18th-Century Polychrome Plaster Figures
Ever since a child, I remember these sitting in my grandmother and grandfather's home at Christmastime. It was always a delight to see. My great-uncle bought them at an auction in Portugal back in 1923. They supposedly came out of a convent that was being demolished, and they were auctioning off all the religious items. My great-uncle bought them for my grandfather, and my grandfather brought them back to California about 1925, I would say.
Well, what they are, actually, is they're polychromed plaster groups representing the nativity scene. There are obviously some missing parts. But what you've got here is still quite wonderful. They date from the 18th century. In spite of their Portuguese Madeira Island origin, I actually think that there's no doubt about it that these two groups are definitely Spanish. This one... this one actually is not typically Spanish. This group could actually be Portuguese. The carving of these faces here are not very Spanish. They're unlike the other groups, even though these obviously are not religious figures. So that may be the reason. But what you have here with the three kings and this marvelous painting all the way around, this is very Spanish. They date from the 18th century with these sterling crowns. And the value for the entire set would be between $6,000 and $9,000.
You're kidding me. Wow.
No, not at all.
No, not kidding you at all.
My God. Oh, that's fantastic.
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.