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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I know the following is not totally appraiser/appraisal related, but it does point out that sometimes an appraiser has to put aside business and personal feelings and just help the client.  This was one of those times.

When I arrived at my client’s condo, she stated that she wanted me to help her dispose of her quilts.  She did not think her children wanted any of them and was sad about that.  As we talked, I learned that her family homesteaded in the Omak-Okanogan area near the Canadian border of eastern Washington.  She thought that the quilts were made by her grandmother Ellie, and her aunts.  The client was not sure about this, as none of the quilts were marked with initials, name or a date.  She did not want to sell the quilts unless she sold to someone who loved quilts and would care for them.  The client had photographs of the quilts that were good and showed professional attention to detail.  She had grandchildren that were young and liked the quilts but did not appreciate the history of the quilts.  The quilts were in good condition, and most were made in the early 1920’s.  One was a whitework quilt that had outstanding workmanship and design sense.  It also had an inset border of hand-made lace about one inch wide placed on all four sides of the quilt.  A knock out!

I asked about the time frame for moving the quilts out of her possession.  She replied that she felt pressured because she was rapidly going blind.  The condition is an unusual, but not rare, a disorder of cone-rod dystrophy.  It started about 10 years ago and has become progressively worse.  She has reached a stage where one eye has almost no peripheral vision.  She does as much as she is able to do and planned to go over to Seattle to see her grandchildren and children.  My obvious question was, “How will you get there?  Do you have a driver?”  She replied, “Oh no, I can walk.  I take the intercity bus to Monroe.  The driver knows me well.  My children pick me up and bring me back to Leavenworth”.

We talked a little more.  I suggested some alternatives, such as a local charity auction, American Quilt Study Group and others.  I knew that any buyer from AQSG would care for and appreciate the quilts.  I also suggested that I try to find a dealer that would buy the quilts or take them on consignment.  We discussed several options.  Basically, she really wanted her family to have the quilts.  I suggested she take the photos she had of the quilts with her to Seattle and talk about the quilts with her family.  She will contact me when she returns, hopefully with a solution.

Her directness and making plans for her property were an inspiration.  This 60+ year old woman is courageous and an example of true grit.  Must be that pioneer spirit coming through.

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP

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