Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Heirloom Discovery Day" at CVGS with Georgie Stillman, ASA

The most enjoyed and anticipated Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting of the year is the November meeting when we have member sharing. For three of the past four years, we have had Georgie Stillman, ASA, a professional appraiser of artifacts and ephemera, review and evaluate items brought in by the members to share. Georgie is an expert in appraising silver, china, glassware, furniture, artworks, quilts and samplers, many dolls and other collectibles.

Today, we had about 30 people at our meeting, and Georgie worked her "magic" on us once again. For each item, the member shared what they thought the article was, and the provenance of the article. Then Georgie told the member and the audience about the article's origin, materials, manufacture, marks, probable customer status, and an approximate value.

We had ten CVGS members bring their articles for discussion and appraisal, including:

* Gary B presented a large framed picture made from seed catalog cutouts and other paper pictures. Georgie thought that this was really unique, and was probably made in the 1880's.

* Ann S. brought a Seth Thomas mantle clock, which Georgie thought was from the 1880 to 1910 time frame.

* Virginia T. had a green carnival glass vase, which was probably created in the 1950's.

* Susan Z. had a wedding dress from her husband's grandmother. Georgie said it was a muslin dress from the 1890 to 1910 period.

* Susi P shows a small art deco pottery from her New England ancestors, and Georgie said it was a Hull piece.

* Nancy S. presented a 4th edition "American Woman Cookbook" from 1941.

* Bobbie L. showed her Bavarian glass bell, which Georgie said was pressed glass from the 1920-1930 time frame.

* Phyllis L. had 7 different hand-painted china salad plates - which Georgie dated to the 1890 to 1920 time frame.

* Terry S. showed a small hand-painted clay pitcher which Georgie said she had never seen in that form. She thought it might be Hungarian.

* Joan showed her husband's grandfather's shaving mug, and Georgie said it was from Pennsylvania in the early 1900's.

Obviously, I didn't take notes on everything Georgie said about each item - she often talked for 5 to 8 minutes about each item. I tried to take photographs of each presenter and their article with Georgie - and I'll post the ones that come out well in a later post.

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.

It was a great society program.

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