Pre-Colombian Quimbaya seated man

Aug 13, 2022. 18:53 UTC
Pre-Colombian Quimbaya seated man
United States of America


Acquired from

For sale

This is a seated terra cotta man with open hole at the top of head with crossed legs and long thin arms; he has a gold ring in nose.


About 8 “ tall and 6 “ wide


A relative bought it while he was in Coulmbia and I inherited it. I include information in Spanish from a Colombian museum as one image along with various pictures of this sculpture.

Answered within 1 day
Aug 14, 19:28 UTC
By Delia

Fair Market Value

$600 - $900 USD

Suggested Asking Price

$1,000 USD
What does this mean?

Hi Maryann,

Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry.
Based on the photos and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:

An antique Pre-Columbian Quimbayan seated terracotta figure
Possibly 7th-10th Century
The seated figure with crossed legs and gold nose ring, polychromed body.
8 inches tall
CONDITION: with some repaired breaks to arms
PROVENANCE: acquired in Colombia, then by inheritance
*represents a fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.

Please let us know if you have additional items to appraise, and thank you again for using Mearto.

Maryann mccabe Aug 14, 19:51 UTC

Hi, Delia,
Thank you for the appraisal. I also attached a note from the museum in Columbia (in Bogota), which appraised the sculpture at $80,000? Is that just a mistake of decimal in your mind? Thanks!

Delia Aug 14, 19:56 UTC

That's likely for customs and not in US dollars, which would have been much stronger against South or Central American currency in the 90s (ie a much lower amount in US dollars). In the current market, these figures are bringing between $200-1,500, towards the higher figure if a collector's name or museum is identified as this is a field where there has long been pillaging so collectors want some assurance that they are not buying something that has been looted and/or not excavated legally.

Maryann mccabe Aug 14, 19:59 UTC

Thanks, Delia. So it was likely in Columbia pesos, which also uses the $ sign?

Delia Aug 14, 20:08 UTC

Yes, that's correct.

Maryann mccabe Aug 14, 20:29 UTC

Thank you! Maybe it’s better that I hang on to and own a piece of history if it is not that valuable monetarily! 😊

Maryann mccabe Aug 14, 22:58 UTC

I have a question: what makes one Quimbaya sculpture more valuable than another? This slab sculpture is listed for over 18k? Is that just because the seller is inflating the price or is there a substantial quality difference? I uploaded said piece.

Delia Aug 14, 23:13 UTC

If one looks at the variety of Quimbaya figures that have been offered both at auction (which are what my values are based on) and the ones offered privately through retail sites and antiques galleries (such as the one in this newer photo), the flattened and more stylized works fetch a higher price...but his asking price of $18,500 is no doubt inflated/marked up (and is a retail price), with some room for the seller to negotiate with the buyer. Of course, you could ask him to put his money where his mouth is and see what he would pay for yours (dealers are frequently approached with items to buy). My guess is he would offer a value similar to what I've evaluated yours at.

Maryann mccabe Aug 14, 23:30 UTC

Ok. Aesthetically speaking(I’m an artist/historian), I like the rounded versus the slab type but who knows why the art market goes how it does. I really appreciate your attention to my questions and your appraisal!

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