What's It Worth? Mixed-Era Masterpiece

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Some call Paul Nettler Lackritz a genius. Some say he was an artist, and some say a trendsetter. But most say, “Who is Paul Lackritz?”

Little is known about him except that he was born in Russia in 1872, growing his business as a silversmith and jewelry designer into a three-store “chain.” First in Chicago, then opening in New York and then Beverly Hills.

We rarely see his work, but when we do we are always in awe. The interesting thing about his (and his studio’s) work is that he was active in four distinct design eras —arts and crafts, art deco, retro deco and mid-century modern — and he often let all four influences loose at once.

Last week, we helped settle an estate, buying this ring for under $7,000. It was appraised at a retail value of over three times that amount, an amount we thought was a tad generous. (The ring is for sale in our store at a modest markup, for $8,500.)

What we liked about it and why we took a chance on it is that even though the styles are mixed, the design is over the top — with hints of the aforementioned design eras. A little bit deco, and a little bit arts and crafts, with a touch of mid-century modern thrown in.

Did we pay a bit too much? Perhaps, but that’s OK. My wife has a name for our “mistakes.” She calls them “ouches.” I call them “museum pieces.”

We are nationally recognized experts in watches and jewelry. Call us for any help you need in appraisals, buying, selling or repairing.
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No estate too small or too large.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser.
Comments, questions or suggestions for this column, please send to [email protected].
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