Not a week goes by that Houston Museum of Decorative Arts doesn't get phone calls from baby boomers who are downsizing or boomers' children, Generation X, who are handling the estates of their aging parents. They are usually confused or stressed out over what's worth keeping, what isn't and asking for advice from the museum director. They want to know is their piece valuable or just sentimentally priceless?
"Because we aren't appraisers, we don't offer that advice," says Amy Autenreith, executive director of Houston Museum.
"Baby boomers are downsizing and struggling to figure out where their treasures are going to go and how they are going to dispense with them. A lot of times, the museum is the first call they make trying to figure out what to do. We don't recommend particular appraisers, but I do try to help where possible.
If you go
› What: 46th Houston Museum Antique Show & Sale
› Where: Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St.
› When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 28-29; noon-4 p.m. Sunday, March 1
› Admission: $10, good all three days
› For more information: https://www.thehoustonmuseum.org
"Everybody has histories with pieces they have in their homes, memories that are attached. That adds to the struggle of how you get rid of something that meant so much to a loved one," the director adds.
So the Houston Museum Antiques Show & Sale is somewhat revamping its format for this weekend's 46th annual event in Stratton Hall, which opens Friday, Feb. 28, and closes Sunday, March 1.
In addition to having 33 exhibitors — the most the show has had in the last seven years — a new appraisal fair is being added on Saturday instead of presenting a featured speaker. Not only will this appraisal fair meet the obvious need that Autenreith has witnessed, but will also fulfill requests for appraisals from show patrons.
Autenreith believes this year's increase in vendors is a reflection of "the upturn and interest in antiques, as well as the popularity of PBS' 'Antiques Roadshow.'"
As an example, she points to the recent "Roadshow" episode in which an aging boomer brought in the Paul Newman-style Rolex Daytona watch he bought for $345 in 1974. The veteran literally collapsed on the floor when the watch was appraised between $500,000 and $700,000.
"People see that and think 'Maybe I've got one of those things in my house, something so special it will knock everyone's socks off,'" says Autenreith.
Marilyn Hoke is chairing this year's Antique Show & Sale. She and her committee have lined up a varied selection of jewelry, furniture, rugs, African art, art pottery, china and glass from some of the country's top antiques dealers and glass specialists.
› When: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29
› Fee: $25 per object, guests may bring up to three items for appraisal
Visitors must make an appointment in advance for an appraisal. Appraisals will be scheduled in 10-minute time slots either morning or afternoon. Register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Objects that may be appraised: furniture (bring photos if piece is too large to bring to show), glass, porcelain, silver, art, Asian items, Oriental rugs, documents, jewelry, books, toys and other general-line antiques.
Objects that will not be appraised: Native American items, firearms, pre-Columbian artifacts, fossils.
To protect antiques and avoid potential liability for the museum, show volunteers will not be permitted to carry any objects for appraisal. Visitors are responsible for carrying their own items.
› James Allen of Chattanooga: Oriental rug collector and expert who has written articles for all major Oriental rug magazines. He was the first person to scientifically date a Turkoman weaving to the 17th century using C-14 analysis.
› David Case of Kingsport: Owner of Case Antiques Inc., appraiser, licensed auctioneer and consignment consultant.
› Rick Crane of Knoxville: A glass specialist and leader in estate sales with over 30 years’ experience. He is a co-owner of an estate sale business, Estate Antiques, with partner Joe Rosson.
› Sarah Drury of Nashville: Vice president of Fine & Decorative Arts and Nashville office general manager, she has 20 years of professional experience in the field of art and antiques. She is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers specializing in fine art, antiques and residential contents.
› Joe Rosson of Knoxville: With 40 years of experience in appraisals, Rosson is the author of nine books and had his own television show, “Treasures in Your Attic,” on PBS for many years. He is a co-owner of the estate sale business Estate Antiques, with his partner, Rick Crane.
In addition to the appraisal fair, there will also be two dealers at the show who can give restoration advice on metal items (plate, coin and brass) and on porcelain, pottery and crystal. But they will not make repairs on-site.
Those exhibitors are Rick and Rita Robben of Robben Metal Restoration, and Angela Boudreaux of Antique Restoration Studio.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.