Gravy Boat

On the Road (show) Again

August 6, 2012

As the heat has been rising over Washington, D.C. this summer, Dr. Martin Gammon of Bonhams Auctioneers Georgetown office has been travelling the country to tape the latest season of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. Dr. Gammon joins several other Bonhams specialists in six cities to bring their expertise to PBS’s Emmy Award- nominated program. Local residents of Boston, Myrtle Beach, and Rapid City, among other locales, were eagerly waiting to receive appraisals of their precious heirlooms from the specialists.

The show’s upcoming 16th season will feature representatives from an array of Bonhams’ 72 departments, such as Dessa Goddard of the Asian Works of Art departments, clock and watch expert Jonathan Snellenburg, gemologist Virginia Salem of Bonhams’ Jewelry department, paintings expert Alan Fausel, and Catherine Williamson and Martin Gammon of the Rare Books and Manuscripts department.

These experts are no strangers to finding treasures.  Last summer Dr. Gammon discovered as 17th Century botanical book by Basilius Besler valued at $250,000-350,000, the most expensive book ever discovered on the US Roadshow.    You can view the original appraisal online:

Finding valuable pieces on the Roadshow holds a special significance to the specialists.  “Although it is hard to inform people that their most precious items may have little to no value, it is incredibly exciting when we find a valuable piece,” notes Gammon. “Usually Roadshow participants have absolutely no idea if their items are worth anything, so their reactions are heartwarming if we give them good news.”

Alan Fausel appraising a Rockwell Kent painting valued at $50,000-$100,000 during a Pittsburgh taping in 2011 (Photo by: PBS) Alan Fausel appraising a Rockwell Kent painting valued at $50,000-$100,000 during a Pittsburgh taping in 2011

“On my most recent trip to the Myrtle Beach Roadshow, a participant showed me an extraordinary letter written by Abraham Lincoln to his mentor in Indiana. The letter was written right after he became the Republican nominee, which tremendously adds to its value. It was an exciting moment when I informed the owner that the letter was worth $30,000 to $50,000.”

Episodes from Antiques Roadshow’s Summer 2012 tour will air in January 2013, but you don’t have to wait that long to watch these specialists at work. Many of Bonhams’ specialists performing appraisals in the local D.C. office have been featured on the Roadshow for years, and paintings expert Alan Fausel has been an appraiser for the show since its inaugural season.

If you would like to have your own items appraised contact Martin Gammon at 202.333.1696. Bonhams is located at 2902 M Street.

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Record High Prices for Two D.C. Luxury Condos

July 12, 2012

The Presidential Penthouse at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.’s exclusive West End, sold for $5.5 million dollars, a record for any off-water apartment in Washington, D.C. The elegant residence of 5,664 square feet includes five bedrooms, six full baths, marble floors, custom mahogany paneling, three balconies, and a butler’s pantry leading to a separate service entrance for catering, room service and other hotel amenities.

Watergate Residence (Photo by: Washington Fine Properties) Watergate Residence

The  condominium was listed and sold by the Washington Fine Properties (WFP) team of Ellen Morrell, Matt McCormick and Ben Roth. Mr. Roth stated, “This was a very unique property for Washington, as there are very few condominiums of that size, completely renovated with high-end custom finishes.”

At the world-renowned Watergate complex, located on the banks of the Potomac River, WFP sold a luxuriously renovated apartment for $3.1 million dollars, a record sale price in the Watergate’s history.

The architectural firm of Outerbridge Horsey Associates reconfigured and redesigned two and one-half apartments into one unique and magnificent residence, considered by many to be Washington, D.C.’s finest apartment. 

View from Watergate Residence (Photo by: Washington Fine Properties) View from Watergate Residence

The details include custom oak and walnut inlay floors, marble flooring, a custom kitchen, custom cabinetry and paneling, balcony garden design and Waterworks baths.  This unit includes three bedrooms, a spacious living room, a dining room that seats 10, and a library and kitchen with a family room. All living spaces have access to the curved balcony garden that wraps around the residence with the finest views of Washington’s skyline.  Susie Gordon Maguire represented the seller. "It was a privilege to market a property where every detail exceeded expectations. Washington, D.C. has rarely seen a property so exquisite and well designed,” said Ms. Maguire.

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Time to Bury the District's Power Lines?

July 2, 2012

Unless you're only now returning from vacation (from another continent) you know someone who's lost a tree, thrown out everything in their refrigerator or spent the weekend at a hotel. Or all of the above.

With the exception of most of Georgetown, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area has been hit with triple digit temperatures while struggling to recover from "The 2012 Derecho."

Monday, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said what alot of us have been thinking, according to, "he lashed out at Pepco ... saying that it might be time to revisit the idea of burying power lines in the District. More than 40,000 Pepco customers remain without power and some may wait for several more days."

Read more here.

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