What’s In Your Home?

When I am invited into the homes of my friends and family, I am often asked to inspect an heirloom that might be “something.”  In addition, neighbors often leave their mystery home items on my porch for me to examine in my “spare time.”  How good are your connoisseurship and appraisal skills?  Can YOU tell the difference between something with a high value and one with a modest value?

Test Yourself With These 3 Examples




Which of these trinket boxes is worth more? What would you pay for them?


Object A:  Jonas Weber Painted Pine Trinket Box. Sold at Auction: $6,500.00.

Object B:  Lady Maria Trinket Box. Sold at Auction: $19.00.

To the untrained eye, Object A may look like a plain wooden box. A Pennsylvania Dutch antiques connoisseur would recognize the work of the much sought-after 19th c. maker, Jonas Weber. You can see examples of his works appraised on popular television shows like Antiques Roadshow on PBS. This particular piece was “fresh product” when it was sold, meaning it had never been for sale before. Its provenance included ownership by three generations of the same family.  While Object B is attractive, it does not have significant historical value or a noteworthy maker.




Which of these coffee tables is worth more? What would you pay for them?


Object A: Cast Bronze Glass Top Coffee Table in the Style of Diego Giacometti. Sold at Auction: $4,200.00

Object B: Glass-top Coffee Table with Brass Horse-motif and Hoof Feet. Sold at Auction: $60.00

Diego Giacometti was a Swiss designer/sculptor known for his distinctive style and for his famous artist brother, Alberto Giacometti. Object A is in the “style of” Diego, giving it added value for its “look” but not its maker. This cast bronze coffee table with red clay patina is topped with Egyptian cat head finials. The auction house estimated a sale of $400-$800, meaning that the $4,200 price tag may have been the result of a surprise bidding war.

We don’t expect you to know this, but Object B suffers from a chip in its glass. Because there are so many glass tables on the market right now, condition issues drastically affect the price of contemporary items.




Which pair of earrings is worth more? What would you pay for them?


Pair A: Dorothy Feibleman Pair of Earrings. Sold at Auction: $400.00.

Pair B: Diamond Cluster Earrings in Platinum. Sold at Auction: $1,800.00.

It’s not terribly surprising that an authentic pair of diamond and platinum earrings sold for $1,800.  However, I can imagine some children would throw out their mother’s Dorothy Feibleman earrings without realizing their value. Feibleman is a contemporary Japanese ceramicist who also experiments with jewelry.

It can be challenging to recognize which of your items have significant value and which do not.  An appraisal consultation is an excellent way to learn about what you have.

If you are interested in finding out more about your “treasures,” call our office at 973-425-1550.

All Auction Data from LiveAuctioneers.com

Co-Authors: Lynn Magnusson, ASA, AAA and Becky Lipnick, Communications Coordinator

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