#BookReview – LIQUIDATING AN ESTATE: How to Sell a Lifetime of Stuff, Make Some Cash, and Live to Tell About It.

March 18, 2015

As you can see I am making some changes with this post – a change in the format of my blog and a change in the format of my reviews…I hope that this new format covers all the aspects you require prior to purchase of the books I review.

TITLE: LIQUIDATING AN ESTATE: How to Sell a Lifetime of Stuff, Make Some Cash, and Live to Tell About It.
AUTHOR: Martin Codina

PUBLISHER: Krause Publications: a division of F&W Media, Inc.

NUMBER OF PAGES:  288 pages
PRICE:   $  18.99  US  ($  20.99  CAN)
Paperback $14.50 on Amazon 
$ 9,99 for the Kindle Edition

TOPIC:` How To Liquidate an Estate – How To Hire a Liquidator – 
How To Become A Liquidator



MY THOUGHTS:    I realize that you come to this page for Reviews of books in topics having to do with Jewelry and Gems, however, something happened awhile back that made me think about Estates and Estate Sales.   A dear friend in the Industry died and his surviving family was left with the task of liquidating his Estate.  
He was a Bench Jeweler and a friend, so I traveled to assist in the sorting and and sales of his workshop.  As a constant Collector (I have collections and have sold collections that relate to every topic of interest to me and believe me that is a wide and varied list), I had to walk through the house and WOW – it was overwhelming!  …and I don’t know if the Liquidator employed by the family wasn’t familiar with the current prices of some of the pieces or didn’t care and just priced items to sell, but I could have made a killing by buying the night before and re-selling (yes – that much below market value).
So – when I saw that a friend and Appraiser had written this book I was really interested in reading it, hoping to glean some knowledge. Martin offered me a Review Copy – Thank You Martin!

First, I just want to say that for a non-fiction book this reads very easily, it is filled with personal accounts, humor, and lessons learned.  That being said it is filled with information really well presented, You almost feel like you are having a conversation with the author.

Who was this book written for?  you will note that I wrote the “Topic” above as, “How To Liquidate an Estate – How To Hire a Liquidator – How To Become A Liquidator” and I truly believe that a lay person trying to liquidate a household could use the information given as much as an fledgling Liquidator or someone looking to hire a Liquidator.
The book opens with a great Foreword by HGTV’s Cari Cuskey of “Cash & Cari” who explains that the large number of Baby Boomers and their aging parents has created a major market – she asides that, “Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a phone call or email from someone looking for assistance with liquidating possessions.”

Chapters include:
For the Survivors or Someone Looking To Hire a Liquidator – Estate Sales: the Billion Dollar Business You May Never Have Heard Of; Was Your Mom A Hoarder or a Collector; How To Interview An Estate Liquidator and When Should You Be Crazy Enough To Conduct Your Own Estate Sale.
For the fledgling Liquidator – The Blood Sweat and Tears of Stuff;  My Uncle Says It‘s Legal For Him To Keep Grandpa’s Guns;  and So You Want To Be In The Estate Sales Business.

You could glean a huge amount of information by just flipping the pages and reading the snippets of highlighted text throughout the book…like the following:

“The reality check these people got is that we, as a consuming society, have a lot of stuff in our homes and when the time comes to empty them, most of us are woefully unprepared.”

“The way to add value to an estate is to add time.  The way to irreversibly deduct value from an estate is to take away time by acting with haste.”

We all have relatives that have a “Collection” that they say has tons of value – this book is for them (it may convince them to add value or at least purchase price info to their catalog) – OR – maybe you have thought about the appraisal business – this book will give you the insight of nearly two decades of experience…in either case this book is a MUST PURCHASE!
I am giving it a 5 out of 5 Stars – and I have no doubt that I will be delving into it for advice again in the future.


“What do I do with all this stuff?”
Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, downsizing, or moving by choice or necessity, an increasing number of people are dealing with this burning question.
Striking a balance between respect and humor, Liquidating an Estate is loaded with how-to information readers need in order to sell or liquidate the personal property of a loved one, including:
  • common mistakes that will cost you money
  • telling the difference between treasure and trash
  • how to choose an estate sales professional to act as your advocate
  • how to deal with conflicts among family members
  • how the sale of even the most common household items can add up to big bucks when sold at an estate sale
  • how scrap gold can be turned into cash
  • what to do with fine jewelry and silver
  • how to understand the art appraisal process
  • a full review of the kinds of items that can be sold at a professionally staged estate sale
  • how to acquire basic antiques and collectibles research skills

About the Author

Martin Codina is the founder and CEO of Fine Estate Sales and Estate Liquidation, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay area. He has conducted estate sales for nearly 20 years with the promise to obtain the maximum dollar value each item in a client’s estate deserves; to discover hidden value in items thought to have little or no value; and to solve the age-old question: “What do I do with all this stuff?”

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2015 Antoinette Matlins “Hands-On” Gem and Jewelry Course

February 22, 2015
2015 Antoinette Matlins Annual Seminar 
and “Hands-On” Gem and Jewelry Course 
for Jewelry Lovers, Collectors and Connoisseurs

Are you thinking about making an important jewelry purchase?
Do you wonder what you really have and want to know for sure?
Have you ever wondered if it is a really good deal or are you being ripped off?
Do you know the difference between natural, synthetic and lab-grown?
Most stones are treated, enhanced or altered in some way—can you really tell?

“What are they?” “What is their quality?” “How do I know?”

If you are asking these questions then we have the answers for you!
An exciting weekend course in Woodstock, Vermont, 
on gems and jewelry with gem expert and author

How about a special, exciting, educational event that will provide the opportunity to study diamonds, pearls, and gemstones in depth, 
directly with gem expert Antoinette Matlins?

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Colorful Afternoon at the 8th Annual Artisan Fair at the De Young Museum Store – San Francisco

December 3, 2014

Sending a BIG Thank You out to my little sister, Dawn, for agreeing to cover the 8th Annual Artisan Fair at the De Young Museum Store over the weekend….Dawn Hawk is a multi talented woman with a couple degrees and a job giving money away to deserving…

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Blog-O-Sphere Think Tank: October’s topic: "Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?"

October 20, 2014
October’s topic:  “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?”

Answer?  Yes and No – I know – how predictable!

I am like most women my age, extremely affected by any amount of heat so I love the transition from Fall into Winter – Winter into Spring can be lovely but Summer to Fall can be dicey and because of my choice to live in Southern California Summer is a HUGE issue!

Oxnard Beach Houses
But to maintain a doable climate and temperate breezes I choose to live at the shore!  From High School in Corona del Mar – to a couple decades in Long Beach and a three year stint in Oxnard – I currently live in “Surf City”! …and while Huntington Beach suits me I would gladly retire in Oxnard it is gorgeous!!!

Fisherman’s Wharf Oxnard, CA – note the lack of lights – a large portion of Oxnard is still farmland.
…have you ever noticed where the strawberries you get in the store are from?  Oxnard is a leading supplier!

What is this “Blog-O-Sphere” thing?
A group of friends who blog; from all different areas of life, who come together for a ‘once a month’ ‘blog circle’, or ‘blog carnival’ type thing, if you will. We get together once a month, and all write about the same topic, and hopefully we all post at the same time, on the 20th of each month. It is interesting to read all the different “points of view”. It’s fun, light,  mind opening and motivational. 
Please visit the other group members posts:

Andes Cruz: www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Barbara Donovan: http://barbaradonovan.blogspot.com/
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/
Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com
Kathleen Krucoff: http://mysticalmythicalmetalwork.wordpress.com/
K.Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com
Shelagh Blatz www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog
Tosca Teran: http://www.nanopod.me
WATTO (Mary Spenser Watson) http://www.wattoonline.com/news

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#MASSC – DEMO DAY!!! One of my favorite #metalsmithing events!

September 24, 2014

Finally!  DEMO DAY 2014…this is the BEST DAY EVER!!!!  Why?   The Metal Arts Society of Southern California has long been the source of some of the best workshops and guest speakers in the SoCal region and yet I feel that their Demo Da…

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Meet the Authors at the Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Show October 10,11, and 12

September 10, 2014
Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Show being held in Hillsboro, Oregon, USA this coming October 10,11, and 12. 

Thank you to Denise, the new educational chairperson, who, with the assistance of John Marshall, has added a “Meet The Authors” event for the Portland Regional Rock and Gem Show. 

There will be 5-6 popular geology and earth science authors who will give daily presentations and be available to sign books.

Stop by and introduce yourself. These authors will be available to answer your questions and share information. Attend the author’s presentations that will be given every hour on the hour.

Authors include:

William N. Orr/Elizabeth L. Orr– Oregon Fossils, Geology of Oregon and other books.

Garret Romaine-Gem Trails of Oregon, Gem Trails of Washington, Rockhounding Idaho, and other books.

John Marshall-The “Other” Lake Superior Agate Agates    
Tom T.H.Bohmker – Gold Panner’s Guide to the Oregon Cascades, Gold Panner’s Guide to Washington State, and other books.

Lars W. Johnson – Rockhounding Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Rockhounding Sites

The link below will take you directly to the show page on Facebook. Please share this post with your friends!
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Herb Hyder, Alpine Gem Miner…playing the waiting game

June 16, 2014
GUEST POST:  I want to thank Christine Ford for this touching story.
…if you have been blessed – please try to give this young man a hand.  
Christine has recently found her passion in her writing and we are grateful for it.  I think I have her talked into starting her own blog – so keep an eye out!

…One Meal At A Time.

The Life of an Alpine Gem Miner 
waiting for his claims to melt.

By Christine Ford
32 year old Herb Hyder is enjoying a lifestyle many of us only sit in our armchairs and dream about. He mines gold and gemstones in the rugged and beautiful wilds of British Columbia.

It is not unusual for this determined young man to hike twenty or thirty kilometers a day in search of rare and precious treasures from the earth. He has at various times found aquamarines, gold, agates, topaz and moonstone. He also currently lives in his truck and is going days without food while he waits for his high altitude claims to melt in this late spring. 

Hyder had a hard start in this life. His parents, a silversmith father and water colorist mother, were “both never very successful” as artists and lived a nomadic, hippy-type lifestyle, says Hyder. High rents kept them from a stable situation, and the only time he ate well was when they were able to plant a garden. 

Despite their poverty, he was able to spend time with his mothers family in the U. S. before he began school, and had his first exposure to gem and mineral shows at that time. An aunt took him to a show and he was fascinated by the crystals in all their various forms. He even went on some digs and found a small blue aquamarine, which he lost in the shag carpet and still regrets to this day! He also learned something about gems from his silversmith father. 

His parents divorced when Hyder was 13. He stayed with his father, but their extreme poverty singled him out for bullying in school, and after a few years, he could take no more and dropped out of school in the seventh grade. Spending time at home, where meals could be days apart and strange characters abounded was not an option for Hyder, he took his love of hiking, learned from his mother, and began exploring the slopes above Nelson, B.C. Eventually he discovered mine tailings that yielded crystals, one of which netted him fifty dollars. It bought food, and a new way of life for Herb Hyder.

He began to spend each day hiking and exploring new locales, taking the bus to more distant locations. He talked to people and read every book on geology he could get his hands on. He began to have some success as a miner. Of course, Hyder has held many various jobs over the years, always with the intent to earn enough to work his claims. Once he was even paid handsomely for a graphite discovery, but Hyder says it was mostly in company stocks governed by U.S, law and as a Canadian he was unable to benefit as he should have. He has suffered other misfortunes, once losing his vehicle ( and home) to a rollover accident on icy roads, then having all his goods impounded while he was in the hospital.

Times haven’t always been bad for Hyder. Once he had a home, a girlfriend, a normal life, all things he hopes to have again someday. Meanwhile, he keeps chasing that dream, searching for that one big find.

As a journalist who wrote about the reality TV series Prospectors, I know these finds are possible. I also know how many people sit at home in the evening after a long day of work and go on Facebook to rock hounding sites and say, “ I sure wish I could do that.”. I have followed Herb Hyder on Facebook for some time. He works and struggles constantly to succeed, taking odd jobs, doing whatever he can to survive, and always his optimism and spirit show through. 

“I just hope I can survive until the snows melt and hope I find lots of gems this summer. Hope. It’s all I can go on right now,” said Hyder. 

He has a passport and is ready to travel if a real job is offered. He has even spoken to the Discovery Channel, who interviewed him for a reality TV show, something not many would want to cope with if they lived alone in the mountains and dreamed of making it big on their own, but Hyder is desperate.

If you are one of those armchair wishers or even a miner yourself, and would like to help Herb Hyder stay in B. C. and live the dream for us all, please read his own words at http://www.gofundme.com/6qt0es.  Please share his story with your friends and family.
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Art Jewelry Website Has A New Look!

February 28, 2014

Just saw this note from Hazel Wheaton at Art Jewelry Magazine – take a few minutes to stop in and offer your feedback…Visitors to www.ArtJewelryMag.com will see some big changes this week as we unveil our new, redesigned website! We spent weeks resea…

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“Faces of Eternity” exhibit at GIA Carlsbad

November 16, 2013

I recently spent a day at GIA – we took a docent lead tour – always fun and informational because even the hallways teach at GIA…this exhibit is brief but impressive – the skulls masterfully cut in themes that reflect life today.  It is a perfect day out when paired with the two other exhibits currently showing!

Peruvian artist and master carver Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio’s collection of 15 gem skulls the “Faces of Eternity” exhibit, which will be on view through April 2014, was inspired by the juxtaposition of human mortality and the timelessness of gemstones. The intricately carved and polished life-size skulls are made from different large gem crystals and ornamental rock, adding character to each piece. 
“The magnificent gems and rocks used to create the skulls, combined with the skill of a master craftsman, give these unique pieces an ethereal beauty. From fossilized whale bone to rainforest jasper, and from pink opal to peanut wood agate, Luis Alberto chose materials from a gem lover’s dream,” said Terri Ottaway, curator of the GIA Museum. “Each skull has a distinctive look and feel to it, making this collection fascinating on both a gemological and an artistic level.”

Aparicio – an engineer by profession and second-generation master in the object d’art – merges sculpting and jewelry fabrication techniques, creating unusual design work that is distinct from traditional European carvings. Along with his sister, Sylvia, he has helped to revive Neoart Peru, a family-owned company started in 1975 that specializes in ruby carvings and focuses on natural wildlife-inspired themes using rare and unusual gemstones from around the globe.
“The skulls collection was one of my favorite to create. By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metalsmith techniques, you can really see how the colors and textures in each stone brings each piece to life,” said Aparicio.

The complete collection is comprised of 26 pieces, each hand-carved from gemstones sourced from around the world and complemented by parts in silver and gold vermeil. The collection was designed and carved over the period of one year. Fifteen pieces make up the “Faces of Eternity” exhibit at GIA in Carlsbad, while the remaining pieces are in private collections in France, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia. 
Pieces exhibited are on loan from Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio. “Faces of Eternity” will be on display from Oct. 18, 2013 through April 2014. For more details, visit GIA’s website or call 800-421-7250.

An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.

Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. 

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October 27, 2013


Sunday, October 27, 2013 – Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, will host “A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels”, a heritage exhibition from October 27, 2013 through February 15, 2014. Spanning over 100 years of history, the exhibition will allow visitors to view jewelry, watches, and precious accessories, as well as archival drawings and documents of the Place Vendôme High Jewelry Maison.
More than 200 pieces from the private collections of Van Cleef & Arpels will be on display for the international exhibition. 
Visitors will go on a journey built around four themes that continue to inspire the Maison: Nature, Elegance, Exoticism, and Femininity. 

This immersion into the Van Cleef & Arpels’ style is also an opportunity to discover the Maison’s virtuoso craftsmanship, passed on by generations of Mains d’Or™, the magic of exceptional Pierres de Caractère™, not to mention the stories attached to some of the pieces that have achieved mythical status. 

From iconic pieces to the legendary women who wore them and contributed to the reputation of the Maison, “A Quest for Beauty: The Art of Van Cleef & Arpels” highlights the enduring legacy and constantly renewed creativity of the Maison.

The book – 125 pages – covers the pieces and story presented by the exhibit and is available at the museum or at Amazon. 

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