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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

National Treasure Discovered in Chicago Area Home

Last week an English national treasure was unveiled after having hung in a private collection for over 300 years. What was discovered was a painting of William Shakespeare, which is currently believed to be the only portrait he sat for during his lifetime. However, this is not the only major historical discovery to occur within the last year. In fact, in early fall 2008 an American national treasure was discovered in the private collection of a local family.

MIR Appraisal Services was commissioned in the summer of 2008 to examine the items in an estate located in a Chicago suburb. What we appraised were several wonderful fine art and decorative items. Then we discovered an incredible piece of Americana. It was a hand written copy of America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates (1859 – 1929), penned and signed entirely in Ms. Bates hand. This was a very rare discovery because, although Ms. Bates’ original copy is known to be located at the Falmouth Historical Society, within the last 30 years only one other fully handwritten and signed copy of America the Beautiful has reached the open market.

The first draft of America the Beautiful had been written by Katharine Lee Bates in the summer of 1893 while she was traveling to Chicago for the world’s Columbian Exposition. The poem was then published in The Congregationalist two years later as part of a fourth of July celebration, shortly after which it became hugely popular.

This very unique manuscript had been in the family’s possession for a number of years, along with several other important historical documents. However, the item had remained unexamined by professional eyes and was considered a reproduction, an understandable assumption do to the rarity of authentic handwritten copies of America the Beautiful. The trained eyes of the staff at MIR Appraisal Services were able to recognize that the document was unique and had potential to be something of, not only great monetary value, but also of national value. We were able to authenticate the document through extensive research, and earlier this month it was auctioned by a premier international auction house.

It is always important to contact a professional team of appraisers if you have any questions about documents, decorative items, or fine art items, because, as the last year has shown us, hidden treasures are often lurking in private collections. For more information on appraising your items, or to setup an appraisal appointment with our professional staff of appraisers please call 312.814.8510.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Art Aids in Child Development and Fosters Communication

Art serves as a means for children to express and work through what they are experiencing emotionally, intellectually, physically and/or spiritually.

It is also an important tool for a child's overall development. In terms of communication, it allows them to express themselves visually before their vocabulary develops in a way that words alone cannot convey. Art therapy is often used when working with children allowing them to express their emotions through art activities.

Studies have shown that early exposure to visual art as well as music and/or drama fosters development and activity in the brain in addition to helping children to better understand language, math, science and geopgraphy. Art also nurtures a child's inventive spirit, giving them a sense of ownership while encouraging their self-esteem, discipline, cooperation and motivation. This is why it is always important to provide children with an environment where they have access to art or art supplies.

By exposing children to art and art activities we are providing them with a medium thru which they can express themselves and are also enabling them to develop an understanding of the human experience in relation to themselves and the world around them. This is because art encourages children to gain a new perspective on different view points while helping them develop problem-solving skills.

Suggested Activities:

- Museum trips and gallery tours geared toward children, allow them to view and later talk about other people's artwork. You can take your child to an art exhibit or show and ask them simple questions in regards to the artwork. Ask them about the shapes and colors as well as how certain images make them feel, best of all, there are no wrong answers. If you do not have access to a museum or an appropriate gallery, there are a variety of online galleries and museum collections right at your fingertips.

-Once you have started an art dialogue with your child, you can start incorporating an art project into the discussion. Supplies can be as simple as crayons, fingerpaints and paper. Ready made objects found around the house can also be used, such as buttons, macaroni noodles, string etc. Encourage your child to use the colors and shapes of their own choosing. This will enable them to express themselves in their own way.

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.