Tampa Bay Times

What's It Worth? The $2 Million Painting That Wasn’t

A North Carolina antique estate dealer recently sent us a box of Tiffany silver and a painting by a famous artist who was local to the Raleigh-Durham area. After our first successful transaction, he began to send us more paintings from the same estate, which we paid between $1,000 and $10,000 for apiece. He said that the best were still to come; each subsequent painting was worth more than the one before. Finally he sent us what was supposed to be the best piece in the collection, an Edward Hopper, which, if authentic, could be worth several million dollars.

What's It Worth? Wallflowers Of The Art World: Craggy Old Men

A recent acquisition from a Florida retiree underscores the desirability, prejudices and ambiguities of fine art that further define valuation. Chinese, Burmese and Indian art have all been on a positive upswing in the past 10 years. As we have humorously written in the past, the most endearing subject for fine art that holds its value over time has always been women. As Katrina has noted, nothing is more naturally beautiful than the female form. The second most popular subject is women with children, as seen in Mary Cassatt’s and similar artists’ works.

What's It Worth? The Historic Culverhouse Art Collection

The term “renaissance man” is overused. Used to describe a person of well-rounded, multi-faceted and varied intellect, today’s column focuses on just one aspect of a verifiable and literal “renaissance woman.” We have been tapped by museums, universities and federal bankruptcy courts to sell, promote and deaccession very important, internationally acclaimed collections over the years; but the Dr. Gay Culverhouse collection of fine and decorative art is perhaps one of the most exciting. Dr. Culverhouse defied conventional wisdom with her varied interests.

What's It Worth? Napkin Rings: Reminders Of A More Formal Past

The well-appointed 19th-century home from almost every class had napkin rings on the table. Napkin rings vary in size from tiny clips to giant figural creations and are typically sterling silver or American coin silver. Early American versions like the two “shield” versions (lower right) bring 3 to 4 times their silver value. Plain ones like the oval with Ruth monogram (lower left) often bring just their silver value.

What's It Worth? The Love Affair With Mid-Century Style Continues

Five years ago, we wrote about the mid-century trend. And it is still going strong! The style influences from the 1950s to the 1970s are still a hot trend today. When we first went into the antique business in the 1980s, no one wanted anything to do with 1950s and ’60s modernist design; the bizarre clock in your mom’s kitchen or the asymmetrical Danish-designed table in your parents’ den was seen as old hat.

What's It Worth? Adieux To The Last Of The Gay Culverhouse Collection

Last week we sold the remaining lots of the prestigious Gay Culverhouse art collection. Proud to have been chosen to help settle the estate of Dr. Culverhouse (a textbook “renaissance woman” who was president of the Buccaneers, noted author, philanthropist and art dealer/collector), this sale (which included a few other non-Culverhouse items) fetched under a quarter of a million dollars and was our biggest online auction yet. On Saturday, the 23rd, it was all hands on deck with phone bidders and internet dealers from around the world.

What's It Worth? The Myths Of Ming

For almost 300 years, the long-lived Ming Dynasty – the last dynasty ruled by the Han people – excelled at foreign trade, and is well-known for its incredible porcelain. Not so well-known – millions of Ming Dynasty porcelain items were manufactured not just for trade but for everyday use as well. So if you have the oft-cited Ming vase, it might not be valuable at all. (In our business, when someone says, “I have a vase for sale,” we know we have a shot at buying it. When they say, “I have acquired a vahz,” we know it is probably overvalued by the owner.) In short?

What's It Worth? The Death Bump. It’s A Thing Except When It’s Not

Over the years, one of the most cited reasons people think things have increased in value is because an artist or an owner just passed away. When someone comes into our office saying, “The artist died; what is my stuff worth?” we are both amused and saddened. Is it fair to suggest that something has more value after someone has passed away? Yes and no. As with all valuation, it greatly depends on supply and demand. If an artist was prolific, the bump is usually short-lived, as with the passing of Erté in 1990.

What's It Worth? $1,000 Saved Can Be Much More Earned

If you (or your parents) put a $1,000 bill aside or in a safe deposit box before President Nixon recalled them, was the decision sound? It depends. While just about any $1,000 bill is worth $1,250 or more – even with pinholes, tiny tears and ink marks – most are worth $1,500 to $3,000 each if in relatively good condition and some are worth $100,000 or more! (Even $500 bills are worth considerably over face value.) We are constant buyers of old currency of any kind (especialy brown and red seal notes and pre-1940 notes).

What's It Worth? When Baseball Cards Were Young

Over the years, we have seen hundreds of thousands of baseball cards. While that may seem like boasting, it is more an admission of abject boredom. While baseball cards are fun as a preteen (when most kids collected them for amusement and fantasy), the fun leaves when the adults get into the picture. They turn into investments. Typically, the cards get sent to a grading lab to determine their authenticity and condition.