FOR ‘ANTIQUES ROADSHOW’ APPRAISER KATHLEEN GUZMAN, THE MOST MEMORABLE TREASURES ARE OFTEN THE PEOPLE SHE MEETS
OVER THE YEARS, I have auctioned more than 1,500 sales with over 500,000 objects valued at more than half a billion dollars. I’ve seen countless fantastic items – and met scores of fascinating people – as an appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. So it’s hard to select the five most remarkable artifacts I’ve handled. This is an ever-changing business, with great treasures taken to auction every day. So ask me again in a few months … and don’t be surprised if my list has changed.
Colonel Sanders’ Trademark Suit and String Bow-Tie
You would think that after being on Antiques Roadshow for 20 years, I would have sold a lot of great property that I saw on air. But most people who have something of value decide to keep it. One item I did sell had a great story. As a teenager in the 1970s, Mike Morris and his family lived next to legendary Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurateur Harland Sanders. Morris asked to borrow Colonel Sanders’ iconic suit as a Halloween costume. Sanders was so impressed, he gave Mike the suit. They became fast friends, and I learned a little-known fact that Sanders actually did not like eating chicken! The suit realized $21,510 at a June 2013 auction.
Vivien Leigh’s Period Dress from ‘Gone With the Wind’
Sometimes the best part of my job is getting to know collectors as friends. I met Jim Tumblin, the consignor of the Gone With the Wind Collection, over 30 years ago. Being able to assist him with the auction of his wonderful museum collection was one of the most rewarding experiences for both of us. This dress, which Vivien Leigh wore as Scarlett O’Hara in four pivotal scenes of the classic 1939 film, sold for $137,000 at an April 2015 auction.
Annie Oakley’s 16-Gauge Parker Brothers Hammer Shotgun
One of the most charming ladies I have met on Antiques Roadshow was Bess Edwards – the grand-niece of folk hero Annie Oakley. Bess regaled me with memories of sitting on Annie’s lap and hearing stories about Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It was truly exciting to hold Annie’s favorite Parker Brothers shotgun. It realized $293,000, which helped Bess settle comfortably into her new assisted living home.
‘The Boxtrolls’ Winnie Portley-Rind Animation Puppet
I love being an auctioneer. There is no better place to take the pulse of a market, especially when it comes to truly unique items like this puppet from the 2014 stop-motion animated film The Boxtrolls. Looking back, however, it was a lovely young woman bidding on this item who made the sale memorable. As the price rose, she announced to the competing bidder next to her that she was a wrestler and if he did not stop bidding, she would have to sit on him! After the auction, she told me she identified with Winnie – often cosplaying the feisty character at comic conventions. Needless to say, she was the winning bidder, paying $16,730 at the February 2015 auction.
Mikhail Klodt’s ‘Riverside Farmstead,’ 1858
Nothing illustrates the power of remote bidding better than this lovely painting by Russian painter Mikhail Klodt (1832-1902). Throughout the exhibit, Russian oligarchs flew with their entourages to Dallas to preview the work. But it was a lone phone bidder from Moscow, who I imagine was in his pajamas and slippers on his computer in the middle of the night, who was the lively successful bidder, paying $1.31 million for this oil on canvas by the 19th-century landscape master.
KATHLEEN GUZMAN is Heritage Auction’s New York managing director. She can be reached at Kathleen@HA.com.