Bonus Video: Newcomb College Vase, ca. 1905

Value (2014) | $25,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
We just did a live appraisal about this piece. But one thing I've talked about for years, doing my appraisals for Antiques Roadshow, is how much better certain pieces look if they're clean. And I felt that this was a perfect candidate.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's a glorious piece. And you said this got dirty how?

GUEST:
My mother was a chain smoker for all of my life and before.

APPRAISER:
And she smoked where?

GUEST:
In the kitchen, and this was in the dining room next to the kitchen.

APPRAISER:
So we have decades of cooking grease and nicotine and particulate matter floating, wafting from the kitchen to the dining room, settling on this vase. The bottom of the piece is fairly clean. The dust and the dirt and the grime tends to settle on the shoulder of the piece up here. And furthermore, because of the modeling or carving that Henrietta Bailey did to get this effect on the vase, she creates all these little nooks and crannys for the dirt to settle. You said that the color you liked the most was at the top?

GUEST:
Cobalt blue, yes that's my favorite.

APPRAISER:
We use that as a bellwether to see how successful we are. I'm never 100% right about these things, but I have a feeling this is gonna clean up pretty well. I'm gonna use the general purpose cleaner. You see right here what's happening?

GUEST:
Yes, look at the paper.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, look at the paper.

GUEST:
It's brown.

APPRAISER:
That's nicotine. By and large, nicotine.

GUEST:
Wow, the blue is really showing up. I thought it looked pretty clean for just sitting there for years. For me not cleaning it.

APPRAISER:
So now that shine that we saw, look at the cobalt blue on top of this thing.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
How much it's really come to life. How much brighter the yellow is in the flowers, even the grooves inside of the poppy pods are clear. So it'll clean up even more, this is a quick job. This thing soaked would look even better, but we have a pretty good indication of how dirty this piece was. Even the yellow rim has a glow to it. That was probably 50 years of accumulated grime

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And that's all that came off of it, so it wasn't that dirty, but it doesn't take much. So what I recommend is that you don't bother cleaning it a whole lot if you hang onto this, but every 5 years or so, I would ideally put it in a sink put towels at the bottom of the sink so if it slips out of your hands it won't break.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Clean it in the sink, buff it dry and then just really enjoy it.

GUEST:
Okay, thank you.

APPRAISER:
You got a smokin' piece of Newcomb right there, you really do. That's a sweet pot.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2014)
$25,000 Auction
Event
Charleston, WV (August 16, 2014)

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