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AT HOME: Appraiser weighs in on antiques' value — in some cases too late

Marni Jameson gets help from Gary Sullivan, one of Antiques Roadshow's featured appraisers, on assessing the value of her parents' antiques.
By Marni Jameson, For The Oklahoman Published: March 18, 2013

I collapse in bed on the verge of a coma after day one of my two-day estate sale. All that day and the next, when faced with selling my parents' antiques and finer furniture, I was caught in the crosshairs, stuck at the intersection of clearing the house in a few days so we could fix it up to sell, and honoring the value of my parents' treasured belongings.

In a panic, I'd emailed an antiques appraiser from PBS's Antiques Roadshow. (I had an in.) I sent photos of the antiques I was most unsure about for guidance on what they should sell for.

The morning after the sale, and another night of angst-filled furniture dreams, I hear from Gary Sullivan, one of Antiques Roadshow's featured appraisers who specializes in high-end antiques.

I didn't immediately tell Sullivan I no longer had some of the items he'd appraised. I waited until after his verdict:

A French side table is perhaps the piece I'm fondest of not only because it was once my nightstand, but also because I love its Frenchness. The piece has curved, carved legs, a marble top and a marble-lined cabinet. I had no idea if the piece was worth $100 or $1,100 today. I did know that if I lived within driving distance, and not 3,000 miles away, I'd take it home.

Sullivan said: The piece was made in the late 19th or early 20th century, in the Louis XV style. The item would sell at auction for about $200.

A retail store would sell it for $350 to $400.

Despite buyer interest, I did not sell this at the estate sale. But after talking to Sullivan, I called one interested dealer and offered it for $200 firm. He agreed, but the morning he was to come get it, he changed his mind.

I think he expected me to lower my price, but I didn't. I'm just not ready to let go.

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