What’s Selling on eBay: April 2017

What's Selling on eBay: April 2017

by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod

$3,521 (19 bids, 3 bidders): Victorian 1870s silk boots – court dressmaker Madame Elise.
An extraordinary pair of red and blue silk boots with turmeric yellow ribbon lacing, bells and gilded heels-made to match a silk costume-made by Madame Elise, 170 Regent Street, London, Court Dressmaker by special appointment to Her Royal Highness Princess of Wales (this was Alexandra of Denmark, who became Princess of Wales in 1863 when she married Edward, the future King Edward VII). This costume and boots date to the 1870s. You will find other images of beautiful costumes made by Madame Elise if you do an internet search; several are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The boots were clearly handmade as part of a very exclusive fancy dress outfit, a Columbine costume, perfectly and correctly made.

I am listing the costume separately. The boots are complete with turmeric-coloured silk ribbon lacing and are in fabulous condition. No fragility of the silk and almost no damage. Very rare indeed to find antique shoes or boots in such amazingly good condition. The tops are adorned with bells, and there is a blue silk turnover lined with white kid leather. There is also a silk and kid-lined “tongue” inside the boots. All the brass hooks for lacing the boots are present. The only issue is a very tiny amount of nibbling to the blue silk turnovers. Some measurements: height of heel 5 cm.; length and width measured on the leather sole, 26 cm. x 6.5 cm.; height of boots 26 cm. Wonderful display items, a real find!
(Photo: eBay seller linskapet, www.starchedandcrumpled.com)

DBA:  How can these boots be compared to others found for sale? These boots were made at a time when women wore long dresses, and their boots would just be glimpsed on occasion. Also, boots were either a dark basic color (black) or a light color (ivory). It is rare to find boots at all, and rarer still to find boots made by a prominent dressmaker to match a gown. These boots were probably worn once for some special event. At a time when most people had all of their clothing fit into a small armoire, these boots do not fit the norm.

The accompanying dress:

$2,286 (14 bids, 4 bidders): Victorian 1870s silk costume – court dressmaker Madame Elise.
An extraordinary silk costume made by Madame Elise, 170 Regent Street, London – Court Dressmaker by special appointment to Her Royal Highness Princess of Wales. This costume dates to the 1870s. The costume is complete with turmeric-coloured silk ribbon lacing, lace and a very intricately layered underskirt attached to the silk overskirt, layers of pleated tarlatan and lace. There are bells attached to every corner of both top and skirt; they all appear to be present. This is in fantastic condition, with no underarm staining and no fragility of the silk. I have photographed the damage I can find, some nibbling to the underskirts and also to a couple of areas along the bottom hemline. Some measurements (all taken with the garments laid flat and measured straight across): corseted top shoulder to shoulder, 36cm.; underarm to underarm, 46 cm.; waist when laced, 33 cm.; skirt waistband, 33cm. and length, 90 cm. Fabulous for display!
(Photo: eBay seller linskapet, www.starchedandcrumpled.com)

DBA:  This is a low price for a dress by this dressmaker. I must admit that I believe that it is due to the “costume” nature of the outfit.  Many period gowns and dresses that are sold on fabulous Internet sites are for occasions such as weddings, the Oscars, etc. This dress would probably be for display only.

$1,275 (12 bids, 5 bidders): Antique Barbershop Towel Steamer & Sterilizer ca. 1925.
Such an amazing piece of history! These were fired up with a gas burner and filled with water in which the steam would rise to warm towels. Designed & patented by EK (or KE) Dec 1, 1925 / Jan 12, 1926. Please note that the item was previously owned and shows heavy signs of wear.  One of the wood handles is cracked, and the copper has slight dents. It has not been tested for actual use and would be considered a collectible or conversation piece. Sold as-is. Approximate dimensions: overall height is 59 inches and the rounded copper top is about a 20-inch diameter. Weight is 93 lbs. It’s a rarity to find an item that has absolutely no indication of use. We do not repair, clean/polish, or otherwise recondition our products; they are sold in as-found condition.
(Photo: eBay seller smmatt)

DBA:  This price is on the low side but note that this is being sold as is. The damage is noted and does not seem extensive. Some restored ones can cost as much as $3,000. I have seen them sell for more on eBay, but the copper was in a polished condition. There are more efficient ways to enjoy hot towels today.

$2,550 (19 bids, 6 bidders): Eskimo Inuit-Yupik (Chukchi) Siberia Antique Snow Goggles Antler.
Material: antler; 5 inches. Very old.
(Photo: eBay seller alekotsi)

DBA: Snow goggles were made by the Inuit people of the Artic to prevent snow blindness. This was most prevalent in late winter and early spring when strong ultraviolet light reflects from the snow which can burn the retina. The earliest snow goggles date back almost 2000 years. Unlike traditional sunglasses, these do not mist, ice or fog in the polar climate. The oldest ones were carved from bone or ivory, and later, wood was used. These are a bone material and are nicely carved. While I have seen some at auction sell for similar prices, this is more a retail price.

Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or Deborah@expert-appraisers.com. Her website is www.expert-appraisers.com.

What’s Selling on eBay: April 2017