What You Need To Know About Appraisals and Appraisers

At the Symposium

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Appraiser, Helaine Fendelman
 WHEN DO YOU NEED AN APPRAISER?
Own a collection
Inheritance
Equitable Distribution
Donation
Insurance
Curiosity
 FINDING A QUALIFIED APPRAISER
Referral from friends, lawyer, accountant
Appraisal organizations
Industry Resources
Auctions
On-line stores (i.e., 1st Dibs)
On-line sites (i.e., eBay, Live Auctioneers)
 INTERVIEW- WHAT TO ASK
Member of Appraisers organization
Years of experience
Area(s) of specialty
Process
Time on site
Fees
Documentation and Reports
 DETAILS AND ELEMENTS OF AN APPRAISAL
Determine Logical Order, Room/Category
Getty ID
Handling Objects
Furniture, Glass ,Pottery, Silver, Art
Cataloguing and Sizing
 Objects
Packing/Unpacking
Items Unavailable or Unreachable
Client Questions
Appraiser Questions for Client

 

Treasures: Charming Vase has Storied German Roots

Dear Helaine and Joe:

This has been in my family for almost 100 years. What can you tell me about my vase shown in the enclosed photographs? It is marked with the numbers 1436 over 23 and then with a raised shield or medallion with a crown over the initials “RW.”

Thank you,

P. B., Burnet, Texas

Dear P. B.:

We can provide a great deal of information about this Victorian ewer-shaped vase. We can identify the origins, the history and the approximate date, but what we cannot provide is a monetary value because P. B. failed to tell us the size.

Mounting our soap box once again, we need to preach a sermon about telling how big an item is because we usually cannot tell from the photographs provided.

This item, for example, is probably six to 12 inches tall, but we cannot be sure of the dimensions. And a large example would be much more valuable than its smaller cousin.

With this quibble out of the way, we can say the piece was manufactured in the town of Rudolstadt in the Thuringia region of Germany. The small city was once the capital of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and was founded in the year 776. It has been a municipality since 1326, and its most famous landmark is the castle Heidecksburg.

Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Niccolo Paganini all worked here for the Rudolstadt theater, but the town is also known for its toy building blocks and its porcelain manufactory. Faience (tin-glazed earthenware) was first made in Rudolstadt in about 1720 and was made there until the end of the 18th century.

Ernst Bohne began making porcelain in Rudolstadt in 1854, and Schafer & Vater began production of porcelain in 1890.

But the firm we are interested in was called the New York and Rudolstadt Pottery, which worked between 1887 and 1918. This concern was partially owned by the New York City firm of Lewis Strauss & Sons. They were the sole importers of the company’s products into the United States.

This entity used the mark reported by P. B.: a crown over a shield with the initials “RW” inside a sort of shield. Reportedly it was Nathan Strauss (the younger member of the Strauss partnership) who established a relationship with the R. H. Macy Company in New York.

Macy gave Strauss retail space in which to sell porcelain pieces made in Rudolstadt and eventually items that were decorated in Limoges, France and Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic).

The products of the New York and Rudolstadt Pottery are not particularly rare, but the example in today’s question is charming because of its doll-like representation of a little girl standing on tip toe peering into the opening of the lily-shaped ewer/vase. It is very Victorian (circa 1895) and may be a little too “grandmotherly” for today’s tastes.

Still, it has charm and will appeal to those interested in dolls and figures of children. This sort of item is not doing well at the current moment and even if it is a good size, we doubt it would retail for more than $125 in today’s anti-Victorian marketplace.

Read the original article.

Estate Sale Business Challenged by Cut-rate Newcomers

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Kevin Godfrey’s company is based on four Ds: death, divorce, debt and downsizing.

As the owner of the Great Neck appraisal and liquidation firm Henry Laurent Estate Sales, Godfrey, 36, largely credits his firm’s success — it runs about 40 estate sales a year and generated $1.2 million in gross sales last year — to word-of-mouth recommendations from customers and real estate agents.

Yet….

To read the full article online, visit Newsday.

Treasure Hunt

DEAR HELAINE AND JOE: I am hopeful you can help solve a mystery. This dish is 4-by-2 inches, and the seller claimed it was antique Japanese Imari. It is not signed except it is mounted in 0.95 grade silver mountings which are signed “Cartier” “Made in France” and has the maker’s mark of Robert Linzeler, who worked for Cartier Paris during the late 1800s/early 1900s. Please can you identify the bowl as an antique Japanese Imari?

— H.A.

DEAR H.A.: First of all, the bowl is most certainly Japanese Imari style. Imari is the name of a Japanese port city from which Japanese-made porcelains were shipped to the West. The porcelain itself was made in kilns around the town of Arita. Besides the kilns in that location, there were six branch kilns and potteries in other nearby sites.

The wares made in these Arita kilns came in a variety of decorative color schemes. The first were simple blue and white (called “sometsuke”), but later there were three-color wares (blue and white plus red, called “sansei”) brocade Imari (called “nishikide”) and gold designs on red (called “kinrande”).

The piece belonging to H.A. is nishikide or brocade Imari, which can be found in many colors and was copied from some Chinese Ming and Qing dynasty examples. It is our understanding that the Japanese referred to any mass of brilliant colors as being “brocade.”

We believe this small bowl is indeed antique and was probably made in the late 19th century. It is a commercial quality piece that was exported in large quantities and was not intended to be artistic.

Now, we get to the part where we have a problem. Cartier was established in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier. It became one of the top suppliers of luxury goods in the world. They are known for their jewelry and wristwatches, and King Edward VII of Great Britain is said to have referred to them as the “jeweler to kings and the king of jewelers.”

We became a bit suspicious of the markings on the piece because the Imari bowl was not of sufficient quality (artistically speaking) to have been mounted by Linzeler (a famous French silversmith of the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and retailed by Cartier Paris. We compared the bowl’s marks to the marks found on several genuine examples of Cartier’s silver and gold work and found that the one on H.A.’s objects simply did not match.

The “Cartier” lettering on the silver is rather crude and not done in the same style as the genuine examples we examined. Unfortunately, we could not see the Minerva head that would designate 0.950 purity on French silver or the crowned “RL” in a diamond cartouche mark used by Linzeler, so we have our doubts about the authenticity.

Working from photographs, we cannot be absolutely sure, but we feel H.A. should take this into Cartier in Dubai for authentication. If it turns out to be genuine it should be valued in the $850 to $1,000 range.

Read the original article here.

Painting May be from Hunter, Unfinished

Dear Helaine and Joe:

In 1972, I went on a trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation in Louisiana. At the plantation, we bought two paintings from an elderly black woman. I asked her if she had any more, and she replied, “only one, that’s not dry.” I bought it, and later found out I had bought it from Clementene Hunter. Aside from being wet when I bought it, it appears to be unfinished. Can you tell me who she was and about my painting?

Thanks.

A. N.

Dear A. N.:

First of all, her name was Clementine Hunter, but it is actually pronounced the way A.N. spelled it — “Clementene.” Originally, this extraordinary woman’s first name was “Clemence,” but she changed it after moving to Melrose Plantation at the age of 15.

Hunter was born either in December 1886 or January 1887 at the notorious Hidden Hill Plantation located near Clouterville in Natchitoches Parrish, La. The plantation was supposedly the inspiration for the plantation in Louisa May Alcott’s influential antislavery book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which was first published in 1852. Hidden Hill is now sometimes called “Little Eva’s Plantation.”

Over the years, Cammie Henry, the owner of Melrose Plantation, entertained a variety of artists and writers, and after a 1939 visit, New Orleans artist Alberta Kinsey left some paints behind. This marked the beginning of Hunter’s career. She used the abandoned pigments to “mark a picture” on a window shade.

Hunter’s career was promoted by Melrose Plantation curator Francois Mignon, who supplied the artist with more paints and art supplies and took the finished paintings to the local drug store where (at one time) they sold for a dollar. On the outside of Hunter’s cabin, there was a sign that read, “Clementine Hunter, Artist, .25 cents to look.” We wonder if A. N. paid the .25 cents to look in 1972.

Hunter was a very prolific artist. It is said that she produced somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 paintings before her death in 1988. Even though she was Creole, Hunter is sometimes referred to as “the black Grandma Moses,” and she created an important record of plantation life in the opening years of the 20th century.

It is a shame that A. N. failed to give us three vital pieces of information: the piece’s size, what it was painted on and how it is signed. Many of Hunter’s paintings are signed with her backwards “C” and “H” monogram, but sometimes they are signed on the back (verso) in pencil.

There is no question that the piece is in Hunter’s style, but there are Clementine Hunter fakes out there and buyers are wary. We are also unsure whether or not this piece is unfinished. Sure, the bottom part of the chair is missing, but the background is intact and we are not sure what might have been in Hunter’s mind. Currently, a good sized piece such as this one might fetch more than $3,000 at auction.

Read the original article here.

Treasures: Vase is artistic example of Japanese moriage

Dear Helaine and Joe:

What can you tell me about the vase shown in the photograph? It was in my mother-in-law’s house and no one knows anything about it. We own a similar vase with a different design, about the same size and shape. There are no markings on either one. I assume they are both of the same era and origins. My mother-in-law had a family friend whose family were missionaries in China in the early 1900s. Could the vases have come from there or someplace else?

Thank you,

L. B.

Dear L. B.:

Markings can help in the identification of objects. But they can also be false and/or misleading. In this case, the lack of markings tells at least part of the tale.

The piece is definitely not Chinese and was probably made some years before the missionary family referenced in the letter was in China. True, the piece is Asian, but the country of origin is Japan.

The key here is the decoration and the way in which it was applied to the ceramic body. Much of the decoration — mainly the waves over which the sea birds are flying — is hand-painted underglaze. The images of the birds are also hand-applied and are raised off the surface using a technique known as “moriage.”

Moriage is composed of liquid clay called “slip” that in this case was applied using a hollow bamboo tube. This is a laborious process that is often found on late 19th and early 20th century Japanese ceramics.

Collectors often see the raised moriage dragons that are rather common, but images of flowers, birds, and elaborate traceries are encountered more rarely. Many of the pieces found with this raised slip decoration are marked with one of the various “Nippon” marks that were in use from 1891 to about 1921. Pieces designated “Japan” and “Made in Japan” are later.

The word “Nippon” started appearing on Japanese wares after the United States Congress passed the McKinley Tariff Act in 1890. In 1891, goods made in foreign locations had to be marked with the country of origin, and marks such as “England,” “France,” “Germany” and so forth began to appear.

In response, the Japanese started marking products with the word “Nippon,” which was their name for their country. Early in the 20th century, designations such as “Made in England” and “Made in France” began replacing the one word location identifier.

The lack of a mark on L. B.’s piece suggests to us that it was made sometime in the 1880s (probably the late 1880s, just before the McKinley Tariff went into effect). This is a rather high quality and artistic example of Japanese moriage, and is quite attractive with its seascape and pleasant color scheme.

At 61/2 to 7 inches tall, it is not imposing as some of these pieces are, but at retail it should be valued in the $250 to $300 range.

Read the original article here.

Treasures: Imari Bowl Might not be from Cartier, but it’s Likely Antique

Dear Helaine and Joe:

I am hopeful you can help solve a mystery. This dish is 41/2 by 21/2 inches, and the seller claimed it was antique Japanese Imari. It is not signed except it is mounted in .95 grade silver mountings which are signed “Cartier” “Made in France” and has the maker’s mark of Robert Linzeler, who worked for Cartier Paris during the late 1800s/early 1900s. Please can you identify the bowl as an antique Japanese Imari?

Thank you,

H. A., Dubai, U. A. E.

 Dear H. A.:

First of all, the bowl is most certainly Japanese Imari style. Imari is the name of a Japanese port city from which Japanese made porcelains were shipped to the West. The porcelain itself was made in kilns around the town of Arita. Besides the kilns in that location, there were six branch kilns and potteries located in other nearby sites.

The wares made in these Arita kilns came in a variety of decorative color schemes. The first were simple blue and white (called “sometsuke”), but later there were three color wares (blue and white plus red, called “sansei”) brocade Imari (called “nishikide”) and gold designs on red (called “kinrande”).

The piece belonging to H. A. is nishikide or brocade Imari, which can be found in many colors and was copied from some Chinese Ming and Qing dynasty examples. It is our understanding that the Japanese referred to any mass of brilliant colors as being “brocade.”

We believe the small bowl in today’s question is indeed antique and was probably made in the late 19th century. It is a commercial quality piece that was exported in large quantities and was not intended to be artistic in nature.

Now, we get to the part where we have a problem. Cartier was established in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier. It became one of the top suppliers of luxury goods in the world. They are known for their jewelry and wrist watches and King Edward VII of Great Britain is said to have referred to them as the “jeweler to kings and the king of jewelers.”

We became a bit suspicious of the markings on the piece because the Imari bowl was not of sufficient quality (artistically speaking) to have been mounted by Linzeler (a famous French silversmith of the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and retailed by Cartier Paris. We compared the bowl’s marks to the marks found on several genuine examples of Cartier’s silver and gold work and found that the one on H. A’s objects simply did not match.

The “Cartier” lettering on the silver is rather crude and not done in the same style as the genuine examples we examined. Unfortunately, we could not see the Minerva head that would designate .950 purity on French silver or the crowned “RL” in a diamond cartouche mark used by Linzeler, so we have our doubts about the authenticity.

Working from photographs, we cannot be absolutely sure, but we feel A. H should take this into Cartier in Dubai for authentication. If it turns out to be genuine it should be valued in the $850 to $1,000 range.

Read the original article here.

Helaine Fendelman Will be Presenting at this Year’s CSC Symposium

All About Appraisals and Appraisers – What You Need To Know

All the questions you have thought to ask before beginning the appraisal process and hiring an appraiser and all the questions you never knew to ask will be addressed in this presentation.  Helaine is an experienced appraiser working in the field on a daily basis and she will address questions such as: why an appraiser is needed; when to hire an appraiser; how to find a qualified appraiser; how to determine the appraiser’s qualifications and if they are appropriate for your purposes; questions you should ask the appraiser; questions the appraiser should ask you; what to do to get ready for the appraisal and the appraiser; what an appraisal should include; how does an appraiser charge for their services; and, how an appraiser works.  Stories will be shared to illustrate the answers to these questions and there will be time for your own questions so that all of your questions will be answered. Read more about the symposium here.

Treasures: Painting May Be From Hunter, Unfinished

Is this painting by Clementine Hunter unfinished?

Is this painting by Clementine Hunter unfinished?

Dear Helaine and Joe:

In 1972, I went on a trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation in Louisiana. At the plantation, we bought two paintings from an elderly black woman. I asked her if she had any more, and she replied, “only one, that’s not dry.” I bought it, and later found out I had bought it from Clementene Hunter. Aside from being wet when I bought it, it appears to be unfinished. Can you tell me who she was and about my painting?

Thanks.

A. N.

Dear A. N.:

First of all, her name was Clementine Hunter, but it is actually pronounced the way A.N. spelled it – “Clementene.” Originally, this extraordinary woman’s first name was “Clemence,” but she changed it after moving to Melrose Plantation at the age of 15.

Hunter was born either in December 1886 or January 1887 at the notorious Hidden Hill Plantation located near Clouterville in Natchitoches Parrish, La. The plantation was supposedly the inspiration for the plantation in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influential antislavery book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which was first published in 1852. Hidden Hill is now sometimes called “Little Eva’s Plantation.”

Over the years, Cammie Henry, the owner of Melrose Plantation, entertained a variety of artists and writers, and after a 1939 visit, New Orleans artist Alberta Kinsey left some paints behind. This marked the beginning of Hunter’s career. She used the abandoned pigments to “mark a picture” on a window shade.

Hunter’s career was promoted by Melrose Plantation curator Francois Mignon, who supplied the artist with more paints and art supplies and took the finished paintings to the local drug store where (at one time) they sold for a dollar. On the outside of Hunter’s cabin, there was a sign that read, “Clementine Hunter, Artist, .25 cents to look.” We wonder if A. N. paid the .25 cents to look in 1972.

Hunter was a very prolific artist. It is said that she produced somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 paintings before her death in 1988. Even though she was Creole, Hunter is sometimes referred to as “the black Grandma Moses,” and she created an important record of plantation life in the opening years of the 20th century.

It is a shame that A. N. failed to give us three vital pieces of information: the piece’s size, what it was painted on and how it is signed. Many of Hunter’s paintings are signed with her backwards “C” and “H” monogram, but sometimes they are signed on the back (verso) in pencil.

There is no question that the piece is in Hunter’s style, but there are Clementine Hunter fakes out there and buyers are wary. We are also unsure whether or not this piece is unfinished. Sure, the bottom part of the chair is missing, but the background is intact and we are not sure what might have been in Hunter’s mind. Currently, a good sized piece such as this one might fetch more than $3,000 at auction.

Read the original article here.

Treasures: Wonderful Chest Likely From 1880s Britain

Dear Helaine and Joe:

I inherited this chest, which appears to be cedar lined. It is 26 inches high, 52 inches long and 28 inches deep. I am considering selling it and would like to know how much I should ask. But I might also keep it and would like to know the insurance value.

Thank you,

C. C.

Dear C. C.:

We thought we would discuss the wonderful chest first and then explore its various values a bit later.

The email we received was titled “cedar chest.” This brought images to our minds of relatively plain storage chests that were popular during the early to mid 20th century. Many homes had them.

Brides often kept their trousseaus in them, and later on they were used to store the household’s best linens. Why? Because cedar wood was thought to be deadly to moths-not to mention cockroaches-and cedar was also supposed to discourage the incursions of mice and other vermin.

Cedar chests were often important piece of household furniture. Print ads featured child film star Shirley Temple endorsing Lane Cedar chests as the “Sweetest Valentine of All.”

But the chest in today’s question is not the sort of chest that was made in 20th century America. Instead the piece appears to be British and done in the Renaissance revival style of the late 19th century.

To be sure, its purpose was to store linens and clothing, but it’s the heraldic emblem on the top, the elaborately fashioned lock, the pair of helmeted knightly head and shoulder busts, the foliate scrolls, the shells, the gadrooning around the edge and so forth (plus the elaborately carved paw feet) say this was a special piece probably made in England circa 1880 or so.

Now, we need to talk about the various prices the elaborate piece might have. First of all, the insurance replacement value is the amount of money it would take to purchase a similar piece from a retail source within a reasonable period of time (i.e. without delay). Whereas the fair market value is what a willing buying will pay a willing seller at a specific moment in time.

Both of these amounts are very time-sensitive. Prices, for example, were much higher 10 years ago, and in many if not most instances, both insurance and fair market value were considerably greater than they are today. The piece in today’s question is wonderful, but it is more than a bit out of fashion for modern homes and the value is less than it would have been in the recent past.

Currently, the insurance replacement value is in the $1,200 to $1,500 range, but if C. C. were to try and sell it to an antiques dealer she would probably find that it would fetch less than $500 and maybe considerably less. The massive size goes against it as does the Victorian Renaissance revival style.

Read original article here.