Monday, December 3, 2007
Daryle Lambert - "Where Have You Been All My Life?"
Post for Tuesday, December 4, 2007
From: Guest Blogger, Cindy
Daryle and I are headed out to Evansville, Indiana about 4:00 this morning, so I'm posting this in advance while Daryle gets his beauty rest. He'll need it for the long ride ahead.
Why are we going? We recently purchased a Harvey Joiner painting from an Auction House, and after having it cleaned, Sohn Auction in Evansville, Indiana seemed to be the venue best suited for this painting. It goes up for auction January 2nd. While we're there, we'll also be meeting 31 Club Member, Cecil, to see what he's up to.
In the meantime, I'd like to share this testament from one our most recent Club Members. It's long, but well worth the read.
Where have you been all my life?
That’s what I asked myself after our initial meeting at my home a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been waiting for someone to come alongside me and steer me in the right direction for a long long time. You are amazing, Daryle, and I can’t begin to thank you for everything you’re doing for me but thought maybe a little chronicle of the last weeks might be of use to you. Please feel free to share it as you like.
A Life Changing Encounter
I’ve lived in the same house for years. I lived there with my parents. My grandmother built the house and I visited as a little girl. It’s home. I love my home but I don’t love what has happened to it.
My grandmother died over 50 years ago. She had “stuff”. Maybe even some quality stuff. Little pockets of “stuff”. I couldn’t get rid of her stuff and from time to time I have even enjoyed “rediscovering” this stuff stashed away.
My parents died. More stuff. Stuff from the other side of the family. Stuff they had accumulated. Stuff I had as a child. I moved into the house. Yes, more stuff came. The problem began to appear. Too much stuff. Good stuff became mixed with not so good stuff. Stacks of National Geographics took over shelves that could have displayed one of a kind ivory carvings. About 25 paintings and antique maps had to be stored in the attic because there was no room to display them downstairs. I had little boxes of “treasures” everywhere---pins and ribbons from various war veterans, foreign coins collected by someone in the family, button collections from every sewer in the last hundred and fifty years, letters, postcards, jewelry. Here and there were pieces of antique furniture not in use because there was no place to use them. I had to rent a storage facility to store some of my excess stuff.
I became overwhelmed. I knew I had a big problem but I didn’t/couldn’t act on it. I didn’t know where to start but I also knew that here and there I could have some real treasures. You see, through the years I had tried to find out about some of my antiques. Some of the pieces my mother had told me were quite valuable. Some of the pieces that were now hidden amidst the stuff. There was a Tiffany style lamp given to my mother by an elderly woman about 40 years ago. I couldn’t find a mark on it but I suspected it could be really something. There were the ivory carvings currently mixed in with the common Hummels. My mother had bought them at Gump’s in San Francisco years ago and had always been quite proud of them. I didn’t know anything about ivory and I didn’t know quite what to do with them. Then there was her punchbowl---a stunning amberina bowl with a lid and ladle. I’d looked at amberina at antique fairs and antique stores and felt I’d seen enough of it to know that my punchbowl was very special. There was a bronze, paintings, antique jewelry, a gorgeous art bowl... I didn’t know who I could even ask about these special things.
Enter Daryle. We made an appointment and he came over to my house. He was there 6 hours! We walked around, me with a notepad, he with his eagle eyes. He turned things upside down and told me “write this down” as he made out various marks. He went up in the attic with me and crawled around stacks of stuff looking carefully at everything that caught his eye. We looked at every painting and print and again, he’d say “Write this down” when something had value or potential value.
Throughout the afternoon I was like a sponge absorbing everything he told me. I began to notice something about Daryle. He could easily spot many treasures and tell me about their value. What was more interesting was watching him when he stopped and decided to look something over in great detail. The ivory figurines, for example. He showed me how to determine if a piece was ivory. He looked at every detail of the carvings and exclaimed how marvelous they were. I began to understand and appreciate them myself. I had some little ivory figurines besides the bigger ones. He showed me why the little ones didn’t come close to the quality of the others. I understood what he said.
He loved the lamp shade. I took it off the lamp and put it on the table so he could see it better. He pointed out the unique shapes of each piece of stained glass. He pointed out the ripple edge. Clearly he valued this lamp and I began to understand why he did.
He picked up the bronze, commenting that I should never clean it. “Never clean old metals with the exception of silver.” He looked and found a name on the bronze. “Write that down” . I did.
He stopped and admired an oil painting hanging in my front hall. I’d always liked it but it had a small hole in it. He said, “Don’t worry about that! It can be repaired.”
And then we came to the jewelry I’d stored in a safety deposit box. Pieces of antique jewelry my mother had collected 50 years ago. These were quality pieces with their original written purchase descriptions. Daryle sat down with me and looked at each one with such appreciation. He said that in all his years he’d never seen anything anywhere near like this collection.
It was dark outside and time to quit but Daryle talked for awhile. He gave me some advice and offered to help me. His advice? Start with the quality. Take time. Investigate what you have and then sell whatever you don’t want to keep for yourself. Focus on the quality. You don’t need the quantity if you have the quality.
We said goodbye and I promised to type up the list of notes and email it to him. I pondered over his thoughts and suggestions. I still had concerns about the amount of stuff but I found myself wanting to learn more about the quality pieces I had.
Over the next week I began to do some online research. I learned a little more about some of my real treasures. My art bowl is a Leerdam Unica made by A.D. Copier, a designer who worked from 1914 to 1971 in Holland. The Unica series is comprised of one of a kind (unique) pieces. I found a guide to the markings that told me my bowl was made in 1931. I found a link to a glass museum in Holland with a photo of a bowl made by A.D. Copier that looked very much like my bowl. I emailed a friend in Holland who will try to find out more for me.
I also investigated the piece of jewelry that had had Daryle tell me that it was worthy of a Christie’s auction. A miniature portrait on ivory by artist Henry Bone set in a stunning 2 piece antique British gold set with diamonds. I looked up Henry Bone and discovered he was a noted British enamel painter whose miniatures are in some of the best collections of art and treasures in the world. Wow. Now I really understood more about Daryle’s emphasis on quality. If indeed I had a quality piece that would appeal to collectors world wide, wouldn’t the time to sell it be when the dollar was low and people around the world could get a bargain?
Daryle and I talked and emailed a lot over the next weeks. He too was looking into the best pieces I had shown him. He gave me some information on some of the marks he’d seen on some of the pieces. He gave me the name of an art restorer he used in Chicago. He sent my photos of the punchbowl to an expert in amberina he knew in West Virginia. One afternoon I was at his home and he excitedly said he had something to show me about my lamp. Then grinning he said “Would you take $10,000 for your lamp?” I recognized those words from his book and I knew what to say. “NO”. He smiled and showed me a picture from an antique digest of a lamp shade very similar to mine that had just brought $32,000 at auction! He told me to go home and get a number of photos of my lamp and send them to this same auction house and ask their opinion of it.
Daryle then picked up the phone and called Christie’s in New York. He asked for the jewelry department and was given a name of a lady who was not only in that department but who was coming to Chicago this winter. He told me I should email her, send her pictures and ask for an appointment.
We talked about the “stuff” in my house and how overwhelmed I felt. He said “Don’t be.” I’ll come over and we’ll get boxes. We can take boxes to direct auctions and I can take some of the good items to house sales where I offer my help. We can go through your entire attic in no time.” Daryle even offered his advice for a long term plan/goal for me after I had whined about needing a plan for the fiftieth time.
So, what has happened in the last weeks?
I’ve identified the major items of value in my home and I’ve learned a lot about them and why they’re valuable
I’ve been in contact with auction houses
I’ve taken steps to enjoy some of what I own even more by taking two oil paintings to the restorer
I’m developing a new appreciation for unique, quality items
I’m able to see myself “letting go” of items that are taking up space
I’m living out Daryle’s words: “The control of how you spend your money and the knowledge you acquire will be the determining factors in your success.” What a journey it is!
Daryle is truly an amazing man. Not only is he quite knowledgeable, he is also trustworthy and a man of honor. He doesn’t pretend to know everything. He is learning all the time, teaching whenever he opens his mouth, and encouraging others all the while. He is a godly man and a humble man who lives out what he says. I am proud to call him a friend.
----A New and Very Active Member of the 31 Club"
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