Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2018

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In my work as an antiques and art adviser, appraiser, and auctioneer for over twenty years, I have reviewed individual items and entire collections for thousands of people. Though tastes, economy, and technology have changed during that time, I have consistently seen a trend that does not seem to be shifting anytime soon: no one wants Grandma's china. While "no one" might be an overstatement, in the race to place your post-its, I've seen some pretty interesting things take a higher priority than a beautiful set of vintage china. Le Creuset, a Vitamix, even barware can instigate a heated discussion over who has the fondest memory of Nana whipping up something magical; but, her Haviland Vieux Paris Green service for 12? No one wants to reject it, but no one is running to pack it, either. ey look to alleviate feelings of guilt by hauling a place setting or two into a walk-in appraisal event, hoping that we will tell them that it is, in fact, priceless - and that buyers today are clamoring for this precise pattern. Sadly, no one else wants Grandma's china either, so prices for vintage sets of dishes are woefully low. ere is so little demand, that unless the set is super special (read: 19th Century and a high style European maker or Mid-Century Mod), I generally recommend donating to a local charity or selling in a yard sale. I once overheard one of my more cynical colleagues actually suggest using it as shooting targets. Often, in collectors' minds, this declining interest in china is seen as a global commentary on the desirability of ceramics in general - but, nothing could be further from the truth. As with any other category of art and antiques, sophisticated buyers remain enthusiastic about items that exhibit the magical combination of rarity, aesthetic, and condition. Add an interesting provenance into the mix, and prices can be astronomical. When the extensive pottery and porcelain collection of a late decorator was consigned with me at Garth's, our team spent days listing and numbering, packing and sorting rows of individual Curating a Lifestyle: Don't Knock It Until You've Tried It Written by Amelia Jeffers 48 slmag.net Clockwise from top left: is dainty agateware creamer dates to early 1800s England and boasts remarkably detailed paw feet with lions' heads. It commanded an impressive $3,100 at auction. Photo courtesy Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers. Despite a chip to the rim, this Limoge plate from Mary Todd Lincoln's White House dinner service sold for $3,900 at auction - more than her entire set cost in 1861. Photo courtesy Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers. Dating to the 18th century, this Famille Rose plate has a bright ruby back and is a fine example of Chinese porcelain. It sold for $3,000 at auction. Photo courtesy Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers.

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