Shoals fans of shows such as PBS’ “Antique Roadshow” will have an opportunity to learn if they may have hidden treasure in the attic.
The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts will be hosting fine art appraiser Diane Mizell and antiques and estate appraiser Sunny Wagner on Saturday, Jan. 26.
People who wish to participate will be allowed to bring in two pieces for a verbal approximation of value for a $10 fee.
“We feel that (providing services) is part of our mission through the city of Florence, and this opportunity came along,” said Barbara Broach, director of the arts center and museums in Florence.
Mizell and Wagner will be available for home visits on Monday, Jan. 28. If you would like to make an appointment with Mizell, she can be reached at 423-886-4518 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wagner can be reached at 423-886-2544 or email@example.com.
“These smaller ones are harder to do because you don’t have the army of researchers behind you,” Wagner said. “But it’s fun to get out and see different people. That is why we call this not a formal appraisal. It’s more like an estimation of value.”
Wagner said they’ll have computers that can access auction house records across the country that help them determine the value of a specific piece.
Mizell, who works in the Chatanooga, Tenn., area, specializes in fine arts appraisals, including paintings, watercolors, sculpture and other fine arts.
Wagner also works in the Chatanooga area, but she specializes in estate appraisals and antiques. Both women are accredited members of International Society of Appraisers and current in the Uniform Standards for Professional Appraisal Practice. The USPAP is required for IRS-related appraisals.
Broach said this event should appeal to people who enjoy “Antique Roadshow.”
If successful, there may be similar events in the future.
“They have the credentials to be able to do this,” Broach said. “We are always trying to do things, have programs and events that give us a variety of things.”
For higher-end art, the market still is good in the U.S., Mizell said, with lower-end pieces — even by well-known artists — are hard to sell. As with the stock market, the art market fluctuates.
“I have to keep up with that, because that helps in making evaluations in certain pieces,” Mizell said.
“Whenever you are appraising anything that is considered art, everything has a value. It can be a reproduction print, but it still has some value.”
Mizell said she doesn’t usually appraise reproductions unless it’s a large collection because they don’t warrant the fee to have it done.
Factors for appraising art include making sure the painting is by the artist who the owner thinks it is by. Condition also is as important as the age of the item, Mizell said.
Provenance, the history of ownership of the item, can have an effect on the value of a piece.
“If it was owned by someone of historical significance, that might increase the value,” Mizell said. “If it was owned by family members and then sold to somebody else, that can affect the value sometimes.”
Provenance also is important in antiques, Wagner said.
“Anything of historical value, if there is any good provenance, those type items are what are selling at the top of the market,” Wagner said. “It’s got to have that edge, you know George Washington drank out of this tea cup.
And it has to be documented.”
Because of the popularity of shows such as AMC’s “Mad Men,” mid-century modern antiques from the ’50s and ’60s are among the most popular and “in” things now.
“That’s what I grew up with, and I just think, ‘eww, yuk,’ but it’s gotten very desireable,” Wagner said. “ ‘Mad Men’ is a huge influence. I’m hoping ‘Downton Abby’ will start to have a bigger influence.”
Wagner said surprises aren’t uncommon when they do events such as this.
Sometimes, Mizell said, they have to give bad news to people. Sometimes heirloom paintings turn out to be by a different artist or to not have much value.
But, Mizell added, “sometimes you go in and you know you’re going to find something wonderful because of who the family is and what kind of collectors they are. Some families have no idea what it is they have and you get to give them very good news.”
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.
Update: To attend the appraisal event at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, please call ahead to make an appointment at 256-760-6379.