Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chanel Costume Jewelry Necklace Sells for $6,200


Here we go again...

This costume Maison Gripoix for Chanel necklace recently sold online for $6,200 US. Worth more than it's weight in gold, literally.

Would you recognize this unsigned treasure? We would.

Let us help you discover what you've got.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sotheby's Revisits Canadian Art Offerings

Here is an interesting article in The Globe and Mail today. The way we sell art is changing & Canada's 20th century Abstractionists get a fresh start. 

 Read more;

The Globe and Mail: Sotheby’s Upper East Side pop-up aims to shake the world of Canadian art

EstateNet specializes in Canadian & International art. Call us today for a consultation.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kitchen Mug Sells Online For Over $2000

A recent online auction sale shows us that there still are surprises to be had in our kitchen cupboards. A Fire King Jadeite YOUTH mug that sold after 30 bids realizing an incredible $2025US.

Now before you jump up and tear through your kitchen, I should mention that this mug only holds 8ozs (thus its name: youth mug) and was never mass produced, as opposed to the regular sized mug which almost every 1950s diner had masses of. It also had its original sticker which always adds interest and often value to any offering.
Let us help you discover what you’ve got.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Urban archaeology: Paris apartment sealed for 70 years

This article pretty much encapsulates the antique aficionado's dream scenario. Paris apartment sealed for 70 years, full of forgotten treasures?  Oh yea....enjoy.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Before you refurbish antique furniture: READ THIS

I had a client email me today regarding their grandparent’s antique sofa and 2 chairs. They wanted them appraised and sold for the ‘appropriate’ money. They pointed out that they had been professionally reupholstered and that the ‘original springs and woodwork remain’. 

It is not the first time I have had this type of email, it’s not even the 10th or 20th. Sadly and understandably people get impressed with the look of a piece of antique seating be it a couch, fancy armchairs or a chaise lounge and they choose to make an investment in it. They all too often meet up with an unscrupulous restoration person who sells them on a big refurbishing job that’s going to cost many times more than the pieces are worth, perhaps mentioning that they will keep the ‘original springs and woodwork’.

I could hear the conversation in my head ‘Oh yes, $4,000 might sound like a lot of money but you’ve got a piece here that’s going to be worth $12,000 once I’m done with it.’

First off, keeping the original springs has absolutely no effect on value (in fact it sounds downright uncomfortable!), secondly, original woodwork? Isn’t that a given? You’re refinishing the piece, not building a new one. 

So the client gets sold a bill of goods and goes ahead with the job. Once they get it home they may enjoy it for a bit but soon realize that it doesn’t really suit their living arrangement or style anymore (see BLOG) and want to sell it. Now they’re in for a surprise and the reseller has to be the bearer of bad news.

Be careful what someone who has an interest in getting you to invest in something is telling you what it is worth, especially if it’s how they earn their living. This goes for reupholstering and refinishing of any piece of antique furniture. Make sure you’re doing it for you and not because it’s going to increase its value.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ottawa Auction's $1,000,000 Surprise

When a blue and white plate came in to Walker’s Auctions in Ottawa it seemed like any other nice antique Chinese plate, however it would soon become obvious that the initial estimate of $700-$900 was a little low, and boy were they right.

While experts are saying there has been a slight dip in the remarkably buoyant Chinese art and antique market, it was barely noticeable the night this plate hit the auction block, as the bidding ended at just over $1,000,000 million dollars.
Originating from a Belleville, Ontario estate it had been willed to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art who in turn sent it to auction to raise funds. And that it did.
The foreign buyer who had flown in to specifically bid on the plate wished to remain anonymous.
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Valuable Household Items to Watch Out For

It’s a question I’m often asked - ‘What’s collectible’?  And it’s a good one in this seemingly soft marketplace where supply outweighs demand.  In working with clients and downsizing and estate professionals alike I’ve been asked numerous times to put together a list of stuff to watch for when you are sorting through a home and its lifetime of accumulation; so here it is. Most people know that fine jewelry and Group of Seven paintings are going to hold value, so this is really a list of unexpected items that you may overlook or wouldn't think of.


Old Toys

Often times in going through an estate I find a stash of children’s toys from the 1950s. Vestiges of the baby boomers being babies, it may be a collection of dinky toys, or Barbies or a stuffed Punkinhead. They sit in the closet - to precious for parents to throw out but not something their original owners want anymore. If still in good condition, these items have a collectible value.


Costume Jewelry

Yes everyone knows to grab the jewelry box because gold and diamonds have value, but I’m talking about costume jewelry like rhinestones and plastic stuff. Just because something isn’t made from ‘the real thing’ doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Don’t dismiss these pieces, there have been whole books written on the subject and fortunes made in buying and selling costume jewelry. A month ago a plastic pumpkin brooch sold on eBay for $8,400.



Still desirable are military items. The further away we get from WWI and WWII the rarer this stuff becomes, and the fascination and thus the demand grows. In this category the more the better, a single pin may only bring a few dollars but if it’s part of a larger collection of stuff that belonged to the soldier then it creates a story, and this is what collectors will pay a premium for.


Christmas & Halloween

This may or may not catch you off guard. Halloween actually supersedes Christmas in some ways as the most collectible holiday. It may be due to the fact that there is a lot more Christmas stuff than Halloween which is a relative minor holiday by comparison but both are certainly hot collecting fields. I’m talking old paper decorations to glass ornaments, postcards to figural pieces. The key here is the older the better.



Yes, photos. And I mean snapshots. Photography was invented in about 1820 so by 1900 virtually every household had a camera. Flash forward 5-6 generations and what we’ve got is tons of photos that we have no attachment to or memory of, this creates the supply, all these photos are now coming into the market. As for collectability, they are a cheap thing to start collecting and intensely personal and thus fascinating for a whole variety of reasons to the collector. For more info you can click here to visit a blog entry I wrote about photography.


Yes another surprise. They are something that virtually every house has and they often get thrown out or sent out for donation, but buttons can collectible. This is a bit of a needle in a haystack because it’s only one in a thousand that are worth good money but they’re worth more than a toss.


Dress Patterns

Sought after by collectors and designers and dressmakers alike, vintage women’s dress patterns are hot. Again these are things that are found in many homes and often end up in the trash but groupings regularly go for good money, while the odd desirable single patterns have been known to go in the high hundreds.



Namely sterling silver. Whether it's flatware or larger pieces, it’s really important to know if what you’re dealing with is sterling or silver plate. Most North American pieces should be stamped ‘Sterling’ or ‘925’ and European often ‘800’ so that’s helpful. It gets a little trickier with British sterling because of the hallmark system they use. Hallmarks are a series of little square marks, but be careful because silver plate companies got smart early on and started using similar markings. Go to for more information.