Q: We have an oriental folding fan given to us by a relative in Italy who was an international antiques dealer. Unfortunately, he died before we could ask him anything about the fan. We would like to know when it was made and what it’s worth. It has silvered and pierced ivory sticks and silvered ivory guards (edges). The leaf is decorated with flowers and birds.
A: Your fan was more than likely not made in Asia. The description you give matches closely the types of fans made in France, Italy or England at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th. Fans with floral designs are not as valuable as those decorated with scenes, but your fan could still be worth close to $300. The value also depends on its condition and the material the leaf is made of (the “leaf” is the fabric or paper that forms the upper part of a folding fan).