Late 16th-Century Diamond Marriage Jewel | Mansion Masterpieces Preview


GUEST: I got it from my mother, who got it
from her parents, and it goes back to my great-grandfather, who managed a shipyard during World War I. After the war, he traveled around the world
and brought home some souvenirs, and this was one of them. He picked it up in Paris in 1923. APPRAISER: And we have an original bill of
sale, and it’s dated 1923, and it came from Arnold Seligmann in Paris. Seligmann was a very well-known connoisseur
and collector of antiquities, renaissance jewels, and as he says, curiosities on his
bill of sale. And in the bill of sale, he gives it a particular
description as well, and the high point is that he says, “This jewel had been made for
Gabriel Bethlen”– he was the prince of Transylvania– in honor of his marriage to Catherine of Brandenburg,
and that it dates from the late 16th century. So what you do have here is the actual jewel. There are many pieces out there that have
attributions that are never quite correct, but this piece is 100% correct. Stylistically, it has a very Germanic and
Austrian stylization to it, as would be typical of the period. And this was a marriage jewel; this was to
commemorate the marriage, and in doing so, it embodies all the different Catholic symbols
related to Christianity and marriage. So we have a cross, but the cross also becomes
an anchor, which is the anchor of hope. We also have two doves. The two hands on either side, which are enameled,
are clenching a heart. The heart is in the background. And then on the bottom here is a skull, and
this is related to death and immortality, but also to the idea of love everlasting,
till death do we part. The piece is made of gold, and it’s highlighted
by rose cut diamonds and then accented with both white and green enamel on various portions
of the piece. Now, have you ever had this item appraised
before? GUEST: No, I couldn’t find anything to compare
it to. APPRAISER: Do you have any idea what was paid
for the piece when it was purchased? GUEST: He paid 45,000 francs. There was a notation on the bottom from New
York that says $2,770. That might be an equivalent. APPRAISER: On the ROADSHOW, we see very few
late 16th-century pieces. There just aren’t that many out there. And it’s the scale and the magnitude of this
piece and the symbolism that really makes it so extraordinary. At auction, I would place a value on this
of somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000. GUEST: That’s a lot. APPRAISER: Well, as we would say in the business,
“Try to find another one.” GUEST: Yeah.

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Comments

  1. wooow $4770 in 1923?!?!? not even joking, you could have bought a couple hosues for that much back then.

  2. $2700 in 1923 is equal to around $39,300 in today's money…so this thing actually was a pretty poor investment. Just to put it in perspective, if you had invested $2700 in an S&P portfolio in 1927 and just reinvested your dividends in all subsequent years, you'd be looking at a cool $23 million today.

  3. I'm such an avid fan of this show and learned a lot over the years.  There was never real wealth in my family, but when I was a child I remember sitting in my grandmother's dining room facing 2 bronze sculptures on the wall.  After my father passed away I asked by sister if she ever saw them and she said that she had them in a box somewhere.  When I received them I had them appraised, just out of curiosity, and discovered that they are valuable.  The auctioneer wanted me to leave them with her so that she could send them to another city but I said no.  They had more sentimental value to me and would never be sold.  They now hang in my dining room just as my grandmother had them in hers.

  4. What is it with ppl like this??? This is why I've always preferred the British show.. Ppl there just seem so much more appreciative, surprised and /or happy when their stuff is appraised. This guy sucked. His reaction was IDENTICAL as if I would've said, "Sorry sir, the buffet is closed for the day." (Frowns) "Humph. Ya whatever." Why are some ppl so freakin miserable?? I call it "unrealistic GREED."

  5. This piece is actually my family heirloom. My family tree extends to this marriage. When I heard the names I got excited. My clan was from the Brandenburg side.

  6. Incorrect valuation. Way out! Worth a lot more. These American experts don’t seem to know their stuff, not like an English appraiser. I wonder where his family stole this?

  7. The Parisian merchant took the American tourist to the cleaners on this one.
    In 1923, $2770.00 would have bought a nice house the states!!!

  8. Given the provenance and age I would have expected this jewel to be worth ten times as much as appraised for.. I'm really shocked the number is so low.

  9. Yes that's quality alright. It's teutonic design almost grabs you by the ….. anyway
    a rather conservative estimate also.

  10. That’s it. Unbelievable jewelry from the 1500’s even the British monarchy jewels were destroyed. Why bother keeping anything??? Sell it all!!

  11. I think these gentleman giving appraisals are not always being truthful so they could purchase the pieces after the show. I saw a few watches on another show very low appraisal. This piece is almost one of a kind

  12. Taking inflation into account, the bauble only appreciated between 30-40 percent in the 93 years between purchase and this show.

  13. Come on, $50k is a lot of money. I think the item is not worth more because it lacks all of the 3 main things in an antique. It is not by a famous maker, like a Rolex or a Picasso, it was not owned by a renowned figure, like British royalty and it is not linked to a particularly interesting time period, like an old chinese dinasty

  14. I like when he read the note on the bill of sale, and pointed at the word executed, but said the word honored.

  15. The way the hands two middle fingers are together . It's worth so much he should never of showed it on TV . I bet he don't have it anymore

  16. Going off inflation $4770 into todays price would be $69,800 so I think this would be worth north of $200,000 due to the provinance attached to it. I wonder if it was sold at auction after this episode

  17. I'm really surprised that given the age, workmanship and provenance it had such a low valuation, given that the expert even said "try and get another one". $2700 in 1925 is worth approx $40,000 today, so for a truly unique piece it doesn't seem correct.

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