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Welcome to our August 2008 Newsletter!

If you missed any of our previous newsletters or are having trouble viewing this page correctly, you can find a link to it on our website at our newsletter archives.

Please feel free to visit our website FindersFayre.com where you will find an array of furniture, accessories, and information about our interior design services. Read on! and email any questions, comments, or suggestions to Newsletter@findersfayre.com. Thanks again!


Contact Information

Finder's Fayre

1485 Calder Avenue
Beaumont, TX 77701

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News from the world of art and antiques

An Appraiser with value

Dexter S. Augier

Dexter S. Augier, art, antiques, and personal property appraiser, of Finder’s Fayre Quality Antiques has recently received his certificate for completing the course, and passing the examination in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, 2008-2009 Edition.

These standards, known as USPAP, were set up by The Appraisal Foundation, which is “Authorized by Congress as the Source of Appraisal Standards and Appraisal Qualifications”.  These are the quality control standards for all appraisals, from real estate and heavy equipment, to art & antiques and personal property.  All appraisals submitted to the IRS must meet these standards.

Dexter’s areas of expertise are

  • Fine Art--19th Century Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture
  • Antique Furniture & Decorative Arts
  • Personal Property--Household Items
  • Rugs, Carpets, & Tapestries
  • Silver

His experience in the above areas comes from being actively engaged in the buying, selling, and appraising of these items in the national and international marketplace since 1974.  He was trained and mentored by James A. Steinmeyer, also of Finder’s Fayre, who has been a member of the Appraisers Association of America for over 35 years.

Mr. Augier provides appraisals for insurance purposes, estates, pre-move/relocations, damage/loss and equitable distributions for inheritance or divorce.

He has worked with individuals, financial advisors, bank and trust departments, attorneys, and insurance companies who need the professional assistance of an accredited, unbiased and ethical appraiser.

He may be reached at Finder’s Fayre Quality Antiques, 1485 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, TX, telephone 409-833-7000.

Pedestal Table

$ 2200.00

Palace of Versailles golden gate restored

By Henry Samuel
July 1 2008, Telegraph.co.uk

The golden gate to the Palace of Versailles has finally been replaced, more than 200 years after being torn down during the French Revolution.

After two years of work, a replica of the original 80m wrought iron and gold leaf gate now graces the entrance to Louix XVI's former power base.

A total of 100,000 gold leaves have been crafted into the shapes of fleur de lys, crowns, masks of Apollo, cornucopias and the crossed capital Ls representing the Sun King.

versailles gate

The royal gate, which stands at the entrance to the cour d'honneur, "provides an essential element of Versailles' historical identity", said Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the palace monument. "It returns to this area in front of the château all its symbolic force."

Private donors contributed £4 million to rebuild the 15-ton work, and a plethora of historians and top craftsmen – sculptors, gilders, wrought iron craftsmen and ornament makers – were drafted in to ensure an exact replica of the original built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in the 1680s.

The only surviving sculpted elements of the original palace enclosure are Peace by Tuby and Abundance by Coysevox.

"But it was very well documented, which allows us to create a faithful replica," said Frédéric Didier, architect in chief of France' historical monuments.

Experts studied 17th and 18th century archives and information from archaeological digs before deciding on the final model.

The gate is the centrepiece of a secure double enclosure separating the cour d'honneur from the royal courtyard – at the very heart of the palace.

"Versailles is the king's residence and the whole layout aimed to demonstrate that one was approaching his sacred person," said Mr Aillagon.

One of France's most visited tourist sites, the chateau de Versailles west of Paris has been undergoing renovation work since 2003 when the government launched a 17-year old "Grand Versailles" project to restore it to full former glory.

A new visitors' centre is also being built at Versailles to improve tourist access to the ornate palace and royal gardens with their renowned fountains.

The gate was inaugurated on July 8.



X-rays reveal Van Gogh portrait

By Stephen Adams, July 31, 2008.

Previous research had discovered an outline of the peasant's head behind the Dutch painter's later work, Patch of Grass.

But this latest technique, which has never been used before, has unveiled the pigments van Gogh used in the original painting.

hidden van gogh

Over two days the scientists bombarded the painting with a powerful pencil-thin beam of X-rays, which caused the atoms in the picture to release "fluorescent" X-rays of their own which the scientists measured.

As the different chemicals that van Gogh used to paint the image release differing amounts of fluorescence, they were able to map the picture in great detail.

Elements from specific paint pigments allowed the team - led by Dr Joris Dik, from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and Professor Koen Janssens from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, - to build up a "colour photo" of the picture.

They said the distribution of two chemicals, mercury and antimony, were particularly useful in reconstructing the image.

Vermillion, the red pigment important for pink flesh tones, contains the former while antimony is a component of Naples yellow, which van Gogh also used to paint the woman's face.

Writing in the journal Analytical Chemistry, they said: "We present the first-time use of synchrotron radiation based X-ray fluorescence mapping, applied to visualise a woman's head hidden under the work Patch of Grass by van Gogh.

"We recorded decimetre-scale X-ray fluorescence intensity maps, reflecting the distribution of specific elements in the paint layers. In doing so, we succeeded in visualising the hidden face with unprecedented detail."

Experts in van Gogh believe he often over-painted his work, doing so on about a third of his early works.

Art historians think van Gogh painted the peasant's image while staying in the Dutch village of Nuenen in 1884 or 1885.

He later moved to Paris, where the impoverished artist over-painted the study with a floral scene in 1887. The painting is now owned by the Kroller-Muller Museum in the Netherlands.

Contursi Bringing Specimen 1854 Kellogg $20 “Home” to Baltimore

By Steven L. Contursi, Rare Coin Wholesalers on June 29th, 2008, coinnews.net.

The finest known U.S. territorial gold coin, the 1854 Kellogg & Co. $20, graded PCGS SP-69, will return to Baltimore for a public exhibit for the first time since it was sold by The John Hopkins University as part of the legendary Garrett Collection more than a quarter century ago.

1854 Kellogg $20

He is bringing it to Baltimore for an educational exhibit during the first four days of the American Numismatic Association in the Baltimore Convention Center, July 30 – August 3, 2008.

The Honorable John Work Garrett (1872 – 1942), an American diplomat and ambassador, was the grandson of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad executive and one-time president, John Work Garrett (1820 – 1884), and the eldest son of T. Harrison Garrett (1849 – 1888), who began collecting coins as a student at Princeton.  The coin collection grew extensively under T. Harrison’s sons, John and Robert (1875 – 1961). 

"Ambassador Garrett acquired this famous gold piece from the collection of Col. James W. Ellsworth in 1923, and it was included in the family’s fabled coin collection kept at Evergreen House mansion that was given to The Johns Hopkins University upon his death in 1942," explained Contursi. 

Sold by the school for $230,000 in a 1980 Bowers and Ruddy auction, it subsequently changed hands several times since then.  Contursi has owned it twice; from 2002 to 2005, and since 2006.  Now insured for $3 million, he has underwritten educational displays of the Gold Rush-era coin in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Long Beach and Atlanta.

"It was made by a well-known San Francisco assayer, John Glover Kellogg, from gold found in the area at the time. 

Kellogg was a native of Onondaga County, New York and a former employee of the San Francisco U.S. Assay Office who set up his own assay company during the booming days of the California Gold Rush. 

He specially made this coin on February 9, 1854 and gave it to his friend and future business partner, New York City watchmaker, Augustus Humbert, the former U.S. Assayer in San Francisco," explained Contursi.

Kellogg’s name prominently appears on the front of the coin on the headdress worn by the symbolic "Miss Liberty."  The tail’s side carries the wording, "SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA TWENTY D."

"It’s the finest known U.S. territorial gold coin and the only known Kellogg $20 designated as a specimen strike. 

It’s in pristine condition, meticulously struck and then carefully preserved by Garrett and other collectors for 154 years," said David Hall, Founder of Professional Coin Grading Service and President of its parent company, Collectors Universe, Inc.

The historic gold coin will be displayed by Contursi in a specially-constructed, five-foot tall wooden exhibit case that symbolically resembles the mid-19th century cabinets that housed the United States Mint’s coin collection.



The Care and Feeding of Antiques


Dexter S. Augier by Dexter S. Augier

After our last article on insurance, http://findersfayre.com/newsletter/april2008.htm it seems appropriate that we should offer some basic information about appraisals. 

First, let’s take a look at what an appraisal is.   This part is easy….an appraisal is in essence an opinion of value.  See, I told you it was easy!
(A more complete note on values follows below)

Next, do we really need an appraisal?  The main reasons for getting an appraisal report are

  1. In order to list the item or items on your insurance policy.  Most Homeowner Insurance policies have a provision for itemizing high priced items, and items you want specifically covered.
  2. Settling an estate
  3. Assessing insurance loss
  4. For the equitable disbursing of items, and
  5. To know the value in order to sell an item.

Often people want to know the value of an item just to satisfy their own curiosity, but unless the item is quite valuable, paying for an appraisal is usually not reasonable.  An appraiser can usually help you make that decision without charging you.

A reputable appraiser generally charges a fixed hourly fee for the time spent documenting, examining, measuring, and photographing the items, and the time spent in research.  If the appraisal location is out of town, there will usually be an additional charge for travel time.

          Beginning in 2008, all appraisers were advised that every appraisal should meet the standards set forth by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (abbreviated USPAP), as set forth by the Appraisal Standards Board.  It seems that in the past, some “appraisers” have given ‘appraisals to order’, providing values that the owners expected or desired.  At this stage, these Standards are officially just guidelines, but the IRS will only accept appraisals written to these standards, and the push is on for insurance companies and courts to follow suit.  Bottom line:  if you’re going to pay for an appraisal, you should get one that meets these standards.


Its simple really, all an appraiser has to do is correctly identify the object, and put a value on it.
Of course, like most things in life, in reality, it’s a bit more complex.  Each appraiser has certain areas of expertise.  They are qualified in these areas by their experience and education.  For example, an appraiser of 19th century paintings would usually not be able to appraise bulldozers!  Appraisers use their specialized knowledge to correctly identify the object being appraised.

Once identified, the appraiser must form an opinion of its value.  Valuations are made by analyzing current market trends, auction results of similar items, public and private sales, galleries and retail shops, price guides and other reference materials.   These factors are considered for the local marketplace, and often for the national and international marketplaces as well, depending on the circumstances. 
This is where the definition of Value becomes important.

For instance, Cost, which is the amount required to create, produce, or obtain an object, is different from Price, which is the amount asked, offered, or paid for an object.  Both are different from Value, which is a monetary relationship between objects and those who buy, sell, or use those objects.
Clear as mud, right?  Well, it gets worse before it gets better.  There are at least EIGHT different and distinct types of value, all relevant to an appraisal:

  1. Retail Replacement Value
  2. Auction Replacement Value
  3. Retail Value
  4. Fair Market Value
  5. Marketable Cash Value
  6. Orderly Liquidation Value
  7. Forced Liquidation Value
  8. Salvage Value

The Retail Replacement Value is the most common, and is the one most insurance companies require.  It is defined as:
the highest amount in terms of US dollars that would be required to replace a property with another of similar age, quality, origin, appearance, provenance, and condition within a reasonable length of time in an appropriate and relevant market.  When applicable, sales and/or import tax, commissions, and/or premiums are included in this amount (NYU Appraisal Studies Program definition).

However, if the appraisal is for the purpose of selling the item, then the Fair Market Value would usually be the definition used.  This is defined by IRS Section 1.170 and 20.2031 (b) as:
“the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having a reasonable knowledge of relevant facts”. 

So, when an appraisal is required, the first thing to determine is the purpose of the appraisal, as this will determine which definition of value the appraiser will use. 

Appraisals, as you can see, can be indispensable.  I hope that this article has given you a better understanding of what they are and how they work.


“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves,
or we know where we can find information on it.”
Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson
English author, critic, & lexicographer (1709 - 1784)



Did you know...?

by Jody Logan

Cloisonné and Champlevé: Two opposites that attract attention.

Although they both use enamel, which is basically a layer of glass powder which is fired in order to attach it to a metal, and are both used to create spectacular works of art, cloisonné and champlevé, while looking similar, are actually quite different.cloisonne example 1

Cloisonné (pronounced Cloy-son-nay), the older of the two, dating from the 8th century in China, uses wires or flat metal ribbons soldered to a metal form to create cells or, in French, "cloisons".  The thin strips of metal are bent and curved to follow the outline of a decorative pattern; they are then attached to the surface of the metal object, forming miniature walls that meet and create little cells between them. Into these cells, the powdered enamel is laid and fused by heat.  After several layers and firings the enamel is then polished to a brilliant shine.

champleve example 1Champlevé (pronounced “Sham-pluh-vay”) is an old and frequently applied technique, and it dates from the 11th and 12th century. Instead of building up on the surface of the metal object, the actual surface of the metal is cut away, or scooped out, creating channels separated by thin ridges of metal then form the outline of the design.  Carving out the recesses is difficult and time-consuming, and it takes great expertise to obtain a thin separating wall.  The channels are filled with powdered enamel and fired. The champlevé technique requires a thick metal base and is used more often on copper and other base metals.  For this reason, the separating walls are always more crude than those of cloisonné.


cloisonne example 2champleve example 2As you can see these two processes may look similar at first, but upon close inspection are actually quite different.  They do attract a lot of attention and are just two types of the many ways enamels are brought to us. I hope this now makes it possible for you to tell the difference in these two examples!


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