I did not realize that this "free service" would cost me the following:
* My Dignity
* My Patience
I did not realize that this "free service" came with some extras, such as:
* Generous helpings of what can only be described as "Hello, I have no interest in doing this, so get your ass over here with your piece of crap" attitude.
* Plenty of eye rolling, heaving sighs and sarcastic comments. Not FROM me...aimed AT me.
You are allowed to bring 5 items, so I gathered a motley assortment of stuff and headed to SF.
Here are the two watercolor paintings I brought:
- Inherited from Grandparents
- 1940's, J Gill is the artist, original frames, color watercolor on linen
My Hope? To find out who the artist was and worth of paintings
Dealer reaction (snickering): "Oh God, $5 each, cheaply made prints, not even paintings."
This was before I even got up to his table!!! I boldly approached anyway and asked if he had any info on these "prints" (as he called them) and he said.."Why? They are a perfect example of the cheapest method used to make prints." At this point, another paintings dealer came up to look at them, which REALLY pissed off Snotty Dealer number one. "You don’t believe me?" he screeched..."Fine!"
Stunned, I had the nerve to say..."Wow, you must get tired of sitting here only seeing small items worth $5."
"I’ve seen big things today!" he replied snottily.
Like your ego? Yeah, well , we ALL clearly see that. Sadly, I bit my tongue and did not say that out loud. Here’s how the paintings felt after such treatment:
I headed over to Household Goods. Just before the dealer sat with me, I overheard him answer another dealer’s question with..."No, same old crowd with the crap they hope is worth thousands". Then he sat down with me. I glared at him and unwrapped Mr Rooster:
- Bought for $10 at antique store, sits in kitchen
- Marked 1865 on bottom
My Hope: Find out what it was for? Why is there a hole in the top of the rooster's back?
Dealer reaction (yawning and looking around at other tables): "1920's, pottery not porcelain, used for dried flowers or such, $10 or so, merely decorative (no, really?)". Right in the middle of this, Mr Dealer got all excited by something some other victim was showing, so he exited my table with no fanfare and left me to comfort Mr Rooster, who was embarrassed and ashamed of his non worth:
I headed over to the jewelry appraisal room. Here is the vintage costume jewelry I brought:
See how happy the jewelry was to get out of the box and into the air?
- Inherited from Grandmother
- 1940-1950's, costume set, amber tones, perfect condition, shiny and golden
My Hope? Find out what it’s made of that makes it stay in perfect shape all these years, and possible worth.
Dealer reaction (rolling eyes, sighing, leaning back in chair not daring to touch such lowly stuff): "Yeah, um, we usually bag this stuff up in huge amounts and get rid of it that way."
Here’s how my jewelry felt about this rude reaction:
I headed over to Toys and Dolls. Here is beloved Patsykins, the "Lovable Imp with the Tilting Head" (as old advertisements say about her):
Patsykins had quite a night deciding which outfit would suit her day in the sun. She finally chose this 4 piece ensemble for its versatility in SF weather and fine details like tiny pearl buttons and pleats: History
- Inherited from my grandmother’s friend, who gave it to me when I was a baby since my name was the same as hers.
- 1927/28 - doll from Effanbee doll collection
- Includes 75 pieces of clothing - including a velvet coat with rabbit fur collar and cuffs, bathing suits, hats, slips, jammies, dresses, sun suits and what looks like a Vegas Dealer’s visor (for whatever reason).
Dealer reaction (from dealer filling in for toy and doll dealer - Major interest, full attention and camera was brought out) This guy was the only human dealer in the bunch. Perhaps it was because Patsykins was in good shape? Maybe rare? He took lots of photos and details down and said this appraisal would have to be done separately, and an email would be forthcoming!
So, in the end, one out of five items generated some interest. Statistically, not good.
NOTES to anyone from Bonham and Butterfield’s that may come across this blog:
- There is no need to be an unmitigated dick to people who are coming to you for advice. If an item is uninteresting to you and not really worth anything...it’s just as easy for you to say something nice about it as it is to sigh, refuse to touch it and insult it!
- I realize you people probably see thousands of pieces of crap every day. I believe that is part of the PROCESS in your business. If you take no joy in the process, GET OUT OF THE PROFESSION.
- We can hear the rude comments and snotty asides you make to each other as we wait patiently in line, clutching things our family passed down to us, hoping we won’t be victims of the abuse you just heaped on the poor sap that just left your table.
This entire process took a mere hour. This process is NOT for the faint of heart. You must be strong enough to take liberal amounts of abuse toward your precious family items. I left feeling slightly violated. So did the Rooster. Patsykins was just fine. Apparently, she is quite accustomed to being randomly strip searched.