The Savvy Appraiser, Book 2
Flandricka House Press, 2017
Baby Boomer have and continue to amass great collections of objects. Some have come to them through their parents of the Greatest Generation carrying a deep family import. However, given Boomers have spanned nearly six decades and spawned at least two unique generations, the amount of things they have to pass on can feel like an avalanche. Facing the challenge of sorting through collections and treasured objects is Elizabeth Stewart in her new book No Thanks Mom, taking on the generational aspect to sorting and appraising.
In her previous book, Collect Value Divest, Stewart gave us “genuine insight into the bare bones and brass tacks of the business of appraisal” and now focuses her experienced eye on just how to downsize and appropriately clear one’s life of clutter while saving those things that are genuinely precious. Stewart presents us with a road map to navigate the emotionally and pragmatically tricky task of bridging the generation gap, “Baby Boomers have discovered that our children and grandchildren have little desire to take in family treasures and lifetime collections that may have passed through generations.”
Although the author seems to conflate Generation X and Millennials into one single group comprised of children and grandchildren, her perspective is imminently useful. However, this is a common mistake made by Boomers and one X-ers and Millennials know quite well how to deal with. But it’s amazing Boomer have to have it explained to them “your grown kids and grown grandkids DO NOT want and will NEVER want five or more china services.”
Taking off from the premise the saved objects of Boomer parents/grandparents are not equally valued by their children, Stewart lays out a plan of action to cull and preserve. She sees very clearly “the value and significance of certain types of objects has changed in the past 30 years” and conveys this to her Boomer audience who may not realize that their children and grandchildren don’t have the room, finances, or aesthetic to take Boomer keepsakes. She does so with the utmost concern for the cache of emotions and motivations on all generational sides. This trait makes her very practical lists of tactics such as her Five Piles Theory more meaningful for it’s clear they are coming from a place of genuine concern and commitment.
Her breakdown of successful habits and practices to downsize as well as her chapter re-orienting generation taste is a fabulous resource. Given the massive number of Boomers, the techniques of No Thanks Mom are perhaps best used by X-ers and Millennials when it comes time to disperse or dissolve their parents possessions as they retire or pass away. All in all, Stewarts book gives readers much needed tactful advice on how, why, and when to downsize belongings.
Elizabeth Stewart is a career appraiser of fine art and antiques, active in the field for 30 years. She serves the Santa Barbara county area, and has appraised for clients nationwide. Her area of expertise is 19th- and 20th-century fine art and works on paper, as well as American and European 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century furniture. Stewart received her undergraduate degree in Architectural History from Tufts University and a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from the University of San Diego. She holds a doctorate in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. For the past nine years, Stewart has broadcasted her own “Art and Antiques Radio Program” on KZSB AM 1290 weekly, as well as writing a weekly column, aptly titled “Ask the GOLDDIGGER,” for the Santa Barbara News Press. She consults with clients on how to create collections, find value and provenance, what to bequeath to heirs, and how and what to donate for tax benefits.