Saturday, July 18, 2015

Antiques Appraisal and a Civil War Newspaper Printed on Wallpaper

Today we attended an antiques appraisal luncheon which was a lot of fun. All of us brought an antique to have appraised, set them on a table, then the appraisers talked to he audience about each one. I've learned bits and pieces in the past from various appraisal tv shows, and I learned more today!

Before we went my husband happened to ask me how old something had to be in order to be an antique. I said 100 years. He argued that no, it was only 50. Well, the event opened by one of the appraisers asking how old something had to be in order to be an antique. I turned around and looked at my husband who was in the ice cream line and we laughed. I remained quiet because I was guessing my husband was right because I have heard people debate that 50 was the answer so I guessed I was wrong. Someone said 50 and the appraiser said that was close. Someone else said 25 and that was wrong. The man next to me said 100 and that was correct! Again I turned around and looked at my husband (it was a long line for the ice cream station) and I shook my finger at him with a grin and he laughed. Then the guy next to me got a gift card for knowing the correct answer! Hey! I turned around again and shook my finger at my husband yet again, while grinning, and my husband was laughing. My son later told me to just go for it next time! lol    


First up on the blog post are ours even though they must have been boring because the appraiser completely forgot about them. lol At the very end when he thought he was done others pointed out these two left out pieces that were yet to be appraised...

The ice cream maker is the one I wanted to bring. I have shared much about this on my blog over the years, because it plays an active role in our lives, literally! In fact my husband says it gets the most sweat equity of any of our "antiques." When the appraiser got to each of our pieces, he asked for our backstory so here is ours. The hand crank ice cream maker was a wedding present from a good friend of my mother-in-law who knew it was a family tradition to hand crank ice cream at get-togethers. In fact when I attended the family reunion before we got married, they hand cranked ice cream with the caveat that only those who help crank get to taste any ice cream!  Her friend purchased this at an antique store so we could carry on the family tradition. Even though I have posted many digital photos of our family using this over the years, I have even more snapshots from before our digital camera days. We've had many guests and outside family members help us to hand crank ice cream. Someday I'm going to scan them all and do a separate blog post because this is such a lost tradition...but yields the best tasting ice cream ever!

Anyway, the appraiser said our ice cream maker is worthless because of the condition. It was emphasized that the most important thing about selling antiques and other collectables is condition, condition, condition. Shortly after we were married my husband decided to "renovate" the ice cream maker by taking it apart to scrape off the worn out paint. When he knocked off the iron bands around the wooden slats, the slats simply collapsed. My husband thought that  meant it was fragile so after he cleaned off the worn paint, he glued the pieces together.

Then we went to Colonial Williamsburg that summer. This was my first trip and my husband's second. One of our first stops was to the cooper who interestingly was working with barrels that worked exactly like our ice cream maker. They demonstrated how when the iron bands are pushed off, the slats fall in. My husband remarked on that and shared about what he did to ours while the cooper slowly shook his head. My husband should never have done that. There was no need to do that. The barrel will be fine without glue. The pressure of the bands on the wooden slats are all that's needed to hold them together. Uh oh. Well, now we knew. (Here is a blog post from a later visit to the Colonial Williamsburg cooper with our kids where I again tell this story! lol At least there you can see a photo of their barrels for a comparison. Somewhere I might have snapshot of their barrels in parts.)

The antique appraiser shook his head too. lol He did date our ice cream maker to the 1920's from Sears and Roebuck which was actually my primary goal to find out. I find it quite interesting and will likely play within my imagination as I create future blog posts about it because I absolutely love this piece and have no intent to sell it. I'm sure our children will fight over who inherits it, and the one who doesn't get it will likely try to find one just like it!  I have no idea what it would have been worth if it had never been "renovated."

The clock was my husband's contribution. The appraiser asked if he took that apart to glue up too. We laughed and said no. The backstory to this, not that we shared since we were the last ones and we were running out of time, was that my husband's mother gave it to him because she had downsized her home and was now in a small apartment. My husband remembers his grandfather winding it up.  The appraiser said that it was probably 1930's, but someone had made repairs to it, so it was also worthless.  My husband was surprised to hear there had been repairs. When we got home he looked more closely at it in sunlight to and noticed all the damage.  Again, antique dealers look at condition, condition, condition.

Now for a great story! The appraiser showed us a framed document. It was quite large and had glass on both sides. On the back was wallpaper. (Have I given it away yet?) On the front we could see this original newspaper from The Daily Citizen from Vicksburg, Mississippi that was printed on July 2, 1863.  Why would a newspaper be printed on wall paper? Well, Vicksburg, which had been held under seige for weeks, fell 2 days later. The newspaper publisher had run out of newsprint, so he printed the paper on wallpaper. Because he didn't even have  much of that, he no longer printed the paper on a daily basis. Can you imagine? We saw an original with an incredible story! This link lists the idiosyncracies on the print, which proves that it's the original. From the top of the appraiser's head, he was pretty certain all the idiosyncracies were there.  And the value of this piece is...$7000! How cool is that?!!!!                               

If you live in Northern Virginia and would like some appraisals from them, here are there links. There were two different guys who work together but have different specialties.

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