Day 75, Esthetic Education

Wednesday, 2/13/2019

My plan was to drive to Alameda on the other side of the Bay to attend the free appraisal event at Michaan’s Auctions. Bring up to five items for free verbal appraisals, anytime between 10am and 1pm. This turned into a bit of an adventure because of the weather. A “pineapple express” rainstorm blew in. I heard heavy rain several times in the night, and wondered if I wanted to make the long drive in traffic, in the rain. Instead of departing at 8:30 as I’d originally planned, to arrive at the 10am opening time, I left at 10 in hopes of easier traffic. It was a slog but only really slow for a couple of miles in Oakland, and I arrived at 11:30. The auction house is a classy-looking place with lots of impressive antiques and cases of pretty things around the floor. About ten people were ahead of me.

The guy with the pink tie is Frank, the appraiser I dealt with. Frank by name, frank by nature, too.

Two older women were seated near me. One was called out to talk to the jewelry appraiser who worked in a different room. When she came back she told her friend, “She said it’s all costume jewelry.”

You could bring pictures or objects. I took a good print-out of my oil painting of Yosemite — have I included that before? Well, here it is again. Besides that I took a picture of an elegant 4337722_origceramic piece we bought in England and brought along two Eskimo soapstone carvings.

Taking these in reverse order, the soapstone carvings, despite being esthetically pleasing, nicely made, and by identifiable native artists, would likely bring $25-$40 dollars each.

The ceramic piece was signed by the artist, Sandra Eastwood, and I had done the research so I could tell Frank when she worked and the kind of things she did in London in the 70s and 80s. However, he was only interested in one thing: could he find auction records of sales of Eastwood ceramics? No. None at any of the sources he could check. So although he agreed the piece was charming, he doubted it would bring more than $20.

OK, quick check. When I google “Sandra Eastwood” indeed nothing turns up. But when I search on “Sandra Eastwood ceramics” I find references to her and her work. She was a teacher of pottery in the 70s and had a studio in Teddington (just down the road from where we lived in Twickenham, so very possibly the piece I have was bought there!) until 2012. However: no auction records or sales info at all. So nothing that would change the appraiser’s mind.

And the painting, for which I had rather high hopes. Here again the problem is that the artist, Dean Linsky, has only a few traceable auction sales, and they were all in the low hundreds of dollars. Very low, like $200. That was for a smaller painting than mine, but still, that was … a disappointment. (Like finding out your family heirloom necklace was costume jewelry.)

What to do next? Well, as to the carvings and ceramics: they will go in the estate sale. This is the sale I anticipate will happen around the time the sale of the house closes. And some people will get some very nice bits of decorative art for not very much money.

The painting? Well, I’m of two minds there; no, three. I could offer it back to the artist. In his email he mentioned he’d buy it back if he “were in a position to do so”. I wonder if he’d give me $500 for it? Two, I can try an eBay sale, with, say, a $500 reserve price.

Or three, I can keep it. At every ILF I’ve visited, the halls are decorated with art and photos belonging to the residents. I can see it hanging in Channing or Webster House for others to enjoy. Or hanging in my own unit at one of those places.

Got home, ate a sandwich, tossed three boxes of books in the car and went off to sort at FOPAL. Home and tired to eat blog and relax.


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