Antique Answer Man
Providing appraisal information for Insurance, Estate, Tax, Probate & Curiosity since 1983
About Gary

My fascination for all things old actually started when I was very young but I began collecting antiques after the Navy while working at a power plant in the Midwest. With five to six monthly farm auctions, I became a regular and started supporting my habit by wholesaling to antique dealers as a “picker.” I could buy a box lot of Depression glass for $10!

One of my most memorable buys took place at a farm auction in 1976. I saw a hay wagon (8 to 10’long by 8’wide) piled three feet high with vintage clothes. I was a bit shocked when I got the bid at $700 for all the clothes including five 1920’s and ‘30’s beaded flapper dresses, hundreds of elegant ‘30’s cocktail dresses, Victorian pieces and some threadbare farm clothes. I ended up wholesaling most of it to a shop in Chicago for $10-$15 apiece; many of the same pieces would now value $500 each. Not only did I find I could make a living at what I really loved doing, but I felt I had a part in preserving history after the auctioneer told me he discovered the farmer getting ready to set fire to the whole pile of clothing assuming it was junk! Rather than ‘pick’ for other dealers, I moved to CA and became an antique dealer myself.

It was other antique dealers who started referring to me as the Antique Answer Man when they brought me what they found for valuation. The name stuck when referred as a speaker to glass collectors, Civil War buffs and antique societies. The actual transition from antique dealer to full time antique appraiser came after a stint on public television where someone would bring an item and I would appraise it on inspection, a local Antique Road Show type of programming. Want to know if the plate your grandmother gave you has more than sentimental value; or what time period and the market value of an old painting or photograph; or how much insurance to put on your collection? I make my living answering these types of questions with written and verbal appraisals. I am honored to work with the Crocker Art Museum and with other Northern CA historical societies but the best is working with individual collectors or someone who has a ‘find’ and doesn’t know if it is valuable or not. 


Some of Gary's regular clients include:

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