Monday, December 3, 2012

28 November Program Summary - Georgie Stillman "Heirloom Discovery Day"

Georgie Stillman conducted her sixth annual "Heirloom Discovery Day" for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society program on Wednesday, 28 November.  In this program, CVGS members presented some of their heirlooms to Georgie for her expert evaluation and appraisal.

She noted that markets reflect what people will buy, and that values of heirloom items have changed in recent times.  She noted that "Insurance companies now pay for replacement market costs, not for new item costs, and places like eBay, AmVets, and Goodwill Industries are sources for heirlooms and antiques."  She also said "for wealthy people now, old things don't signify class and wealth."

For each item, each person provided a brief summary of what they brought for appraisal and its' known provenance. Georgie then described what the item was, the approximate time it was created, and its approximate value.  The CVGS members who had their heirlooms evaluated included:

*  Nancy presented her handwoven ABC sampler from 1836 made by her great-grandmother  at age 13 in Kentucky.  Georgie noted that this was part of girls being taught to be good housewives, and that this sampler used vegetable dyes.  Some samplers of this type sell for about $100.

*  Diane displayed a beautiful oil painting of a cabin by a stream with mountains and clouds in the background.  Georgie noted the commercial frame and that it was typical of 1970s decorative commercial art, not fine art.

*  Jaye showed her grandmother's mug inherited from her grandmother that came her Missouri family.  Georgie noted that it was semi-vitreous heavy clay from the 1920s or earlier.

*  Wilma presented a set of 6 colored glass coasters from the 1951 "Festival of Britain."  Georgie said that this type of set doesn't resonate with the public as a coronation or Olympics set would, and the value is limited.

*  Helen had a plate featuring a bird in flight, with "Sterling China" on the back.  Georgie thought it was from the late 1800s to early 1900s in the Midwest.  Helen also had a small plate "the house that Jack built" which was a 1905 wedding gift to her grandmother.  Georgie said it was fine porcelain from Central Europe (Bavaria/Austria) and was probably worth $30 to $40.

*  Janice displayed her quilt of the 48 states with the state flag and state bird on the squares, handed down through four generations.  Georgie thought it was made between 1912 and the 1930s, and had only family value.  Janice also had a cut glass vase that was probably Scandinavian, German or Czech from the 1920s, and might be worth $25 to $35.

*  Sherry showed her mother's pitcher from about 1900 from Trenton, NJ, which is famous for its pottery.  The pitcher had a Spanish-American War design that might bring $150 to $200 on eBay.  Sherry also had a Limoges plate from Plainfield NJ with gold trimming from the 1880 to 1900 time frame.

*  Claude showed a framed newspaper page commemorating the battle of Vicksburg in 1863 which was printed on wallpaper.  Georgie noted that it was a souvenir copy, not a real newspaper page.

*  Joanna had a handmade wooden utensil box.  Georgie noted that it was made by a good carpenter, probably in New England by hand, and was a utilitarian box that might be worth $300 to $400.  Joanna also had a small Limoges cup or pitcher from the 1870s.  Georgie said for the single decorative piece that it might be worth $35 to $40.

*  Joan presented her blue glass vase.  Georgie thought that it was not a collectible, and was art deco from the mid-20th century.

*  Virginia displayed her child's rocker with horses carved on the side panels.  Georgie said it was 19th century, with machine parts made using steam power, and was a collectible worth about $500 to $600.

As always, the time went very quickly, and Georgie displayed her ability to assess and discuss a wide variety of heirlooms.  Georgie's style is informal, enthusiastic and interesting - she really enjoys seeing these types of artifacts and "stuff" because they are, in the main, from middle-class homes from the Victorian era and later. She is used to appraising high-end items for collectors and estates. It is fascinating to see an expert appraiser at work - the words seem to flow effortlessly and I am awestruck by the knowledge level. 

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