Newsletter #91

July 9, 1999

Greetings Accumulators!
Greetings from The Baked Apple! Actually, today's temperature is a heavenly 80 degrees or so. Earlier in the week, some Las Vegas residents, in what was apparently a misguided burst of generosity, sent us their weather: 101 degrees, and 35% humidity. We're ever so grateful, but they can keep it! So sorry to hear about their torrential rains today.

A new TV show about collecting will debut on August 9. The host of the show, entitled, "Treasures In Your Home", will be John Burke, known to many of you as the former host of "Personal FX, The Collectibles Show" on the FX Network. The show will be broadcast live from Chesapeake, VA, Monday through Friday at 7PM, on the Pax Network. This is pretty much all the information I have about it. I don't know their future plans, or even the complete content of the show.

"Treasures In Your Home" is looking for people to bring items to have appraised on the show, and also people who have interesting or funny stories to tell, stories with a collecting connection. If you think you might like to be involved, you can call, toll free, at 1(877)558-7883.

There are a group of people out there who call themselves the Antique Toy Roadshow. They also call themselves appraisers. The antiques trade press and WGBH in Boston (Producers of The Antiques Roadshow) are up in arms, but I think they're all missing the toy boat.

These "roadshow" people, most of them employees of the International Toy Collectors Association (you may have run into them on eBay, selling items at auction, and offering access to rare toys with membership in their club for a substantial fee), have allegedly been travelling the country, offering appraisals of vintage and antique toys. They generally advertise only in local papers, and set up their operations in a local hotel, usually for several days. Toys brought in by local people are appraised, and then offers to buy are made, a report says. Of course, WGBH is concerned about their use of the word "roadshow", and the trade press is concerned because their appraisals are generally so far below market value as to be a mere fraction of the toys' worth. Several experts in the field set up "stings" involving sending strangers into the appraisal sessions, carrying very rare and exceptional toys. In each case, the items were appraised at far below market value, and then pressure to sell them to the appraisers was applied, according to this week's "Antiques and The Arts Weekly".

Here's why I'm concerned: It is against the first rule of ethics by which every appraiser must be governed to appraise something and then offer to buy it. An appraiser may not appraise anything in which he/she has an interest. Even the APPEARANCE of impropriety is to be avoided. So, these people are not really appraisers at all. And what puzzles me most of all, is that the toys' owners do not say to themselves, "Do I really want to trust some guy who's naming his own price?". They just hand over their toys and take the cash.

So, I must reiterate what I've said so many times: do not let anyone appraise your items if that person suggests that after the appraisal you should so much as consider selling said items to her/him. For that matter, don't let anyone appraise your stuff if the appraisal fee is tied to the value of the items (can you see the potential for a super-high, unrealistic appraisal there? Sure you can!). And watch for the ads for "The Antique Toy Roadshow". Then, don't go there.

In connection with the new series, "Movie Stars", debuting on WB TV. Travolta, Stallone and Swayze, stars of the show, will appear together at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills on Sunday. Their purpose? To add memorabilia from their new show to Planet Hollywood's fabulous collection. Oh, by the way, that's Joey Travolta, Frank Stallone and Don Swayze. No slapping the face of the casting director, please!

Milking It For All It's Worth: In case you were longing to hear more about those cows standing around downtown Chicago: reports from Chi-Town have all kinds of businesses like hotels finding a way to profit from the bovine presence in their midst. They've set up picture stations (everyone wants a snapshot of themselves with their favorite moo-vie star, apparently), added cow-related items to restaurant menus and are selling souvenirs like cow cups (no, I'm not gonna go there) and do-it-yourself cow painting kits. Should make for a colorful countryside.

Barbie Just Got Hipper: Mattel has announced they will make a Brandy doll. It's expected to hit the stores in the fall of 2000.

Perry's Stuff: Tomorrow, the collections of Raymond Burr will go on the auction block in Los Angeles. Included are costumes and scripts from the Perry Mason show, as well as Burr's collections of toy trains, stamps and art.

Cast iron housewares: Items such as sad irons and skillets are being reproduced and, in a really sneaky move, trademarks of collectible companies are being added to old, unmarked pieces. This is particularly true with names like Griswold and Round Oak. Signs to watch out for: poorly made, roughly cast and finished metal. Also, be sure you know the sepcifications of the old item. If the Griswold pan is supposed to have a nine inch handle, and the handle measures 12 inches, be suspicious. Another sign: a mark that is applied OVER damage, such as scratches or dents, indicating it was applied after the damage took place.

Accumulators, I've gone on long enough. Artie and I are spending a quiet evening at home tonight. Tomorrow we'll be attending the wedding of Richard Sussman and his lovely fiancee, Christine. These are two of the most wonderful young people one could ever hope to meet, and I wish them endless health and happiness. So, all the great deals on antiques and collectibles are left for you this weekend. Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!


1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #91
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.