Category Archives: Auction

Some Lovely Things on Ebay

Three stunning way-too-expensive pieces are selling on E-bay. They come from different worlds. Looking at them, I feel like I’m in a historical conference in an imaginary United Nations.

The first piece is a back comb from the French Empire’s Eugenie period, c. 1860. A blue enameled center sets off two sides of gilt-bronze scrolls, as well as a scroll at the top. The tiara sits on a tortoiseshell comb. Bidding starts at 1190 EUR, and you may examine auction 221042135855.

Scholarship by Joost Daalder (thank you!): “This rare silver head piece comes from the Yao people, one of the 55 recognized ethnic minorities in China. It was known as a celestial crown, made by girls at puberty, using silver pieces and human hair. The original early piece was worn every day by one Yao sub-group but only for special occasions by other sub-groups. You may see the discussion in Truus Daalder’s book, Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment, pages 209-10. The more modern versions – several of which were not made by the Yao themselves – usually lack the human hair and are less fine and less intricate.”

As you can see, this piece is original. Price: $4800. You may examine item 260814325656.

Our last piece is a comb from the Batak peoples of Sumatra (thank you Jen Cruse), made from wood, bamboo, and brass. It sports a beautifully carved handle. The condition is fabulous. Price: 600 EUR or best offer. You may examine item 330743121368.


For more scholarly research, please examine these books in our Resource Library.

Paris Salons 1895-1914: Jewellery, Vol. 1: The Designers A-K

The Art of Silver Jewellery: From the Minorities of China

Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment

Some Lovely Things on Ebay

I guess Ebay is having a cycle. Sometimes it’s dead for what seems like years, as in, “If I see this comb listed for way too much money one more time I’m going to scream.” Other times, beautiful pieces come on the market.

This week, a white-gold hair pin with diamond stems and pink mother-of-pearl flower buds is selling for $1439.99 in a Buy It Now. It was made in the 1960’s. The hair pin shape with two curved prongs surrounding a straight one imitates French style in the late 19th Century. You may refer to auction 130649801556.

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The comb in this ad

sold for $102 on Ebay France, a pittance. Hand-drawn geishas wearing kanzashi grace a French ivory comb, as they are framed by floral kanzashi ornaments. One of our authors wanted it, but lost by a snipe bid from an unknown account. My guess is the person who put the picture of this ad in the Bonaz section of her store got the prized, rare Bonaz.

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An 18th Century silver hair ornament with rubies and a bird in the center is selling for $700. It has the original patina, is in excellent condition, and was part of the traditional decoration worn by classical Bharata-natyam dancers in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. You may refer to auction 190153693139.

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The same dealer is also selling a superb Yao hair pin. The Yao people originated in the hills of China and settled in the Golden Triangle, which overlaps the mountain ranges of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. It is the second-largest opium-producing area in the world next to Afghanistan. This ceremonial pin has real hair and wool on the back and was made c. 1900. Price: $1550.

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This Chinese ivory export comb with three floral stems over an intricate lacy background sold for $643.78. It came in its original box. Sellers who list antique ivory combs on ebay describe them as “ox bone” because too many people have tried to sell modern poached ivory, which is a crime and should be prosecuted.

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Our last item is a beautiful pair of French Art Nouveau hair pins with painted pink flowers. The seller believes they are blonde tortoiseshell. I would have to hold them in my hand, but tradition dictates the material could also be clarified horn. The auction has one day to go, there are no bids, and the starting price is $331.52. You may refer to auction 200716111321.

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For more research, please examine

How to Buy, Sell, and Profit on eBay

How to Sell on Ebay for the Computer Shy – 2nd Edition

Estate Sale Prospecting for Fun and Profit with craigslist and eBay

Some Lovely Things on Ebay

We are beauty hunters. Some lovely things have sold on E-bay at good prices, while other nice pieces are still for sale.

This emerald, pearl, and diamond Victorian parure was sent in by one of our community’s subscribers. I was so pleased to hear from her. Thank you! If another subscriber finds something delicious, you are more than welcome to send me a picture at

This parure comes from Austria, c. 1870, with hallmarks. It is made from 14K gold, sterling silver, faceted and cabachon emeralds, rose-cut diamonds, and pearls. The emeralds are mostly light green, however, the two cabachons at the bottom of the necklace have the beautiful deep-green color you want to see. The set comes in its original box. Price: $29,500.

This beautiful metal kanzashi from The Miriam Slater Collection has many meanings. The bent wire represents water. The crane signifies honor and loyalty. A silver rock anchors a floral bouquet. I will guess that the cuts in the circular pieces of dangling metal are a family crest. It is on sale for $225, a nice price for a rare, elaborate piece.

This 19th-Century Indian ivory comb was mislabled “Antique Victorian Ornately Carved Ox Bone Double Comb.” The Creative Museum has one. Whoever got this, even with the broken piece on the top left, for $63.91 did very well.

French Art Nouveau innovators like Louis Aucoc, who employed Rene Lalique, ornamented clarified horn with pearls to create jewelry that mirrored the natural world. He had many followers, among them Lucien Galliard. This art nouveau horn comb is beautifully translucent, with scrolling on the edges. Its three asymmetrical pearls are just enough, but not too much — a stunning piece. Unsigned, it sold for $639.07.

This real tortoiseshell, gold, and pearl art nouveau back comb is a classic beauty in excellent condition. It sold for $219.30.

Lastly, a dealer misidentified this silver comb as a “Spanish Mantilla Bird.” Well, first, a mantilla is a veil. The peineta that holds up the mantilla is much larger, and the comb is American. The hallmark indicates that it was made by Knowles & Ladd of Providence, Rhode Island, c. 1870. I do love the bird though. It sold for $145.


For more research on comb identification and values, please examine these books, which can all be found in our Resource Library.

Hair Combs: Identification & Values

The Comb: Its History and Development

Le Peigne Dans Le Monde

Ebay: Empire Comb Prices

After the big September 23rd auction, there have been three French combs, c.1790 – 1850, which went for varying prices. The one that sold for $315 was a steal because the photograph did not show its complexity, nor my instinct that there were pearls dangling from the gilt circles decorated with lapis flowers. Here is the record of what sold, when, and for how much:

Coral Empire comb. Superb Condition. Sold: $1045.51, Oct. 5, 2011. Ebay France.

French Tiara comb with pearls and lapis jewels surrounded by seed pearls, c. 1800, Sold: $616.58, Oct. 5, 2011, Ebay France.

French Empire comb, lapis enamel flowers on gilded silver with dangling pearls, excellent condition, Sold: $315, Oct. 6, 2011,

That Ebay Auction: It was an Amethyst Empire Comb

The stones were amethysts. Shall we compare the comb in this Empire parure on a historical jewelry site to the one that went for $458 in that E-bay auction?

The comb correctly identified.

The amethyst Empire comb that went for $458 on Ebay.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Tiara by Diana Scarisbrick

Napoleon’s Letters to Josephine, 1796-1812

Catalogue Des Bijoux Du Musee Napoleon III (1862)

The Ebay Auction Everyone Was Talking About

Remember that two Empire diadems with almost all the seed pearls missing sold at Sotheby’s 3 years ago for $3000 a piece. Now, incredulously, a dealer from Belgium got the hair comb collection of a lifetime, and sold it on E-Bay for basically nothing. I couldn’t BELIEVE my eyes.

This French Empire seed pearl comb IN EXCELLENT CONDITION sold for *drum roll* $597.77. He started the bidding at $145. Do you think Sotheby’s could have sold it for $5000? I do.

This one sold for $439.

I have been obsessed with this auction all week, and I can finally talk about it! Oh my God, the bargains people got. Congratulations to all the winners.

There were some absolute masterpieces in this collection. Here is a selection with the final selling prices. I don’t know who the collector was, but this was a life’s work of love, devotion, and scholarship. A book could have been published about this collection. The Creative Museum family saw a few of their grandmother’s combs and devoted their lives to turning her interest into a monument. I feel this woman’s heirs, if she had any, saw her life’s love and threw it away.

Sterling silver comb. The bird on top of leaves has a ruby, and the edges are decorated with moonstones: $910.

The coral tiara part of an Empire comb: $760

An 18K gold and diamond top to a blonde tortoiseshell hair pin, c. 1890: $680

A magnificently ornate coral tiara from an Empire comb: $549

Amethyst Empire comb in almost perfect condition: $458

18th-Century ivory comb from Ceylon: $400

French art nouveau tinted horn comb, autumn leaves, c. 1905: $393 I am not sure if any of them were signed, but the art nouveau pieces reminded me of Elizabeth Bonte.

Magnificent French seed-pearl tiara hinged onto a horn comb: $362.88

Three brass thistles decorate a horn comb, c. 1905: $150

Two tinted horn combs, which might be Elizabeth Bonte. One with red flowers ($275), the other with two dragonflies facing each other ($190.50). The dragonflies’ legs are elongated to make the tines of the comb. This is the same idea Lalique used in his famous Two Swallows with a Stalk of Oats.

There was also a beautiful art nouveau comb with chrysanthemums, a favorite flower of the Japanese ($225.49).

This comb was a Victorian tortoiseshell back comb with paste stones, but the blue and green colors were beautiful ($273).

There was also a greek key pattern hand piqued into a tiara hinged onto a tortoiseshell comb, c. 1870 ($148):

Do you think this hair pin on almost transparent blonde tortoiseshell was made of real diamonds? ($166.38)

This ivory hair pin with a woman figure on it was also beautiful ($161), as was this ivory snake comb ($145).

There were two Victorian blonde tortoiseshell combs, which sold for $71 and $46, respectively.

A gorgeous Bonaz rounded out the auction ($170.39)

Ebay Auction: Lovely Manchu Hair Ornament

A beautiful Manchu piece sold on July 31 for $421.67. Deep blue kingfisher feathers were offset by coral, pearl, and floral decorations. A pin or chain could be put through the rings on top. Congratulations to the winner.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Jewelry and Accessories of the Royal Consorts of Qing Dynasty in The Palace Museum

A Pictorial Record of the Qing Dynasty – Old Manchu Capital

My Ebay Auction Was Taken Down. I Put It Up Again.

My ebay auction was taken down because I used a certain word. This comb was made in 1890. It is a legal item, which is why items of a similar material and date are sold at every auction house in the world. Beginning price: $24.99. Here is the new link.

I really didn’t want to put this on my blog, but for all the people who were watching and bidding, I thought it would be convenient for them to have the new link. I apologize for any flutter caused.