Originally created 02/05/06

Appraisers assess belongings

Curiosity drove hundreds to the Morris Museum of Art on Saturday.

It certainly led Larry Dodson, of North Augusta, to bring an heirloom painting for appraisal as part of the Morris 100 Appraisal Day.

"It belonged to my grandmother," he said of the 1860s French reverse painting on glass with a mother-of-pearl inlay. "Where she got it from, I have no idea."

People crowded rooms on the first floor at the Augusta Riverfront Center on Riverwalk Augusta, waiting for antiques appraisers from Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers of St. Louis.

They held onto paintings in aging frames, some wrapped in towels, others in blankets. They clutched porcelain and ceramic items as they waited their turn for a professional appraiser to give them the verdict on the goods, a little bit of Antiques Roadshow in Augusta.

"They've brought something they've found, something Aunt Edna had in her attic," said Beda Johnson, with membership services at the museum. "Someone's even brought something that was in their housekeeper's garage."

Phyllis M. Giddens, the external affairs director for the Morris Museum of Art, said a similar session was held in March 2004.

"We're trying to make it annual," she said.

Miguel Muiz, of Martinez, brought a floor lamp for appraisal, featuring a painted porcelain figure.

"I've had it for nearly 30 years," he said.

He came back from the appraiser a little disappointed, but pleased with knowing more about the item. It was valued at $150-$250.

"She says it was a copy of an original," Mr. Muiz said. "I thought it was perhaps worth a little more, but I found out things I didn't know before."

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.


- If it looks new, it probably is. The best strategy is to learn as much as possible about the item you're evaluating and pay attention to details.

- Black lights are often used to date objects and test for authenticity. Repairs and touch-ups on porcelain or paintings will glow; glass will glow different colors depending on age.

- Glass pieces usually have marks on the bottom; if the mark is worn, it's an older piece and less likely to be a reproduction. Sources: about.com; WGBH-TV


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