The Amon Carter Museum Presents Sotheby's Heirloom Discovery Day ®

Release date: 
February 2, 2001

at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members event on Friday, March 2, 6 to 9 p.m. with a presentation by Chris Jussel and Wendell Garrett

FORT WORTH, Texas --- Serious collectors, amateur enthusiasts, and even the mildly curious can seize the opportunity to have their family heirlooms, flea market finds, and cherished collectibles appraised by specialists from Sotheby's and sothebys.com at a special event hosted by the Amon Carter Museum. A panel of expert appraisers will be on hand at Sotheby's Heirloom Discovery Day at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is open to the public, with a $15 appraisal fee per item for Amon Carter Museum members and a $25 per-item fee for nonmembers. All proceeds from the event will benefit education programs at the Amon Carter Museum, reopening in October 2001.

Verbal appraisals will be offered on paintings, prints, drawings; decorative arts, including silver and porcelain; Asian art; and collectibles. Individuals must be able to hand carry their property into the hall. The specialists will provide a verbal appraisal of large pieces, such as furniture, based on a photograph.

"Everyone has something in their home, attic, or garage that they want to know more about or hope has significant monetary value," says Matthew Weigman, Sotheby's senior vice president. "Not only are there often wonderful stories, but we've made a number of amazing discoveries at these events as well."

One of the most notable finds made at a past Heirloom Discovery Day event was the first half of Mark Twain's original manuscript for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Presumed lost for nearly a century, this cornerstone of American literature was found in an attic trunk in California. After careful examination and research, Sotheby's book specialist confirmed it as the original manuscript. Sotheby's assisted the owners in presenting it to the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, where it was reunited with the second half of the manuscript and became part of the permanent collection.

In 1998 the Carter hosted its own small discovery event, "Treasure or Trifle." Members were invited to bring prints from their own collections for inspection and critique by experts. "It was a very successful event," says Melanie Boyle, director of membership and events at the Carter, "but was limited to print media. We've been looking for a way to offer this type of event on a broader scale, and partnering with Sotheby's will make that a reality." Sotheby's has been conducting Heirloom Discovery Day appraisal events at museums across the country for the past thirty years. Sotheby's, established in London in 1744, is not only the world's oldest auction house, but also one of the largest. It now offers online auctions at sothebys.com.

Members of the Amon Carter Museum are invited to a special, private event on Friday, March 2. The evening will feature verbal appraisals by Sotheby's specialists and a reception and discussion with two special guests, Chris Jussel and Wendell Garrett. Jussel is senior vice president at sothebys.com and original host of public broadcasting's popular Antiques Roadshow series. Garrett, also a senior vice president at Sotheby's, is editor-at-large of The Magazine Antiques.

"This is a good way for the Amon Carter Museum to help those in the community who may need professional assistance to determine the authenticity or value of artworks in their possession," says Amon Carter Museum Director Rick Stewart. "It's also a good opportunity to learn something new about the art."

Tickets for both events are limited, and advance purchase is suggested. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Amon Carter Museum at 817.738.1933.

For more information about Sotheby's Heirloom Discovery Day, call Carol Noel at 817.738.1933, extension 283, or e-mail carol.noel@cartermuseum.org.