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Old 09-07-2018, 12:12 PM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default Re: New studio

I was barely awake when I heard the toilet flush. Then he came hobbling on his crutches into my room. “Rise and shine James, I have a lot unfinished things to do today. I want to have a good breakfast and get an early start. Is there sausage or bacon in the house and can you make Pancakes?”
With my eyes still closed I said, yes sir.
Good! , now you get up, while I fix coffee and open a can of tuna for Alice.
After I finally was up, dressed, and awake. I went to the kitchen and found a box of Hungry Jack´s old fashion pancake mix, milk and smoked bacon. Following the instructions on the box I soon had a stack of pancakes sitting in front of my uncle. I expected him to eat the whole pile, but he ate only one, along with two pieces of bacon. Then he pushed the plate away.
Eat, eat James, you are going to need the energy. Today, we are going to the city. I want go to the bank, talk to a lawyer, and go to an auction house to get something appraised. Do you have any identification you can bring with you?
Yes I do uncle; I have my library card, a social security card and my learners driving permit, and a savings account card.
Good for you nephew, bring all of them with you, they might come in handy
A bank, lawyer and appraisal from an auction house sounded ominous to me. I asked.
Uncle, is there some kind of financial trouble you are in? He finished his third cup of coffee, called Alice who immediately hopped on his lap. No trouble, I just need to put some personal things in order. Now you call a cab, while I package something that I need to take to town. He petted Alice and she began to purr, then he said,
You Alice; are staying home There are too many oriental restaurants that would like to find a place for a fat cat on their menu. Now I had never seen him without Alice, and this worried me even more
I wondered what he was up to, as I cleaned up the mess I had made fixing pancakes that he hardly touched.
It was one hour before the cab arrived. My uncle was waiting impatiently in his wheel chair outside. He was very agitated. He said,
Leave the chair here. Today we are travelling light and I will be using my crutches .I don´t like to leave Alice home but she will be fine for a few hours. Then he told me to go back into the house and bring out a package he had left on his bed.
On his bed I found a heavy package wrapped in news paper. I picked it up and rushed out to the cab, surprised to find my uncle already seated and waiting for me with the door open. The cabby opened the trunk, I put the package in, and then my uncle said to the driver. Take us down town to 2052 Mission Street.
While we were riding he told me that he intended to have the package appraised, and wanted to see how the appraiser would react when he saw what it contained.
I was dying with curiosity. Uncle; what is in the package?
He laughed, and then put his arm over my shoulder as he said .You will have to wait James, I want you to be surprised. And then the cab pulled up to the curb.
Let’s sit at that bench for a bit James. I am a bit tired and want to just rest and smoke my pipe, and watch the people as they pass by. Once he got his pipe lit and was enjoying puffing on it he said,
James at one time this street was overflowing with America’s best and bravest youth. All of them dressed in Navy, Army, and Marine uniforms. Thousands of them never returned.
I consider myself very fortunate to be able to sit here and thank God for keeping me alive this long. When I returned from Hawaii, my sister Lillian met me in San Diego .Together we returned to San Francisco, rented a small shop with living space in the back. It was on this very same street that we opened a pawn and loan business.
Lillian took care of the accounts and paid the expenses, many of the soldiers had not the funds to even pay their passage home. I made loans to them using the small savings we had to loan money on the souvenirs they brought home with them as collateral. Eventually the shop flourished, we ran that business for almost fifty years. Then this spring Lillian died. I closed the shop and liquidated its inventory, that is when you mother and father decided that I needed to move in with them.
Funny, that for all the years I have known them, it is the first time they have any interest in my welfare.
I am sure it has to do with money, and who I am going to leave it to. That is why I need to go to the bank this afternoon. They may be surprised at how little I have left. But I will make sure they are not disappointed. Now I feel rested. He handed me the mysterious package and said.
It is time we go and get this appraised. Now you hail a cab and we will go to Bonham’s auction house to see what they think this may be worth.
Upon arriving, we went into the Bonham building where met a security guard who asked my uncle what was in the package. I was surprised when uncle Earl said what I had been carrying around all morning was a Japanese sword.
He called the Arms and armor department, and then he directed us to be seated.
We waited for at least a hour before a fat man wearing thick glasses, baggy pants and a tee shirt with large black question marks printed all over it showed up.
Sorry to keep you waiting so long, you have no appointment and I was in a meeting, I would have turned you away but I am very interested in seeing your sword. Let´s take a seat at that table where you will be comfortable-Once we were seated and before seeing it he asked. Where did you find it?
I did not find it I bought it after the war from a returning marine. I have had it for over fifty years and need this appraised... The appraiser asked my uncle to unwrap the bundle. Uncle Earl gave me the package and told me to remove the wrapping. The first thing I saw was a white and blood red silk cloth.
At that moment the appraiser took hold of my arm, looked at the cloth and said.
I think it will be better if I do the unwrapping.
I looked at my uncle not sure what I was to do. He nodded his head saying, Go ahead James, he his more experienced in these things. I watched as the cloth was unwound.
Excited, I said, it’s a flag. I could see that the appraiser was also excited as he said. This is not just a flag; it is the Imperial flag of the Japanese navy.
With the flag removed the sword lay exposed on the table. The appraiser but on a pair of white gloves picked it up and began to study the markings embossed into sheath, he drew the sword from the sheath studied the gold tassels attached to the swords grip, and then he asked the guard to bring him a magnifying glass. While we waited, he said to my uncle, this appears to be a very rare item that belonged to high ranking naval officer, and the flag is most interesting. Do you want to put them up for auction or sell it outright?
Uncle Earl nodded his head saying as he did, he indeed want to sell both the flag and the sword.
Let me complete examining the blades forging, engraving and maker’s proof marks and then I will be able to give you cash price for these items.
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