Thursday, January 19, 2012

Update on Antiques Roadshow

I have been away too long.  I am not sure how the time slipped by, but I apologize to anyone who may have actually missed me.

The Antiques Roadshow came to Tulsa a couple of years ago.  I never got around to posting my update, so here it is. 

Well, the items I took to the Antiques Roadshow in Tulsa were, shall we say, met with less than eager enthusiasm by the appraiser.  It was the end of the day; we were in the last group to gain entrance into the event; the appraisers appeared to be tired; etc.  I have to say that my sister and I were quite surprised to find many appraisers consulting books and using computers to look up items.  That was a reality check.  Could it be the appraisers weren't the all-knowing experts that we had supposed?  No offense, Antiques Roadshow, but we weren't the only ones that were not feeling the love from some of the appraisers.  One poor lady in front of us had an unusual and lovely, round silver butter server.  She came away from the table with a look of disgust on her face.  I said, "That's really beautiful.  I hope it was worth a lot!"  She replied, "$35!  I don't think that's right.  I paid a lot more than that for it!"
(Her butter server looked a lot like this, which is currently available for $95 online.  Maybe the appraiser was wrong!)

Now, don't get me wrong.  There were several that appeared to know their stuff like the back of their hand.  The man in "Textiles" who examined my sister's quilt explained how it was possibly the most beautiful example of a Cathedral Window quilt that he had ever seen.  He carefully told her how to care for it and launder it.  (Newsflash!  You aren't supposed to put them in the washing machine, even if it is the extra-large capacity kind on the gentle cycle and you are using Woolite.  It will destroy the fibers and pull out the stitching that your grandmother, great-aunt, second-cousin's mother's sister's best friend lovingly hand-sewed all those years ago.  And for heaven's sake, stop putting them in the dryer.  They should be carefully spread out over a lush, green lawn and air-dryed, allowing the sun to bleach out any unsightly stains.  Note to self:  Stop washing Grandmother's and Grandma's quilts and shoving them in the dryer for the maximum drying cycle...)  My sister's beautiful quilt, that truly was lovingly made by her husband's grandma as a gift for him, was worth approximately $600 in the retail market.     

(This isn't the actual quilt.  I don't have a photo of that one.  This is a photo I stole procured from eBay.  I just wanted you to see what the pattern looked like.  Each of those white lines is actually a square that has been folded and pressed around the colored fabric in the middle.  Talk about time consuming!!)

On to the "Silver" table, where my sister displayed her late-mother-in-law's silverware set.  It was gorgeous!  A full 77-piece set of real sterling silver forks, knives, spoons, serving spoons, butter knives, pickle forks, lemon forks, aspic servers, salt spoons, food pushers, asparagus servers, bone forks, bird forks, marrow scoops, etc.!  Did you know there are 29 different spoons alone and that's not even counting the scoops and servers.  It's enough to make your head spin!  (I don't know about you, but my Home Economics teacher only taught us the main pieces.  She was probably convinced that none of us from our little town in the sticks would ever even see a marrow scoop, let alone have to know how to use one.  ...And come to think of it, she was probably right about that particular piece of silverware and most of the others.)  Of course, all of those obscure pieces weren't really a part of the set left to my sister.  Still, there were some odd pieces that make you wonder exactly what went on at the dinner parties of old and how long did one of those parties last?     
Regular Teaspoon, 4" - 6"

5 o'clock Teaspoon, 4 1/2" - 5 1/2"

Marrow Scoop

Ice Cream Fork

Sherbet Fork

Seriously?  There is 1/2" difference in those spoons!  And may I just say, "Ew," to that marrow scoop?  Gross.  Lastly, who the heck eats ice cream or sherbet with a fork??  The spaces between the tines defeat the purpose by letting all that melty goodness drip back into the bowl (or on the shirt, if you are me)!
Anyway... the appraiser looked at the silverware and proclaimed it to be sterling, which we already knew from the marks on the pieces.  He did comment on the pattern and noted that the pieces probably were just silver-plated originally, but had been "refaced" with sterling at some point.  He also noted that the silver was very old, dating back to the 1920's or 1940's, I believe.  (I have to admit that I was not listening as closely as I should have been.  I was one of those looky-loos gawking at what everyone else brought and second-guessing the items I chose to bring.  In hindsight, I wish I had brought my great-grandmother's carved ivory pin that says, "Mother".)  The appraiser looked up some things in a book on sterling silver dinnerware and proclaimed the entire set to have a wholesale value of approximately $2,500 - $3,500.  My sister had just looked online at the price for a complete 77-piece set and it was priced around $12,500.  So there you go.

Now on to the "Collectibles" line for me... and it was a loooooong one.  Fortunately, both of my items fell into that category, so I didn't have to move to another line later.  

This is a genuine Griswold cast iron Santa Claus "Hello Kiddies!!" cake mold.  It is two-pieces and was produced in the 1940s-1950s.  An original sells for upward of $400, so there are reproductions out there.  Buyer beware!  

You can identify an original by the following:

1. Originals show Santa's tongue in his open mouth.  Reproductions do not show the tongue. 

2. Many originals (though not all) were made from a mold with a casting flaw on the side of Santa's toy bag.

3. Marks on reproductions have lettering that looks uneven and unprofessional. The lettering on the original is small and even. 

4. Original side loop numbering shows the 9 underlined to prevent it being accidentally read as a 6, as in '868' instead of '898.' Copies do not have an underline.

5. Like most modern reproduction cast iron items, new copies have a rough surface.  The originals have a slick surface inside and out.  New cast iron pieces also frequently have excess metal flash inside details or at edges and may show the grinding marks from cheap, hasty manufacture.

Santa measures approximately 12 inches tall, 7 inches long, and with the 2 pieces joined it is about 4 1/2 inches deep.  

The appraiser knew nothing about the piece, but valued it around $150.  My sister gave it to me as a gift several years ago, and she found it in a thrift store.  She only paid $7.50, so no matter how you look at it, Santa was a great buy!

This complete Blondie & Dagwood set (with Alexander, Cookie, Daisy, & Daisy's five puppies) is just one of the cookie cutter sets I took with me.   A similar set recently sold for $350 in an online auction.  I also had some vintage metal and plastic Mickey & Minnie Mouse cutters, among others.   Let's just say the appraisers and cookie cutter collectors vary widely in their estimation of what these early cutters are worth.  (The appraiser knew nothing about cookie cutters, either.  She estimated the small bundle I brought at $50.  Collectors would value them around $500.)

I also took some vintage Beatles albums.  I didn't have the Butcher cover, but I had some original albums from the early 1960s.  The appraiser didn't take much of a look and, I think, way undervalued the really early pieces. 

After careful consideration, my sister and I decided that for the most part, we would stick with the collectors' opinions (the quilt being a very pleasant exception).  The appraisers may not have thought much of our treasures, but we love them, and really, isn't that what matters in the end?  

Still, we had fun, and if you watched the show, you may have caught a glimpse of us in the background.  We were there behind a horrid painting and again beside another item being gushed over for the cameras.  Not our best angle, but proof we were there! 

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