Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Heirloom Discovery Day" Program Highlights - 11/25

The most enjoyed and anticipated Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting of the year is the November meeting when we have member sharing. For four of the past five 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. We call this program an "Heirloom Discovery Day."

On Wednesday, 25 November, 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 eleven CVGS members bring their articles for discussion and appraisal, including:

* Nancy S. presented four silver plate pieces from the Stein Farm collection (in National City). Georgie dated them from the 1850 to 1890 period and said there would be museum interest in the pieces.

* Gary B. showed his large family ceramic cookie jar from grandma's house, which looked like an Aunt Jemima article but wasn't. Georgie said it was probably from the 1940s but wasn't a consumer item - it was fairly rare.

* Joan L. brought her grandmother's home-made little brown glazed pottery salt holder. Georgie loved the feel of it, and thought that it was made by a local potter.

* Barbara I. submitted a beautiful medium sized dressed doll with a porcelain head. Georgie said that it was machine-made, probably from the 1940s.

* John F. presented a beautiful robin's egg blue Victorian glass vase with a serrated opening, which was a gift to his great-grandmother from her brother. Georgie said that it was hand-blown, probably English and made in the 1880s.

* Virginia T. showed off her mother's doll in a farmer's wife dress. Georgie said that the molded head was probably made in Germany in the 1890s and sold separately, and then the dolls were created locally using the head.

* Wilma P. brought a 1933 Chicago "Century of Progress" World's Fair program and Oneida silver plate spoons. Georgie said it was a collectible and not rare.

* Helen S. had metal meat tenderizer and cabbage cutter. Georgie said they were post-Civil War items, probably commercially made in Grand Rapids MI.

* Susan Z. presented her Aunt's plastic purse from the 1950.s. Georgie loved it, said it was made of Bakelite, and was fairly valuable.

* Susi P. had a third generation apron. Georgie said that it was handmade in the late 1800s from commercially available material.

* Susan W. showed a small doll - from her grandmother's grandmother's grandmother, with a wooden body and a porcelain face, from Holland or Germany. Georgie said it reminded her of Jane Austen period books, was probably from the 1810 to 1820 period, and was fairly valuable.

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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