What’s It Worth? Is Now The Time To Collect Cameos?

Cameo collecting reached its peak in the 1980s, with collectors clamoring for the finest, most deftly cut and interesting pieces – and some of them fetched $10,000 or more. Sadly, cameo collecting in 2016 is at its nadir – typically bringing 10 to 25 percent of the 1980s-era value.

Cameo prices have fallen so dramatically that many jewelers scrap them for the gold they are in or throw them away. Even exceptional-quality cameos are worth pennies on the dollar right now.

cameo

Cameos were made by the millions in many cultures, notably in Italy, when back in the day, they were de rigueur for Grand Tour travelers. It seems everyone brought back simple shell cameos depicting a woman with a flower in her hair, set in cheap gold frames. At their height, they brought $300 – $500; now returns fall more in the $75 – $125 range. Sadly, damaged, cracked or plain cameos are often simply scrapped for their gold value, which breaks our heart. Larger, elaborate shell cameos of outdoor scenes that are finely carved can still bring $200 – $1,000, while the same would have brought $2,000 or more in the 1980s.

cameo piece

Nowadays, even the most sought-after hard-stone cameos, made of onyx and sardonyx of the Victorian era, rarely bring in more than $500 – $2,000, having peaked in the 1980s at $5,000 or more. Many are artist-signed on the back, which can help valuation. Of course, there are exceptions. We can help you identify them.

WE MAKE HOUSE CALLS. If you have any vintage cameos to sell, bring them in! If you need an appointment in St. Petersburg or Tampa, give us a call. Gold is high; sell NOW! No estate too small or too large. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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