Wednesday

What is Appraisal?

Recently, through this page, an inquiry arrived asking for an appraisal. For privacy reasons, I am unable to give the owner’s name of the silhouettes or the museum that was contemplating purchasing it for their collection. I was first contacted by the museum asking if I could recommend a competent, antique-silhouette appraiser. It seems that after some search on the web, the museum was unable to find any.  The reason? There is not a single dealer/collector who is able to appraise American silhouettes.

I figured that an appraisal or an offering of my opinion was possible through email since I do this quite often, and there is no charge for it. This is my hobby, and it is one way of showing my appreciation for finding and reading what I have to write about silhouettes. Once in a blue moon, I sell a book or a silhouette through this page. The profit, if one can call that, is meager. Since I am a full time student, I am not endowed with extra blessing of $. Yet, once a week I enjoy eating a Chinese take-out plate lunch, orange chicken. It is $5.67 with tax and comes with fried rice and a choice of soup or an egg-roll. The Chinese girl at the counter says, “You always have exact change.” Last week I did not. I gave her $5.77 expecting a dime in change. For her, it was probably business as usual, thinking that I handed her the exact amount. I did not get my dime back. That day, I over-expensed myself. I begin to think. Perhaps next week, I will give her $5.57. Will she tell me then that I am 10 cents short?


Fried food is tricky. If I were to eat it at the restaurant, it is crispy and tastes tremendously good. However, I have to leave a tip in which I cannot afford on many occasions. So, it is take-out. I quickly rush to my car, open the container top, exposing the fried chicken, filling the car with that sweet-hot-sour odor, so that it will not get moist from the steam it creates. From the restaurant to my place is about 7 minutes drive. For the sake of savoring its crispiness, I drive fast. If all goes well, when I enter the house, it is still crispy, not cold or warm but still very hot. I have my Tabasco sauce and a large fork pre-readied. My cat says, “Welcome home; where is my food?” I love my cat, but the next 5 minutes is all mine. She understands.

This goes to show you that silhouettes and orange chicken have a lot in common. What they are, you need to figure out. It is like Paul McCartney crossing the Abbey Road.

Getting back to the subject….They were unframed silhouettes by one of the more common artists. The owner and the museum were unaware of their values. I stated only the facts about the silhouettes. The outcome of this deal between the owner and the museum? I guess one can get some sense of its outcome by reading Robert Frost’s “Design.”

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