Thursday, January 27, 2011

Million Dollar Snoopy?

One of the topics that I cover at every appraisal show is that "If you are unsure of the value of an item get an appraisal before selling it.". I tell everyone this for one good reason, you just plain never know. When this item was presented for a appraisal some of the audience had a somewhat incredulous look on their faces. You could just see it in their eyes that they thought that the person bringing it in did not get what the "antiques" appraisal show was all about.

They were wrong. Although this ceramic snoopy was of very little to no value they were absolutely correct in having it appraised. The fact is they were following a good sense approach to an item that they owned. They did not know the value so they found out. This item appraised for a few dollars (one to be exact). The person had purchased it a garage sale thinking that it might be collectible, in this case it was not.

When you don't know, find out. Remember the next snoopy that gets appraised may be the one that's worth $1,000 (or more!).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Buddy L Street Sprinkler / Tanker Truck

In real estate its location, location, location. In the antiques and collectibles business its condition, condition, condition. This is a very desirable toy that has condition problems. It was brought to us to be appraised last weekend at the Easton show. Excellent condition Buddy L street sprinklers like this will sell for $3,000 to $5,000. The question is what will one in poor condition sell for?

I estimated this one between $800 to $1,200. I will tell you however, that when you put toy collectors together in an auction house prices can end up significantly higher. Never discount the competitive nature of antiques buyers. They will sometimes pay crazy prices for poor condition items just to keep their competitors from getting it.

Restoration may be acceptable to some collectors on a rare toy like this one. Properly restored it could bring $2,500.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Aerolux Figural Light Bulbs

As one of our top ten items from the Easton Home Show, held at the Aladdin Shriners Center in Columbus, Ohio, this unusual bulb was an attention getter. The bulb was produced by the Aerolux Company. Aerolux was founded in the 1930's and closed in the 1970's. They made a variety of bulbs with figural filaments such as this one with a ram jumping over a fence. Prices for these bulbs vary depending on the figures presented in each one. I have seen the sell for well over $200 at local auctions. This particular bulb (in working condition) will sell for around $60.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

North Canton Rescheduled

The North Canton Show has been rescheduled from next weekend to March. Stay tuned in, tomorrow we will show you the best items from this weekends Columbus show. We had a great turnout with over 200 appraisals completed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Art Newdough!

My step dad's name is Glenn. Glenn is a great guy, often he travels around with me just for the fun of it. All I have to do is call or drop in and he is immediately ready to go. Sun, rain or snow, it just doesn't matter, he loves to get out and be part of the game. He is a sometimes buyer and actually has a booth at one of the local antique malls where he sells just about anything that he can pick up and carry in. Descriptions however, not quite his thing.

I recently purchased a storage locker at a local U-Haul facility. On pick up day I called Glenn and asked if he would like to go with me "I'll be ready when you get here." was the response. A few minutes later I was at his house and true to his word he was ready to go. We made a quick stop to buy him a cup of coffee (actually a cup of sugar with some coffee flavoring added) and off to Akron for the adventures of the day.

After 20 minutes of digging through what turned out to be a very average unit, Glenn announced that "You'll do really well on these art newdough stands!". Now I really appreciate the fact that he was there to help me out, but I was a little confounded when trying to figure out just what he was looking at.

So, I pushed and pulled my way out of the back of the unit to see what a pair of art newdough stands look like. Upon seeing Glenn I inquired "newdough what?" and he immediately pointed at the stands and exclaimed "these, these art newdough stands!".

A quick glance revealed that the art newdough (art nouveau) stands (candleholders) that included an authentic "MADE IN CHINA" label were not quite up to my expectations. I simply smiled and told them that they were nice (worth a dollar or two). Later, on the drive home I rambled on about the art nouveau period, trying to impress him with my wit and expertise, I repeatedly used the word nouveau, I described what the buyers are looking for and I gave him some direction on valuations. Unfortunately it fell upon deaf ears, because he didn't hear a word that I had said. When I glanced over at him he was sound asleep with his hearing aid sitting on his lap.

So, if your ever traveling Ohio and hear an older gentlemen talking about art newdough, its Glenn and I really did try to tell him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loose at the Table, Win in the Junk Box

What happens in here, stays here! For most people they are really referring to their money. The smart money isn't on the game its on the dice. Dice are one of the items that are often overlooked by auctioneers and auction goers. Don't get caught in that trap yourself. Determined searching through every box lot will often reward you with jewels like these. While the rest of the auction crowd was gambling to make $50 on a $500 purchase, you purchased a box lot with dice in it for $5. Your reward, a $100 pair of dice.

Most of the value comes in the form of the casino's advertising on the dice. Also keep an eye out for oversize Bakelite dice. Paying attention to the minutia can really pay off.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Easton Home Show, Columbus, Ohio Schedule

The Fabulous Easton Home Show, presented by Mid America Events will take place January 21, 22, 23, 2011. We will be having a presentation on antiques, collectibles and everything else, on Saturday (Jan 22) and Sunday (Jan 23) from 1:00 to 3:00.

Cash it, Stash it, or Trash it "find out what its REALLY worth", will be an interactive presentation covering everything from what you bring in for appraisal to whats going on in the business. Come on in and spend some time with us during this fun and interesting presentation. Additional Home Show information is available at www.ohiohomeshows.net .

Friday, January 14, 2011

I got it from Grandma!!

I know its old because my grandma gave it to me.....She was really old and she died 10 years ago. We have this statement made to us at every appraisal show that we do. It is usually brought on because of my telling someone that the item that they brought in for the appraisal isn't as old as they think it is. They typically get indignant because of my lack of knowledge and then proceed to blurt out the line "Grandma gave it to me...AND SHE WAS REALLY OLD!!".

Grandma's shop at Walmart too! We are grandparents, and not everything that we own is old. Grandma's everywhere on a regular basis put on their best pill box hat (complete with babies breath and white webbing), hop into their gold Buick LeSabre and head directly to the local WalMart. Why? Because Grandma's like nice things too! Not everything that Grandma owned was old, so be careful whenever you are using this overworked term.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Hat, Stephanie & Me

On several occasions I have spoken about how this antiques and collectibles business is a great way to give couples common ground. Whether you are a husband and wife, boyfriend / girlfriend, boyfriend / boyfriend, girlfriend / girlfriend going to auctions can be a great way to make your relationships better...most of the time.


Recently we attended an auction that had among other things a great vintage top hat in its original leather case. During the preview I made the statement to Stephanie that I really liked the hat and that I would like her to bid on it. She said "O.K., how high would you like me to go?". I told her to go to at least $100.00 on it. The first look on her face said it all, to put it as simple as possible, she thought I was crazy. Not the "Oh, you like it a lot and that's O.K." crazy, but the one that really says "get the f*!& out of town" crazy.

We trust each other. This is probably one of the most important things that you need to have between each other if you are going to go to auctions. TRUST. Even when it seems as though one of you is crazy. Sometimes one of you just knows. Stephanie relied on that trust to bid on the hat for me. She ended up paying $60.00 plus the buyer premium. In this case I was right...for the wrong reasons.

The hat by itself would most likely sell for around $150.00, not bad, I was quite pleased with myself for the good purchase. But of course there is more to the story.
Lesson number one is trust, lesson number 2 is know each others strengths. Some of my strengths are 35 years of seeing everything from doghouses to diamonds sell, the ability to see values on items that I have never owned before and patience when it comes to buying. Stephanie is amazing at research, looking at every single item no matter how deeply hidden it may be in a box lot and keeping my greatest weakness in check, organization.

Back to the hat, Dave (me) brought the hat home and threw it into the pile of things that he is going to get to some day, after all the purchase was completed, time to move on. Stephanie (the organizer), wasn't satisfied with that. Now it was her turn.

As I was watching television that night, Stephanie was "playing", or so I thought, on the computer. Her playing resulted in several notable pieces of information.

1. I bought the hat, she actually looked at it. The first thing that she found was a pendant that was in the bottom of the box. The pendant was for a 1924 American Bar Association convention that was held in London, England.

2. The leather hat box had the cruise lines labels on it. She managed to not only find the cruise line, but also found out that the hat went on the trip to London with its owner for the convention.

3. By tracking down the initials on the hat box she determined who the person was that went on the trip to London, for the convention.

I meanwhile enjoyed many reruns and the Cleveland Cavaliers 20th loss in a row.

So what does all of this mean. It means that we will most likely get $300.00 for the hat instead of $150.00. Know each others strength's. Trust each other. I may have taken the initial gamble, Stephanie turned it into gold. This is just one example of how we work together, it is always a total team effort. But, it would never work without the trust and without accepting the fact that neither one of us knows everything. For me Stephanie is the reason that I am able to stay in this business.

Finally, mistakes happen. The day will come when one of you will pay $100.00 for a hat and it will be worth $5.00. Shrug your shoulders, learn from your mistake, do not place blame and go on. Remember, the next time it may be you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Appraisal Show Schedule

It is time for us to start our annual tour of Home and Garden Shows. Each year beginning in January, Stephanie and I run an antique and collectibles appraisal show. It is an interactive show where we do everything from appraise antiques and collectibles to talk about our real life experiences as antiques dealers, appraisers and auctioneers. We are always amazed at the number of people who return to see full program each year. If you have a chance, come on out and see us. The Mid America Events Home and Garden Shows are among the best in the country.

January 21,22,23
Easton Home and Garden Show, Columbus, OH

February 4,5,6
Cranberry Home and Garden Show, Cranberry (Pittsburgh), PA

Februay 18,19,20
Mahoning Valley Home and Garden Show, Niles, OH

March 4,5,6
Great Lakes Home and Garden Show, Kalahari (Sandusky), OH

March 18,19,20
Summit/Portage Home and Garden Show, Summit County, OH

March 25,26,27
Greater Youngstown Home and Garden Show, Austintown, OH

Please check http://www.ohiohomeshows.com/ for additional information. We will be posting actual show times as they are established.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gold Victorian Slide Chain

The photo on this Victorian era watch slide chain does not even begin to do it justice. This chain was brought to us for an appraisal at one of our shows last winter. Although it was not marked we determined that it was actually a 14k gold chain and 14k slide that contained a amethyst that was approximately 3 carats. It was to say the least impressive. This huge chain weighed in at over 8 ounces. So the question arises, just what should you do?

This is a case where due to the high value of gold in the commodities market, the scrap value is in most instances higher than the antique value. People are faced every day with having to decide on whether or not they should scrap a piece of fine antique jewelry or silver. Eight ounces of 14k gold would currently scrap for over $6000.00, antique value $3000.00. For many this is simple, turn it into the greatest amount of cash that you can. For others though, its not quite so easy.

Taking an over 100 year old work of art such as this and turning it back into a generic lump of gold, seems sacrilegious. What would grandma think? What do you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Unger Brothers Sterling Match Safe

Long ago and seemingly far away I received a lesson from a good friend about Unger Brothers sterling items. Unger Brothers was founded in the 1870's and specialized in the manufacture of Art Nouveau sterling items. They produced some of the highest quality sterling that could be purchased during this time period. Unger is to this day highly sought after. Unger produced a wide variety of sterling items ranging from flatware to jewelry.

This piece is a match safe. Weighing in at less than 1 ounce the scrap value on it would be under $20.00 based on today's closing silver prices. But scrapping an item like this would be absolute foolishness. This match safe would easily sell for over $500.00! Never assume that scrap is going to be the highest value. Keep an eye out for the Unger marks. It is a U and B superimposed over each other with the wording .925 fine sterling following (or surrounding) it. This is definitely a pay attention and CASH IT item.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Frito Bandito Eraser

The Frito Bandito was used for advertising Frito Corn Chips in the 1960's and 1970's. As a kid I had many of these erasers. They were given as premiums for the purchase of a bag of chips. Every kid in school had at least one of these erasers. They were used, thrown at each other or lost by the millions. Today, they are collectible. Cash this one in. The price range is between $15-25 for one in good condition. Excellent condition erasers, like this one, sell for upwards of $50.00!

Happy New Year!!
I woke up this morning all ready to go. After sitting around doing practically nothing for the last 4 weeks I actually felt like today was the day to get something done. At 8:00 I was outside in the cool morning air (15 degrees f ) loading up my van with items that were going into a local auction. I actually had a full day scheduled. First, a trip to the auction to drop off the freshly loaded items. Then a trip to one of the local charities to drop off some usable household items. Finally a trip to the scrapyard to sell a grouping of metal items that would otherwise be worthless. How little I knew.
The Van.
Ford Windstar, 1997, runs great, oops! I purchased van 2 years ago for $800.00. It was old, a bit scraggly and with 114,000 miles getting a little long in the tooth for a Windstar. But it did fill my needs. This business can be pretty hard on automobiles. Many miles of driving, the loading of heavy items on the inside and of course extensive use of the roof rack on the outside for larger items. It was used for towing trailers. It made several trips to North Carolina, numerous flea markets / antiques shows and made many trips to antiques appraising shows. Scratches, dents and heavy hauling are all part of the daily routine for a van used in this business. It served me well. Until this morning.
To put it as simple as possible, THE ENGINE BLEW. As I was making my trek towards the auction the van simply slowed down and started coasting. I was on a major four lane highway and managed to coast into a parking lot. Ironically the parking lot was for a HOSPICE care home (no I'm not making this up). In the HOSPICE parking lot she was pronounced dead.
Towed home on a flatbed, she now awaits her final fate, being crushed to be used again. Hopefully she will be reincarnated as a Lexus or maybe a girder in a tall building, most likely though, she will be sent to China, be changed into a toaster and be sent back to the U.S. market. I really believe in reusing every single item with the ultimate goal of protecting the environment as much as possible. I just not sure about how it can be scrapped in the U.S., shipped halfway around the world, be remanufactured, get shipped back to the U.S. and then be sold as a toaster for $7.99.
This however is not a tale of woe. I am actually pleased with my purchase of the van. Why? Because I purchased the car for $800.00, drove it for 2 years and now I will scrap it for around $500.00. Not bad. How many of people can say that you drove a car for 2 years and only had $300.00 in depreciation occur? I know that not everyone is cut out to drive a $800 car. In fact for most people I would not recommend it, but, there is a lesson to be learned here and that is you can get great buys on just about anything, cars included. So my van has now made it to a new category TRASH IT FOR CASH! Scrapyard here we come.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


This is a simple test that everyone in the antiques, collectibles and replacement business should know, plinging.

Plinging is a simple quick way to check china, crystal, stoneware and porcelain items for cracks. All you have to do is hold the item in the palm of your hand (or leave it on a hard surface) and gently tap it with a pen, pencil or similar type item. If you hear a ringing or clear vibration it means that there are no cracks. If the tapping is followed by a hollow sound it is most likely cracked. Test it out. Find a piece of porcelain or crystal that is obviously cracked, then find one that is not and tap them. A little practice will enable you to quickly identify cracked items.