To Have And To Hold

 

To kick-off the Every Object Tells a Story© Antique Trader Magazine challenge, is the story of a long forgotten old steamer trunk, purchased during an estate sale, which had been gathering dust for years in a remote corner of a basement.

 

The trunk, a vintage Vuitton, with the signature Louis Vuitton monogram dotting the canvas, dated from the great era of ocean liners. The outside labels, from the White Star Line, told an intriguing tale of where the trunk had been in its life. But what kind of long forgotten treasure might it reveal on the inside?

 

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Upon coaxing open the rust encrusted lock, a sumptuous gown of satin, chiffon, and European lace, began to unfurl. This cherished possession was worn once and then tucked away and for posterity.

 

Perhaps no other garment better symbolizes one of life’s most special moments than a wedding gown. Weddings mark the occasion of joining two individuals in a ceremony of celebration, and incorporate a wealth of traditions which are handed down from one generation to the next.

 

As with the trunk in which it was discovered, this exquisite wedding gown held yet another secret all of its own. Carefully sewn into the satin hem of the dress was a hand written note from a mother to a daughter that read, “Farewell to the bride! May your path through life be strewn with thornless roses…”Could this gown be restored and worn by a future bride who would embrace the personal significance of this special costume?

 

Bridal gowns are among the most popular heirlooms that are passed down from generation to generation. So, what other heirlooms do we value most? We collect what we value, pass on what we prize, and keep what gives us comfort. Be sure to return to visit my Antique Trader Magazine blog to find out about more about some of the other most common heirlooms, and why we treasure them.  

I see objects spark passion in people every day. What stories do your objects tell?   Do you have a major treasure on your hands? A historical relic? An antique car? A gown worn by a top celebrity? A baseball thrown by a hall of famer? A sketch by a famous artist? Or maybe just an old, obscure item that feels like it could be really valuable? Television land beckons! Send me your best object story together with a digital image. Tell me about your wondrous, unusual, forgotten and famous treasures at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 


 

 

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Every Object Tells a Story© – Enter Caroline Ashleigh’s Blog Challenge

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Caroline Ashleigh Appraisers & Auctioneers is looking for people who have an item or antique with a great story that they would like me to share in my Antique Trader Magazine blog.

 

I see objects spark passion in people every day. What stories do your objects tell?   Do you have a major treasure on your hands? A historical relic? An antique car? A gown worn by a top celebrity? A baseball thrown by a hall of famer? A sketch by a famous artist? Or maybe just an old, obscure item that feels like it could be really valuable? Television land beckons! Send me your best object story together with a digital image. Tell me about your wondrous, unusual, forgotten and famous treasures at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 


 

carolineJoin us on facebook and twitter-logo
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:
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All Dressed Up and Some Place Fabulous To Go!

Rotary_Antiques_Show

 

It's show time on Saturday, November 6, 2010, when I will be appraising at the Rotary Vintage Antiques & Collectibles Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Come visit and bring me your treasures between noon and four. 

Watch my live television interviews on Friday, November 5, 2010 on WZZM 13 ABC "Take Five" where I will be doing on-air appraisals at 9:00 a.m., and also on October 29, 2010 on Wood TV - Chanel 8 - "8 West" at 11:00 a.m where I will be talking about my new book.

 

Sponsored By: Rotary East Charities
Donating to West Michigan
Non-profits since 1973

DeltaPlex
Delta Plex Arena & Conference Center
2500 Turner Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49544

 

 

 


 

carolineJoin us on facebook and twitter-logo  

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The Numbers Are In And ArtPrize Wins

The numbers are in, and they prove what everybody already knows -- a lot of people liked ArtPrize 2010

ArtPrize is a 19 day international urban art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is unusual both for the large size of the top prize ($250,000, combined with other prizes cummulatively amounting to half a million dollars), as well as for the method of judging entries. There is no juror. The works are voted on by the public using modern networking technology.

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Top Ten Winner: Beili Liu is a Chinese-American artist who makes use of thousands of hand spiraled coils on suspended red thread

 

 

 


 

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Custer's Last Flag at Little Bighorn - Will it fetch $5M?

 

 flag134 years ago, General George Armstrong Custer, the 'pride' of Michigan, led the 7th Cavalry into battle against the Lakota Sioux and the Northern Cheyanne near the Little Bighorn River in Montana. It was not Custer's finest hour. All 210 men under his immediate command died in the massacre. So did Custer. As the battle detail surveyed the carnage a few days later, a swallow-tailed American flag, known as a guidon, was found hidden beneath a dead soldier. That flag was later sold to the Detroit Museum of Art on 1895 for $54. Now, 115 years later, the Detroit Institute of Arts has decided to sell Custer's Last Flag at auction this fall at Sotheby's in New York for an estimated price of 2 to 5 million dollars. Because there are no direct comparables to the Custer flag in the auction record, estimating a price certainly involves a bit of hocus-pocus and intuition. In the end, the allure still comes back to Custer, an enormously complex figure, ambitious, flamboyant, eccentric. His legacy, the subject of many books, has seesawed from gallant warrior to military fool to racist symbol of anti-Indian hatred. Custer, however, wasn't just an Indian fighter, he was one of the first self-made American celebrities. An icon of the west, he did not survive - but his flag did. The question now is - how will the flag survive the gavel in December?

The Culbertson Guidon, 1876
est. $2,000,000-$5,000,000
Sotheby’s New York
Dec. 10, 2010

by Caroline Ashleigh


 

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Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch Poster, 1955

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Monroe




They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This image reportedly was responsible for the break-up of the marriage between Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. The shocker in this famous skirt blowing scene is not that her panties show, but that Marilyn confessed (for publication) that she was never much for wearing any at all. This original poster is one of 1,000s of items of memorabilia in Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Motion Picture Museum to be auctioned by Christies next year.









 

 


 

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Marilyn Monroe's White Dress from the Seven Year Itch, 1955

 

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Caroline Ashleigh and the Fishers in front of perhaps the most famous dress in the world, Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from the Seven Year Itch




Marilyn Monroe - perhaps the most famous movie star in recent memory - and her famous white dress from the Seven Year Itch, shown in background of this photograph - is considered to be one of the greatest movie costume icons of all time. I had the privilege of appraising this dress, among many others at Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood Motion Picture Collection Museum, on Antiques Roadshow, FYI.

The designer of this piece, Travilla, requested that instead of being cremated, his remains be pleated, just like Marilyn's famous dress.







 

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The Final Curtain Goes Up, As The Auction Hammer Goes Down, On Debbie Reynolds' Collection

 

 

by Caroline Ashleigh, AAA, USPAP

 

Whoever and wherever you were - whether a shoe shine boy from the Bronx or a waitress in a donut shop in Duluth – you went to the movies. You saved your money to sit in a darkened theater to become, of only for a little while, Rudolph Valentino in Blood and Sand, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch.

 

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Caroline Ashleigh and the Fishers in front of perhaps the most famous dress in the world, Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from the Seven Year Itch

In 2005, I had the privilege of examining and appraising the costumes from those movies, and many more, when I visited Todd Fisher, Debbie Reynolds' son and the CEO of the Hollywood Motion Picture Collection in California. This collection, valued at over 50 million dollars, includes items from almost every Academy Award winning film, from the era of the silent movies, through the present. It is estimated to be the largest private collection of Hollywood costumes and memorabilia in the world.

 

Ms. Reynolds was the visionary who amassed this collection from all of the major studios for over thirty years. She had a passion for the collection and preservation of film history, and the influence that the American film industry has had on the world.

 

These dazzling mementos are part of our collective cultural heritage and consciousness, and, as such, we owe Ms. Reynolds a huge debt of gratitude. For over thirty years, she has been the keeper of the dreams. As these treasures of glitter, shine and glory are now about to be sold off at auction, let’s hope that the new custodians will honor, preserve, and cherish this geniune American art form, as much as their predecessor treasured them.


 

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Who Gives A Damn About Scarlett O'Hara's Dresses?

 

Great balls of fire, Mammy, Miss Scarlett's dresses are falling apart! The iconic costumes worn by actress Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind are suffering loose seams, fading colors and other signs of old age. Where shall they go? What shall be done?

Enter the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin. The center is trying to restore five of Scarlett O'Hara's gowns to their cinema splendor. "These dresses were only made to last as long as it took to shoot the movie," says Steve Wilson, the center's film curator. Scarlett's famous "curtain dress" is one of the few survivors.

As the movie goes, Scarlett desperately rips down her curtains to turn them into a dress to impress Rhett Butler. The dress did its job, but it wasn't built to last. "Just the weight of the velvet of this dress pulls the seams apart," Wilson tells NPR's Scott Simon.

Wilson is involved in the center's effort to raise $30,000 to repair the curtain outfit and four other costumes, including the wedding dress Scarlett wore to marry Charles Hamilton instead of her love, Ashley Wilkes.

That dress was designed to tell its own story, Wilson says. It was actually fitted on the actress who played Scarlett's mother rather than Leigh, to underscore the rushed nature of the wedding.

"The dress is a little bit too large, and it's in an old style," Wilson says. Scarlett wouldn't have had time to have her own dress made, so she would have worn her mother's. "So just very quickly, looking at her wearing that dress, it tells you a lot about the back story."

"Really," he adds, "there's nothing that captures the human aspect of a film the way a costume does."

There are those who say $30,000 is too much to think about right now, and tomorrow is another day. But frankly, Wilson says, "there are just as many people who do give a damn about these costumes

 

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The Audrey Hepburn Dress That Keeps on Giving


 

In this blog, we consider what Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress is really worth.

 

The little black dress she wore as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” sold at auction in 2006 for £410,000! At the time, that was equivalent to approximately $806,000.

Let’s take a second to consider what you could do with $806,000:

1. You could fly from New York to London—where the auction was held at Christie’s—and back 1,000 times.
2. You could buy 723 little black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy, the designer that made the Hepburn dress from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” If you wanted, you could choose a less-expensive Givenchy and have yourself about 1,300 of them.
3. You could buy 76,852 copies of the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and 70,163 copies of the book version.
4. You could order 124,028 omelets with homefries, toast, and jelly at Tiffany’s, a diner in Philadelphia.

I think you get my point. It’s a truckload of money. More money than many people see in their lifetimes, and somebody spent that much on a dress they will almost certainly never wear.

To put it in even more perspective, the only dress that comes close to matching Hepburn’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” get-up was the blue-and-white frock worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” It sold for £140,000, about a third of what Hepburn’s cost. A bargain.

So I probably should have assumed all along that the $806,000 raised by the sale of the world’s most famous little black dress went to charity. To be more specific, the fibers in that dress were turned into bricks, wood, and mortar used to build schools in Calcutta, India.

 

 By Daniel Bohm (Collectors Weekly 2010)

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