Egyptian Mummified Falcon, ca. 200 BC
It's an Egyptian hawk mummy, and I bought it in 1996 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Middletown, Rhode Island. There was an auction of the contents of a house from an old professor in Maine. And I saw in the newspaper the day before that there was an Egyptian mummy in the auction, so I thought, "I need to get down there and buy that mummy."
(chuckling) Yes, so I did. There were some Egyptologists holding on the line to, to bid on it, but I outbid them.
Mummified animals and birds are found in many Egyptian tombs, and they're there as offerings. This one is to the god Horus, the god of light. He's also the lord of the sky, so he's really, really important. Horus is a falcon, and he's also considered the savior of Egypt from the scorpions. These are found really from about 650 B.C. to about 250 A.D. in Egypt. Have you any idea what it's worth?
No, none whatsoever.
And what did you pay for it?
My top bid was going to be $1,000.
But I went to $2,500, so...
All right. I think a retail market for this would be between $3,500 and about $5,000.
Wow. That's amazing-- I would never sell it.
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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.
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