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Queens Historical puts on ‘Roadshow’ of its own

Two local experts, Joan Kindler and Alexander Katlan, offered verbal opinions on the...

By J. Davis

Queens had its own version of PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” last weekend when the Queens Historical Society offered Appraisal Day at the Kingsland Homestead in Flushing.

Two local experts, Joan Kindler and Alexander Katlan, offered verbal opinions on the items presented for evaluation after first determining whether the item bearer wanted an appraisal for “estate, market or insurance” purposes.

These values differ in increasing stages. It should also be understood that the evaluations are never an offer purchase since it is unethical for an evaluator to purchase the item. Actually, the event was a Queens Historical Society fund-raiser, offering appraisals for a very reasonable price of $5 for the first item and $2 for each additional item.

By the starting time of 1 p.m. when Executive Director Mitchell Grubler opened the doors, there was a long line of people carrying their treasures.

Kindler and Katlan made knowledgeable comments as they examined the proffered items. Some framed prints of Currier & Ives fell within Katlan’s expertise as an art restorer. In his opinion, they were “restrikes” but nicely framed with a worth of $45- $55 for the set.

Another item in Kindler’s field of expertise was a collection of watches that received a nice evaluation because of their potential interest to watch collectors for their age, condition and the current value of gold.

Two Asian gentlemen brought in an Oriental vase and bowls. Although both appraisers said Oriental art was not their province, they did feel the items were not old and probably were reproductions. They then suggested the owners check with specialist at Sotheby’s where they could get a free appraisal.

A veteran of World War II brought in a “lacquer on metal” item and a set of attractively painted Oriental deities he had purchased in Japan. Although they were considered to be “tourist trade” items, the long-handled lacquer box was unique and might bring a nice price from a private collector, he was told. Placing a picture and description on e-Bay was suggested.

An attractive, decorative oil painting of a seated hunting dog in a gilt frame was thought to be English although the name of the artist seemed to be German. Although it needed some restoration, it was still valued somewhere in the $500 range. Regardless of the potentially higher value after restoration, the owner was not interested since she only wanted an approximate value to use when distributing possessions to her children.

Most of the items examined by the experts had more sentimental than intrinsic value. Some owners were pleased; others were disappointed to learn that their items were a reproduction made to look antique.

For those of you who missed the event, keep your eye on this newspaper for the next chance to have your treasures appraised.

The Queens Historical Society has other interesting offerings in the works, including the “Historic Flushing Cemetery Walking Tour” April 25 between 2 and 4 p.m. For additional information, call 718-939-0547, Ext. 17.

The current exhibit at the Kingsland Homestead at Weeping Beech Park (off Parsons Ave) is “35 Treasures of Local History in Celebration of 35 Years of Collecting.” Included are a huge ceramic foot bath and an unused ticket for the General Slocum which sank carrying many locals on the excursion to their death. These and other items represent life in Queens over the past four centuries. Open through Sept. 5, the exhibit may be viewed Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m.

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