Friday, November 29, 2013

November 27th Program Summary - "Heirloom Discovery Day" with Georgie Stillman

The 8th annual "Heirloom Discovery Day" of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society was Wednesday, 27 November 2013.  Once again, Georgie Stillman, ASA, provided historical background, discussed the manufacturing process, and the approximate value of family heirlooms brought in for appraisal by 12 CVGS members and guests.

Georgie noted that she continues to do appraisal work for victims of the 2007 San Diego wildfires, and has worked quite a bit on the 2012 Sandy hurricane claims in the New York City area.  

She reminded us that the value of artifacts and heirlooms depends on what the market, in terms of collectors at auctions, will pay for them, and that perceived "status" items sought by wealthy persons have the highest value.  Background knowledge for the heirlooms - the family story - is important in establishing a value.  

The heirlooms brought and evaluated included:

*  Carole S. had a beautiful long, thin, cloth sash, made in about 1870 and worn by her grandfather in parades and lodge events.  

*  Diane V. brought a "business speller" book from England from about 1930.  Georgie explained that it was intended to help standardize spelling in business circles.

*  Ralph and Debbie M. displayed a two-foot tall statue that Debbie's uncle, who was a well-known artist, handed down to Debbie's father.  Georgie said that it was cast with a metal alloy, and was of a Victorian, romantic and sentimental genre. 

*  Virginia T. showed an orange art glass bowl, which was her mother's catch-all.  Georgie indicated that it was 1930s carnival glass designed for the middle class.

*  Gerry M. brought a small scale with weights that had been her grandmother's and was used in their store from 1875 to the 1920s.  

*  Fran C. brought a large yellow bowl that the wedding cakes of her grandmother and mother had been mixed in.  Georgie said this hand-turned and glazed terra cotta "yellow ware" was a luxury item, probably made in the 1860s in Pennsylvania or Ohio.

*  Mary A. had a World War II dagger handed down in her husband's family.  Georgie noted that it is now illegal to own and sell items with ivory made before 1971, but the handle was plastic not ivory. She doesn't evaluate edge weapons - some other appraisers do.

*  Joanna W. had several items - a pencil holder from 1930s Germany, a small Depression era glass piece, and a small porcelain sailing ship salt and pepper set from Japan.

*  Barbara I. brought a low-fired porcelain painted vase that her grandmother gave to her mother.  Georgie said it was made in England, but looks Japanese, and was made to appeal to Americans.

*  Susan Z. brought a 2' x 5' carpet runner from the late 19th century from her friend's parents.  Georgie said it was machine made, but not valuable, and that museums and historic houses would love to have every day items like this.

*  Susi P. received her mother's box of items after her death - including grandfather's ephemera (notes, cards, letters); a 19th century photo album; a single English late 19th century decorated plate.

*  Jim H. showed a sterling silver shell-shaped serving dish from the Benbough House in San Diego.  Georgie said it was a Gorham plate from the 1920s, weighed about 20 ounces, and was not a collectors item, but was worth the price of silver.  Jim also displayed a heavy glass bowl obtained from a relative married to a countess.  Georgie said it was a beautiful hand-made American cut clear glass from the 19th century, but was not sought now by collectors.

As always, Georgie dazzled the audience of 35 with her knowledge, stories, appraisals and her sense of humor.  

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