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Appraiser Christie Romero in her book Warman’s Jewelry Encyclopedia of Antiques and Collectibles tells us her seven characteristics of evaluating costume jewelry. She starts by checking the condition; are there any cracks, chips, discoloration and or has the piece been repaired? She then checks for craftsmanship, is the piece well made? Next, Ms. Romero checks for Color, are the colors in the piece popular and fashionable?
Mikey goes for a job interview in an office. The interviewer decides to start with the basics. "So, can you tell us your age, please?" Mikey counts carefully on his fingers for about 30 seconds before replying, "Ehhhh .. 42!" The interviewer tries another straightforward one to break the ice. "And can you tell us your height, please?" Mikey stands up and produces a measuring tape from his pocket, then traps one end under his foot and extends the tape to the top of his head. Mikey checks the measurement and announces, "Five foot six!"
Last week the American Numismatic Rarities of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire auctioned off a rare “Gold Rush” era coin. The coin was only one of twelve Quarter Eagles known to exist. The Quarter Eagle is about the size of a new dime but was made from Gold Rush ore at the San Francisco mint in 1856 and contains about an eighth of an ounce of gold. The coin which was expected to bring in $150,000 instead brought in $253,000. This Quarter Eagle belonged to a descendant of Chinese immigrants that worked the fields in the mid 1800’s. The picture to the left shows an example of an 1848 Quarter Eagle.
Charles Eames was born in 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1938 he accepted a fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Cranbrook, Michigan. By 1940 he, along with Eero Saarinen were designing furniture and won a competition at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Their work consisted of new and innovative techniques of molding plywood. Besides chairs and other furniture, this team would go on to design splints and stretchers during World War II.
For those of you who use eBay to purchase things, beware of an ongoing scheme on “Second Chance” offers. Thieves are now emailing people who lose the auction with a second chance offer. They claim that the highest bidder backed out of the transaction and “isn’t that good fortune for you.” The scammer then asks you to email them on a third party email such as Hotmail or Yahoo.
Once you send payment via Western Union or PayPal, the person withdraws the money and you never see your merchandise. Since the transaction was not “officially” conducted on eBay, there is nothing that they can do for you. How can you protect yourself? Send an email to the original seller through the “ask the seller a question” on the eBay listing to insure the email is authentic.
NOVA-Antiques.com provides the most comprehensive antiques show and flea market calendar for the Mid Atlantic region.
NOVA-Antiques is a member of Collectors.org and have been for about a year and a half now. We received their Newsletter this month with the following:
“Our office has received several heart-breaking phone calls over the past two weeks from people in Mississippi and Louisiana who totally lost their homes including sizeable collections. Other than homeowners' insurance, none of them had special collector insurance policies, although most realized that they should have had a special policy but just "never got around to it.”
We're trying to help these people find appraisers and possibly get some partial payment from their home owners' policy. We have mentioned this before, but we're going to keep hitting it. Making sure your members have insurance on their collections is one of the best services a club can provide.”
The Collectors.org Newsletter goes on to say that there are many policies on the market that specialize in collections. One such policy is the Collector Insurance Program provided by the Association of Insurance Administrators.
In 1941, Charles married Ray Kaiser, another student at Cranbrook and moved to Los Angeles, California. Together this team went on to design more chairs and other furniture, but are more renowned for designing and building the Eames House, which was constructed on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The house was constructed of prefabricated steel parts and is still considered a milestone of modern architecture. Charles died in St. Louis in 1978 and Ray continued their work until she passed in 1989.
The fourth characteristic is the design; can the piece be attributed to a special period or designer? Then you must consider demand; is this a piece that may be highly sought after by another collector? Another important characteristic is scarcity; is it a rare item or is it commonly available? Lastly you must consider the size; is the size appropriate for the style? Large size costume jewelry is usually more desirable.
This isn't looking good so the interviewer goes for the real basics. "And uhh, just to confirm for our records, your name please?" Mikey bobs his head from side to side for about twenty seconds, mouthing something silently to himself, before replying, "Mikey!" The interviewer is completely baffled at this stage, so he asks, "Just out of curiosity, Mikey. We can understand your counting on your fingers to work out your age, and the measuring tape for your height is obvious, but what were you doing when we asked you your name?" "Oh that!" replies Mikey, "That's just me running through 'Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you...."