Friday, September 28, 2012

Staff Member, Lynda Collingsworth
Antiques and Collectibles at Pick of the Litter

Here is # 4 in a series of articles that provide a look inside the various departments at “Pick of the Litter Thrift and Gift.”  In it, I hope to give you a good idea of the merchandise handled by the department and some examples of treasures recently processed and put up for sale.

This time, we are featuring Lynda.  Lynda has the fun job of identifying and pricing the antiques and collectibles that are donated to “Pick of the Litter.”  Lynda has been with us for six years.  She prices antiques and collectibles as well as general merchandise.

Lynda has a great deal of experience in the area of antiques and collectibles.  For twenty years she had a space at School Bell Antiques.  Her primary interest and focus was  ‘collectibles.’  Specifically, she handled California pottery, bears, jewelry, and mid-century antiques.  For a similar period Lynda also worked with a girlfriend, Jane Parker, doing estate sales. 

To avoid any conflict of interest, Lynda gave up her space at School Bell Antiques.  Also, with her full time schedule at POTL, she did not have time to continue working on the estate sales.  She no longer buys and sells antiques. 

But all of that experience certainly comes in handy as she evaluates and prices the vintage and specialty items that are donated.  She regularly works with sterling silver pieces, depression glassware and cut crystal.  She can recognize Art Deco, Art Nouveau, as well as Mission and Mid-Century pieces.  She also has an eye for signatures and markings.  A subtle ‘Tiffany,’ ‘Bauer,’ ‘Waterford,’ ‘Steiff’ or ‘Fiesta’ on an item and Lynda goes into research mode. Similarly, if it is an item with a signature, such as:  ‘Russel Wright,’ ‘Clarice Cliff,’ ‘Gustav Stickley,’ or ‘Dirk Van Erp,’ she will consult eBay for similar items to establish a current value. 

Speaking of signatures, last year Lynda got very excited when she realized that we had a real Dirk Van Erp vase.  When she recognized the mark, all she could say was; “OMG! OMG! OMG!”  She also recently identified and put up for sale a beautiful piece of art glass by John Bingham. 

One of Lynda’s favorite stories is of the ugly cigarette box.  Her colleagues found it in a donation and nearly thought it unworthy of being put up for sale.  Never the less, it looked like it could be silver, so they had her take a look.  Lynda's research determined the piece was by John Otar, a Russian immigrant, who worked in Santa Cruz from about 1920 – 1939.  He made various metal products, but is best known for his Art Deco metal boxes.  In 2008, a San Francisco gallery sold an identical one for $1,000.

Not all of the items Lynda processes fall into the ‘Fine Arts’ category.  Not long ago she had fun researching and pricing a complete set of vintage original Beatles bobble head dolls.  So regardless of what you collect, it is always worth your time to check out the antique and collectible treasures at “Pick of the Litter Thrift and Gift.”

Meow for now,

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