Sunday, November 15, 2009

A FABulous Affair

In early November, I worked as a featured appraiser in Melbourne's Brevard Cultural A lliance's second annual Fabulous Affair, which is an Antique Roadshow style appraisal fair. The event, sponsored by the Brevard Cultural Alliance of Brevard County, Florida, featured six celebrity appraisers from across the United States. I was fortunate to be one of those appraisers and to participate in this well organized event. Proceeds went to the Cultural Alliance’s Art Fund. The attendance at the event was more than anticipated, and everyone seemed to enjoy learning more about articles from their collections.

The diversity of items for which I provided verbal approximations of value was incredible; there were lots of fabulous treasures belonging to local residents. Many of the items were accompanied by great stories, some had documented historical provenance, and some have been in families for generations.

I valued items in my specialty area and, as I am also a generalist appraiser, I also valued a wide variety of decorative items and collectibles. Overall, I saw around 140 items during the 7 ½ hour appraisal fair. Asian art and ceramics were very prevalent; I saw some of the best Asian paintings that I have seen in my appraisal career, including one with provenance from an early US ambassador. There was also a variety of quality Chinese ceramics, including a Sung dynasty bowl, Chinese export porcelain, and Chinese blue and white porcelain.

I valued a number of Japanese items, including Satsuma pottery, woodblock prints, scrolls, and even an early 19th century Japanese matchlock rifle. And then there were the two fabulous Turkish bracelets with hand painted miniature tiles which were absolutely gorgeous. There was a large assortment of family silver items, including American sterling silver bowls, English sterling flatware and German 800 silver….all items for which their owners should have written appraisals for insurance purposes. One piece of English sterling flatware was a John William Blake hallmarked piece, complete with an 1824 datemark. Also with family provenance were porcelain sets of china and dishes, including some manufactured by some of the best 19th century English and French manufacturers, including Coalport, Worcester and Limoge. One collector had a two Egyptian tomb figurines, including an Ushabti, and while another collector brought two pre-Columbian figurines.

Barbie made her appearance, complete with a dated 1961 vinyl case. There were also German dolls, some quite collectible. Musical instruments were abundant, with the most impressive ones I saw included a 1938 Martin Guitar and a late 18th century signed Holt violin.

As in any appraisal fair, there were lines, but the seating which was provided made the time pass quickly. Organizers from the Brevard Cultural Alliance provided shuttle transportation, had well marked item drop off points, and insured that everyone was directed to the right appraisers, making the day a “FABulous Affair.” Attendees seemed to enjoy seeing items brought to the event by other attendees, and everyone seemed to enjoy the event. The day was long, but was lots of fun for appraisers and collectors alike.
If you want to have some of your collectibles valued at an appraisal fair, watch for local press releases which advertise these types of event. And, be sure you choose an event which features credentialed appraisers by ISA, ASA, or AAA. And never take your collectibles to an event where organizers or appraisers are purchasing items; appraisers at appraisal fairs should always be unbiased, and never have a personal interest in the item they are valuing. If you can not find an appraisal fair, you can always hire an appraiser for a verbal approximation of value; if you have several items, hiring an appraisal for an hour or so can provide you with a wealth of information.

Authentic Appraisal & Estate Services, LLC (c) 2009
Vicky Nash Shaw, ISA CAPP
Certified Appraiser of Personal Property
919 475-6930 email:

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