What's it worth?
The Good Life|December 2020
The question is easy to ask, but for art appraiser Jerry goroski, the answer takes some work
SUSAN LAGSDIN

Jerry’s walls are covered in his favorite paintings in several media, not all of them landscapes and western scenes like these that are his specialty. His home serves as his gallery, archive, library and office. Photo by Mike Irwin

Not all “old stuff” stories turn out this well (if they did, Antiques Road Show would lack suspense). But Wenatchee art appraiser Jerry Goroski told this good luck story:

A Chicago woman inherits from her mother an unopened box of her grandmother’s belongings. She sends a few nice pencil sketches, with scribbling on the back, to Jerry. “Are these really worth anything?”

They’re odd drawings: one is a cowboy standing on a train car, watching cattle pour out; one is cattle milling around the train car. The initials at the bottom of both were “CMR.”

Jerry does his work; due diligence means deep research. He’s helped by the notes on the back, written in grandmother’s hand. They describe her visit as a child to her dad’s work at the train yard where she spotted a young cowboy named Charlie, who was transporting cattle to market and journaling the scene. He handed the sketches to the girl (grandma), who tucked them away and saved them.

The Chicago woman is pleased. Much later, those two original drawings by the early 20th Century’s preeminent celebrity western artist Charles Marion Russell sell at auction for $15,000.

Yeah, they’re worth something.

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