Tampa Bay Times

What's It Worth? The Popularity Of Mid-Century Modern Continues

Our last auction proved again that mid-century modern (your parents called it Danish, art moderne, or modernist), also called retro or simply MCM, is still very hot.

The time period of MCM is argued about constantly by aficionados. I think the seeds of this era started with the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and the German Bauhaus movement – well before the accepted time period of 1935 to 1970. And some of our MCM pieces were made in the 1980s and may not be accepted as MCM by purists. But like many design eras, the concept often stretches the boundaries of an accepted time period.

What's It Worth? Political Cartoons: A True Art Form

Today’s TV pundits are often accused of being rabble rousers, troublemakers and worse. Frequently chided for being mean or controversial just for ratings, both sides of the political spectrum fill hours and hours of airtime with a lot of what is called puff or punditry. Some listeners are enraged. Some actually enjoy the opinions heard around a microphone with a three-camera setup.

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?