on some hallmarks on the silver, though they're fairly indistinguishable, so it's impossible to know specifically. And unfortunately, it's not possible to know who carved the ivory, as it is not signed. So this was done by a master carver and a master silversmith, and it's a great example. Now, I've said it's carved ivory, so we do need to just mention that there are local, state, national and international laws that deal with the trade in protected species, so when selling this, one has to be conscious of those laws. But I would expect this piece, if it were offered at a gallery, we could see this priced at $30,000.
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.
Broadway's Best on PBS
Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles; One Man, Two Guvnors; Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn, and Lea Salonga in Concert.