March 31, 2000
It's a perfectly lovely Spring day here in The Big Apple so, before I find
an excuse to be out there instead of in here working, I'm happy to take a
few moments for an early morning chat with you. Here in the Northeast,
Spring means an explosion of garage sales, yard sales, tag sales. Out
comes the loupe on the long red ribbon, the one that leaves my hands free
for digging around in boxes and under tables.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF TAKING THREE YEARS TO CATCH UP
The Antiques Roadshow has "fired" two of its appraisers for allegedly staging an appraisal in 1997. The quotation marks are there because Roadshow appraisers are not paid. They are on the show to promote their businesses, which are credited during the broadcast. The two appraisers, Russ Pritchard and George Juno, brought someone on the show with a Confederate army sword. WGBH, the producer of Roadshow, says the appraisers pretended not to know the person who brought the sword on the show, although he was a friend of Pritchard's and the sword had been borrowed from one of George Juno's clients. The friend pretending to be the owner of the sword said he'd found it in an attic. He also said he used it to slice watermelons. Since nothing is actually sold on the Roadshow, I can only surmise that Pritchard and Juno were seeking to promote and publicize the value of the sword so Juno's client could sell it. WGBH's announcement about the whole affair was clearly an effort to let the public know it can depend on the show's integrity. This is not the first brouhaha on The Antiques Roadshow involving allegedly shady dealings by one of its appraisers. In fact, an earlier incident involved a lawsuit against one of the appraisers, also regarding Civil War memorabilia. No word on the disposition of the Confederate sword. Or the watermelons.
GENDER CONFUSION FOR MODERN PERSONS DEPARTMENT
In Nebraska, they honor their first ladies by displaying dolls wearing their inaugural gowns, in their First Ladies display. However, Kay Orr, the first female elected governor in the U.S., happens to be married to a man (not trying to be difficult, I'm sure. It just worked out that way). Of course, there were no First Man dolls available, just a whole bunch of ceramic First Lady dolls, and I'm assuming Governor Orr's husband, William D. Orr, if he has any cross-dressing proclivities, did not exhibit them on Inaugural Day, so there probably was no gown to display. I wouldn't blame Mr. Orr for refusing to be depicted by, say, a Ken doll (the worst boyfriend of all time, and a well-known commitment-phobic. Sheesh! After 35 years or so, where's the ring, Ken?). So, a special man-mold had to be constructed, and dressed in a replica of Mr. Orr's Inaugural tuxedo. It is now in the First Ladies display, along with 31 First Lady dolls, in the Nebraska Governor's mansion. Word is that Mr. Orr found the whole situation mildly amusing.
MAYBE THE AIR IN CALIFORNIA AFFECTS THE BRAINS OF WOULD-BE THIEVES
In an event that echoes last week's behavior by the individuals who stole 55 Oscar statuettes, the thief who took a $50,000 19th century Russian dagger from the Queen Mary in Long Beach apparently dumped it near a phone booth in Hollywood, after phoning the LAPD anonymously to tell them where it could be found. The artifact, part of an exhibit of gifts given to the last Czar of Russia, and on loan from the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg, is an 11 inch curved-blade dagger encrusted with rubies and turquoises. A local television station aired the story of the theft, along with a picture of the dagger. It must have slowly dawned on the thief that the item might be difficult to fence, or to drop off at the local pawn shop. The knife was found in an envelope marked "Handle With Care". How considerate.
SITE TO SEE
Gaga for Gonder - I find myself growing ever more respectful and appreciative of American art pottery. The more I learn, the more I love it. If you'd like to learn more about some exquisite and tough to find American pottery, click on over to The Gonder Museum . You'll find a comprehensive reference and price guide here for some very beautiful pottery.
Accumulators, I am going to go outside now. On Saturday, I'll be at the
Spectrum Auction Gallery Show in Philadelphia, doing free appraisals of
antiques and collectibles (no weapons!) from 12 noon to 4PM. If you're in
the nabe, stop by and say "hi"! And bring money. My favorite auctioneer,
at The Old Red Barn in Cuddebackville, NY is having a wonderful auction on
Saturday night, and I'm so sorry I won't be back in time to attend. The
sale features some beautiful Stickley furniture and pristine Maxfield
Parrish prints, along with great primitives and other really great
furniture. If you can't go either, and you want to leave an absentee bid,
you can phone Vince or Ron at (914)754-7122. Have a great week,
Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2000 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #114
U.S. Library of Congress
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