What’s on Your Mind?

No man is an island (thank you, John Donne), and neither is a collector. To get the most out of art, antiques and collectibles, you need to be part of a collecting community, which is what WorthPoint is. We encourage comments on our stories and site.

Here is a sampling of what readers are saying. Please don’t hesitate to send us your thoughts.

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Lots of children make presents for their mothers on Mother’s Day. Lots of the gifts have a flower theme. Christopher Kent’s recounting of what his mom did with flowers in “A Mother’s Day to Remember—1965” elicited more than one comment.

Thank you for sharing that heartfelt story about your mother. It reminded me of those halcyon days of the 1960s and the structured lifestyle we all lived. Sadly, the humor of those days is passé, and we are hard pressed to find a good laugh anymore. Thanks again for a laugh and a tear.

Robert

You painted a picture so vividly, I could imagine being there. Brought great memories of my mom and dad. Thanks so much.

Alison

This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks, Christopher! I think I would have liked your folks!

Lisa

What a wonderful story, Christopher, a great memory of your parents on Mother’s Day. Thank you so much for sharing it!

Barbara

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As you’ll learn by reading “Chris Hughes—Seeking a Collectible’s History,” Chris is real treasure seeker. And the treasures he most likes to find are military items and the stories that go with them. But he has lucked out this time. It was Jack who came seeking him.

We have one of those WWII uniforms in our garage. It is a Canadian uniform worn by an American who enlisted to fight Germany. George Knowles Sr. thought the American politics of the time were alarmingly wrong not to get into the fight. So he enlisted in Canada’s armed forces. He never received any pension or post-service benefits from either country since he was serving outside his domain of origin.

We would gladly send you this uniform for the cost of shipping just to have our garage space available. George Senior went on to achieve 17 patents for Coors. One of which is the aluminum pop-top beer can. Quite a man!

Jack

To which Chris replied:

Jack,
That is greatly appreciated . . . This uniform sounds like it would be great fun to research and author an article on!

Chris

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Steve found the profile of Worthologist Christopher Kent, “Christopher Kent: A Man for All Seasons,” a “gem.” We’re glad because Christopher himself is a treasure.

This brief summary of Christopher Kent’s career is a gem. The ability to identify a pivot point like this lunch box sale in the market and explain how such a sale was a catalyst for market transition to a new parameter is true wisdom. There are book-learned people being turned out of colleges like factory farming right now, but here is an example of a man with a career who has genuine talent enhanced with common sense and a dose of “book-learning,” which didn’t ruin him. Thanks for this wonderful story.

Steve

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The insights and observations in Harry Rinker’s story, “With Gold Sale Parties, It’s Caveat Venditor, Not Emptor,” hit home with readers. And the reaction in the following comments serves to reinforce the importance of the WorthPoint mission. As Will Seippel, founder and CEO of WorthPoint, said after reading the responses, “That is why we are here—to help people learn the value of their items and how to sell or buy them!”

I loved your article. In 1996 I, too, was taken to the cleaners out of desperation. My chiropractor husband got Alzheimer’s, and we were losing our home. I went to an antique shop and sold off most of my sterling Tiffany, brilliant period crystal and diamond jewelry. I think I got around $1,200. The jewelry alone was worth double. The crystal also double.

But I knew resale was always less . . . or so I thought. I told the antique dealer I had more stuff, so he came to my home to look. Well, I had a dirty Waterford vintage crystal stemware on the kitchen counter. He saw it and asked if I had any more. I opened my cupboard, and he saw my 32-piece set in four sizes. He said he would put those on his buy list. We then go to the living room, and he spots an antique, very small Persian rug on the floor and a 1918 watercolor above the piano. He examined all the items and made them out to be “So So.”

He pulled out $200 for the rug, painting and crystal. I, like a desperate fool, accepted it thinking after he paid me $1,200 the day before that he knew his prices. He said he would be back. After he left with all my treasures, I got a weird sinking feeling in the pit of my gut. The next day when he returned I told him NO THANKS, I was finished selling. He hesitantly went on his way, and that was that. I to this day could KICK myself for being taken. Now again we are in desperate times, but I have learned and will be Caveat Venditor. Thank you for your article.

Linda Rowan

The irony of the situation is that I was having a discussion on the vulnerabilities of those who find themselves at a disadvantage because they have to sell precious heirlooms to satisfy their financial obligations.

I’m extremely grateful that you wrote this, and it further reinforces the fact those who have chosen this profession are not all thieves and predators. I have sent this to friend and foe alike. It should be printed as a public-service announcement in all publications.
Once again, thanks.

James Adams

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Not surprisingly, Lt. Lawson Reichard’s World War II diary has generated much interest. It is one man’s experience in the “Good War” in his own words as he made his daily entry. A reader sent a comment about a project to preserve the real story of the conflict as seen by someone not in the upper echelon of command or leading daring raids. Rather a relative working with the Red Cross in North Africa.

I am working on my aunt’s letters from Africa and Europe during WWII when she worked for the American Red Cross. I am also searching for other events that were happening at the time of each letter. When Lt. Reichard’s was still in the U.S., my aunt was in Casablanca with the Red Cross. I am hoping to form all of her letters and corresponding events into a book for her nieces and nephews.

Tobey

Hi Tobey, That is wonderful that you will work to preserve that part of your family’s history. We really are the last generation to have firsthand accounts to learn from. I hope you continue to follow Lt. Reichard. He does eventually get overseas. It might be fun for you to track them together. Please write back as you get into your aunt’s letters, and keep us informed about how your project is going.

Alison Harder

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After reading “How to Repair Vintage Fur Yourself,” Annie had a question for Sharon Maxwell-Yamamota, WorthPoint’s vintage-clothing and accessories Worthologist. The answer may not have been what Annie was hoping for, but some novel Christmas decorations could be in the offing.

I have a beautiful jacket that I have barely worn that I can peel the fur with my fingers. Is there any help for restoring the fur? It’s an old jacket. Thanks.

Annie

Hi Annie,
I’m sorry to tell you that if you can peel it so easily with your fingers, it’s too far gone to do anything with. That is best used for crafts, like making Santas and such, using glue, since the skin would never hold a needle and thread at this point. Sorry!

Sharon

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And many thanks to prh for catching an error in a headline, no less. He noticed that the date for the Weekly News Roundup was 2006. We always welcome corrections.

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Kathy sent this question after reading “WorthPoint Offers a 14-Day Free Trial,”and Marci responded, a great example of the WorthPoint community’s give-and-take.

I would be interested in finding out how to buy and sell antiques. How do I become involved?

Kathy

Kathy, you “could” accumulate antiques and hang your shingle, but there are far better ways.

Be certain that you have knowledge first. How do you receive it? Well, by taking antiques classes, reading everything you can get your hands on, visiting antique stores and shows, attending auctions, checking auction results, etc. Speaking with seasoned dealers and asking questions. Then you must get a tax number to file sales tax.

Selling antiques is a lot of hard work, but if you have the passion, you won’t mind the work. Good luck with your endeavor.

Marci of The Way It Was Antiques

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It’s always nice to get positive feedback. In this case, it’s on Harry Rinker’s positive story, “Good News for Dealers—Finally.”

Great article. I am having success in my antique/gift shop even in the downturned economy. I am the “face” of my shop and work to serve the customer. I also take items on consignment from local folks and enjoy helping them out, too. It gives me a great variety in my shop. (Tickled that you used my picture of the pink Depression glass perfume bottle that I have listed on goantiques.com!) Thanks for the positive article

Carolyn of Memories Past and Present

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The Internet has brought the world closer and as evidenced by this comment to “Wooden Carousels: Historic Collectibles’ Worth Preserving,” spans the generations.

I am the granddaughter of E. Joy Morris. Thank you for recording his importance in carousel history. He often gets lost because of being over shadowed by PTC. I agree that the Kit Carson County Carousel is the finest American carousel in existence. One of my goals is to be able to visit one day. I have yet to see it in person.

– Morris Cook

I do hope you have a chance to ride this carousel. The craftsmanship is remarkable, and it really is a ride back into the past.

Here’s the next best thing to being there—a link to the video about the Kit Carson Carousel. Click here to view it.

— Mary Brenneman

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I am so glad you put all these wonderful comments in one place! I love hearing what other members have to say, and sometimes their thoughts point me to an article that I might not have otherwise read. Hope you make it a regular feature.

— Alison

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Barbie’s turning 50 and a number of you commented on Sandy Stuart’s story on Barbie’s birthday.

I am a collector too, and I hope Barbie stays around for a long time for other generations to enjoy. I still have my Barbie from 1969. My granddaughter also loves to play with Barbie. I have started a collection for her.

— Debra

Personally I think that Barbie should be retired. The vintage dolls would escalate in value on their own merits. Barbie is doing a burnout and it shows.
Thank you and good-bye Barbie.
I am a collector with lots of Barbies, but only #3`s.

— Mary

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Worthologist Christopher Kent’s story of a pint-sized antiques expert also garnered a number of comments including some from his fellow Worthologists.

Oh the adrenalin of the chase, and my you found a corker.
What happened to the cobra in the end, and is that gifted child still in the business?
You have a way with words, and have perhaps missed your calling. More please!

— Maria

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Hello Chris, Great article! I look forward to your articles, knowledge mixed with a bit of wry humor. I will do my best to emulate you! May I ask…who is this mysterious and precocious 7-year-old?

— David Mycko, Worthologist

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Christopher added this postscript to his story.

It is with great sadness that I report that after 71 years in operation Merritt’s Antiques will be closing their doors as of May 2. With a possible on site auction of the remaining contents. The reason, reports general manager Randy Westley, ”It’s not just the economy but it’s difficult to find good antiques.” The company will concentrate on its internationally known clock shop as well as the doll segment of the business. It is indeed the end of an era and the passing will be mourned by many.

— Christopher Kent, Worthologist

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Another Christopher Kent article, “How To Clean Silver–Buyer Beware,” brought this question from a Ina.
I purchased some 1847 Roger’s Brothers flatware to replace some missing pieces. Unfortunately the seller had “dipped” the pieces and the detail has lost much of its color.
Can that be replaced?

— Ina

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About Sandra Lee Stuart’s story, “What’s Hidden in Your Attic?“, a reader wrote about some of the oil paintings she had inherited.

I inherited many framed oil paintings of southern settings by Georgia artist, Pamela Renfro. They are typical of her work in that they are well executed, nostalgic depictions of country homes, stores and landscapes with great detail including animals, quilts, antiques, etc. I believe they were done in the late seventies and early eighties, before her work was commissioned by Coca Cola and other corporations.

I have been unable to find her work for sale anywhere on the Internet and wonder how to price the paintings for sale.
Do you have any suggestions?

— Katherine

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Writers also wrote in with comments about two of Worthologist Fred Taylor’s articles including this one from Pete about using a cupboard for a stereo cabinet.

Mr. Taylor, I had not thought about using my family’s older furniture for anything other than what it had been intended for. You gave me a great idea on how to use an old cupboard for my stereo equipment. Thanks for the insight.

— Pete

And in response to Fred’s article on locks, Ken wrote about an old china cabinet that he can no longer unlock.
Thank you for this wonderful article! My wife and I have an old china cabinet with a full mortise lock. It has worked fine for a few years, but now the key will not open the lock. The key is notched. As the key is turned, it seems to get stuck before it engages the bolt. Based on you terrific diagrams, I would guess that the security ring may have been bent slightly and that this denies the key the ability to turn fully. Is this a reasonable guess in your opinion? Do you have any suggestions as to how we may overcome this problem? Thanks again for the article.

— Ken

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Our latest fly-fishing video by Worthologist Steve Ellis received this comment about selling chewed up in poor condition fishing lures. Fred’s response is interesting too.

Garage sale time just around the block!
I’ve sold the chewed up missing eye, rusty hook lures to artists. Buy em cheap and sell em cheap… the lady’s love them. Your going to pay for better lures there are so few around. He’s right about the word “MINT” with lures… I think of it as “Un-fished” with the BOX and Label. Garage sale time just around the block!

— PickerBrad

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And finally on one of Comic Book Worthologist Matt Baum’s articles, we found this sad question from one of our readers. Do any of you have advice for Travis?

I just lost 100s of old comics in a fire. I didn’t have issues listed and saved for protection. How do I place a value on them for insurance purposes?

— Travis

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What’s On Your Mind – March 5, 2009

On Linda Stockwell’s story on Mary Alice Hadley pottery, one writer is looking for seconds—those less-than-perfect and therefore less-expensive items.

I am seeking “seconds”… there used to be a source in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin where I could purchase Hadley pottery ware at a discount price. If these sources are still available, please direct me to the nearest one. I live on a farm; I do not collect this dinnerware as an investment; I use it for everyday enjoyment. I have no concern for rejects due to color, mismatch or small chips. Thank you,

—Mari

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Worthologist Chris Hughes wrote back to a reader who commented on his story on the good old days of antique collecting, which to Chris are the late 90’s!

Carol,
Thank you for reading. I agree that a deal can be had when bartering in a shop with a dealer, but I’ve also found that online dealers create opportunities for a bargain. Two weeks ago, I bought an item online that was unknowingly priced at least 2/3 below market value. There are deals to be had everywhere, especially in this economy! I also like to recall the items that got away because it keeps me charged up, hoping to get a second chance if a comparable item pops up.

–Chris

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James Taylor’s article, “Your First Coin Show? Eight Tips for Success,” garnered a number of comments, including this one from an appreciative reader. James is the president of ANACS, the oldest coin grading service in the United States.

That helps me a lot. I have many vintage silver coins, which were in my great-aunt’s estate, we didn’t want to sell them but with these economic times my grandpa really needs the money. Appreciate the info.

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“Simply put, people aren’t going to buy collectibles from athletes with tainted numbers,” says writer Eric Brantner in his article on Alex Rodriguez collectibles. One reader wrote:

Let’s just see what A-Rod does this year. He is one of the best players to ever play the game, with or without steroids. You can blame the players, but I would blame the amount of money these players are getting for all the steroid use. If there were a cap on what players could make, like $1,000,000, players would stay with the team that drafted them and would not take all these steroids. A-Rod has had some great years with the Yankees while not taking steroids, so just how big of a part did steroids really play in his numbers?

—Tim Meyer

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Worthologist Liz Holderman wrote back to two readers who commented on her series of articles on collectible book terminology.

Ron: You are right, book terms are often used loosely and interchangeably, which is why they are sometimes so confusing. Technically, “hinge” is supposed to refer to the inside junction of the spine with the binding and “joint” to the outside. But many sellers don’t make that distinction. “Gutter” (another duplicitous term) can either refer to the outside indention made where the boards and spine are joined (like a bowling gutter), or the inside indention where two facing pages meet.

Jacqueline: Thanks for your excellent response on the definition of “tipped in.” Part V of this series will cover illustrations and that is one of the terms that will be discussed. I’m thrilled and impressed to learn that the Boy Scouts have a merit badge in book binding! Book repair is always an option of course, and it can save a beloved book for shelf value. I had an old family bible fully restored for just that reason (although it was very expensive). If important pages or the covers are missing, restoration will not improve the retail value very much, but it can certainly bring new life to a family heirloom.

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Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto, our Vintage Clothing Worthologist, is an opera singer who enjoys her glamorous vintage furs. When she paid good money to a furrier for a repair that she found inadequate, she decided to do repair it herself and she’s sharing what she learned with our readers. Perhaps it is our less than robust economy, but her article “How to Repair Vintage Fur Yourself” that is bringing out the DIY attitude in many of our readers

Dear Sharon, Thank you so much for generously sharing this information! I am just beginning to use fur and would appreciate any other information or ongoing email exchange with you. I have purchased two eBay furs that need some work and the furrier has gone out of business so I am on my own. I have many years of experience sewing… but not on fur. Can you recommend any books, pre”fur”ably with detailed pictures? Again, thank you.

—Thula

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  1. Dan Bertrem says:

    Suffraget Carrie Chapman Catt was a great-great aunt on my mother’s side. I inherited a number of items that once belonged to her, including some jewelry beaded purse and other personal items. How would I go about determining their value?

  2. Alison Harder says:

    I am so glad you put all these wonderful comments in one place!
    I love hearing what other members have to say, and sometimes their thoughts point me to an article that I might not have otherwise read. Hope you make it a regular feature.

  3. ooohh! I have some hadley somewhere around here, nice to know what people are interested in buying! I have been trying to figure that out, so I can get started more efficiently in listing on Go. I’m still a little inexperienced, so be patient, I will dig up some Hadley and list it! (I’m an old “feebay seller” so it’s not like I’m not experienced, I’m just new to this new venue!LOL! Any other suggestions as to what I should list here would be very welcome! Keep the suggestions coming!

  4. christopher kent says:

    This response is to Ina’s question regarding striped silver. Firstly, let me go on record to say that dealers that strip silver should have their knuckles soundly rapped. Secondly, once the patina has been chemically removed it is virtually impossible to restore it, however,when in the stripping process detail has been lost tarnish can be your friend, meaning, allow the pieces to tarnish, badly, then polish with a cream cleaning polish like Wright’s and under-clean the detailed design allowing tarnish residue to remain. Or you can have the pieces professionally restored where a certain amount of tarnish can be applied to the pieces detail work, or, by the same token, you can have the pieces replated and your starting off, like-new. Christopher Kent

  5. Brent Hull says:

    I am not an antique purchaser or seller but have always had a great interest in older things. However, recently I have been awarded the heartbreaking task of desposing of family estate and would like to be able to find a way to value some household items. I would like to be able to access worthopedia for this reason, hopefully at no charge. Can you help? -Brent

    • Mary Brenneman says:

      Brent,
      I think it is always difficult to part with items that were onced owned by someone you loved. You asked to be able to access the worthopedia at no charge, and you actually can with the 14 day free trial. The monthly charge for the basic membership is only $9.99 so it is a relatively small cost. You can register on the home page http://www.worthpoint.com
      You might also want to listen to Harry Rinker’s podcast on How to Part With the Antiques You Love.
      Let us know how it goes.
      Mary

  6. Laura says:

    Brent – there are also lots of dealers at GoAntiques and WorthPoint that are happy to help you out. WorthPoint is offering a wonderful 14 day free trial, that I think would be worth your time to check out. We are a family here and we all work together. Join the team and you will have a whole bunch of wonderful new friends that are passionate and knowledgable in all the realms of antiques and collectibles. I am sorry for your loss. I know it can be difficult. Feel free to contact me if you need any guidance. Laura.

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