What’s It Worth? Art, Metal, Or Rare Artifact?

An exciting item crossed our desk last week. Exciting because it encompassed just about every sense that collectors, hoarders and investors love. Every emotion that collectors share was tickled a bit. The “investment” aspect of collecting ignited the brain. The beta waves that the brain produces in response to focus, excitement and concentration were on full alert.

What is this thing? A work of art? Yes. One-of-a-kind (“piece unique” in collectors jargon)? For sure! Of local interest? Oh yes! Made of solid gold or something valuable? Definitely!

artifact coins

The piece was done by a well-regarded artist, Kentucky-born Herbert Alvin Sharpe, whose work in fine art is documented in virtually every art website. Sharpe worked in multiple media — oil, watercolor, prints, and some highly sought-after jewelry and sculptures. This find was (and is) amazing.

Sharpe is most well-known for being the “Father of the Mardi Gras doubloon.” His early designs were mostly minted in aluminum, and depending on the year and condition, they’re worth a few dollars to a few hundred. Some are silver, fetching $20 to $200. Occasionally you hear about a gold one and, depending on the krewe and condition, the one-ounce versions usually bring 10 to 50% over the gold value.

But this one is over 3 ounces of pure 999 fine gold! As we’ve written before, when things have too much gold it is difficult to save them from the refiner’s furnace, because many cannot justify spending many thousands of dollars – but this is a work of art.

To save this local artifact, touting “Gasparilla, Last Buccaneer” and signed “Unique Studios, H Alvin Sharpe,” we paid over the gold value.

artifact backside

The workmanship is incredible. The rarity is palpable. The value is impossible to discern. To make such a thing today, and pay the artist for his or her labor, would cost tens of thousands. The gold value? Over $6,000. The fair market value? No one knows, since there are no comparable auction results.

It is on display in our Tampa store in Hyde Park Village. It is for sale for over the gold value. While that might seem a bit high, can you think of another investment that has such low risk? After all, it has substantial gold value. And this historical work of art must be saved from the refiner’s crucible.

If you would like to own a one-of-a-kind piece of history made of pure gold and the size of your palm, come on in and check it out in our store in Hyde Park Village.

Go ahead, Google us. Three former sothebyscom associates and two art historians on staff.
Call or email us if you want to deal with Florida’s leading auctioneer.
We have sold the contents of several museums and collections for USF, the Shriners, and the prestigious Gail Culverhouse art collection. We make house calls statewide.

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