More with Heather Semple, Antiques Appraiser




PM: I'm curious. Did PNC make any good acquisitions of art?
H.S.: The bank did purchase several paintings for specific projects in newer buildings. We always worked with local artists, galleries and attended auctions. We installed local historical photographs in branches such as Homestead and Sewickley. The expansion of the corporate collection came through acquisitions of banks that were acquired in various markets during the '90s. These collections reflected those regions' and cities' individual histories and tastes. For example, Philly had Revolutionary War-theme pieces. New Jersey had nautical themes; Louisville had equestrian-themed works, etc.

PM: If PBS' popular program "Antiques Roadshow" were to come to Pittsburgh again, what sort of art would you expect to turn up in the homes of ordinary Pittsburghers?
H.S.: You would see magnificent treasures of paintings, prints, antique guns, jewelry and quilts.

PM: What about the serious collectors?
H.S.: I'm always astounded at how great the art is in private collections here. The art at PNC is hard to categorize, but Mellon Bank collected British watercolors. I love the Tiffany lamps that Mr. Hardy [the founder of 84 Lumber] has collected. There are a lot of private collections here that are not necessarily publicized, that are acquired quietly. I'm also amazed at how well people care for their art.

PM: What do you have to think about when caring for art in your home?
H.S.: Where the art is hung, how it is installed, what kind of lighting is used. Is it exposed to the sun? Is it over a fountain or the fireplace? Can someone damage it?

PM: What do you think of "Antiques Roadshow," the way it portrays your business?
H.S.: I am the first one to watch "Antiques Roadshow" on Monday evenings and believe it has created an appreciation and awareness for items and art found in our everyday lives. However, it can be both a blessing and a curse. What viewers don't realize is that there is a tape delay on the show. In reality, the experts on that show aren't coming up with evaluations in one minute. They and probably a team of assistants are researching the pieces and coming back four hours later with a P.O.V., or professional opinion of value. What's important to realize is that this P.O.V. is not the same thing as an appraisal. A P.O.V. is less formal. It is not a legal document that can hold up in court based on a great deal of research. It shouldn't be relied upon for an insurance evaluation or for tax purposes. The wording used on the show can be misleading: "If this were to sell at auction, it may fetch...." Viewers are led to think they will realize a certain amount of sale when it is contingent on many aspects of the market. It is not always a sure thing, but it sounds so fantastic on TV. I do a lot of research in libraries and in reference books. It's like a treasure hunt. I just spent an hour and a half in the Carnegie Library trying to decipher a signature on an engraving.

PM: What do you think about the notion of art as a commodity?
H.S.: It is a great thing. I think of art as investment that's interesting. But it's not a game.

PM: Can art backfire as an investment?
H.S.: Yes, art can be a bad investment. You need to be diligent as a collector. Beware the ambience of the gallery. People buy without researching the comparables, whether the artist has been well-represented. There are a couple of galleries in New York that I dread because I can't substantiate the value of what some people have paid for their pieces. And neither can the gallery.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.
Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

The beloved Pittsburgh institution will serve its last meal in April.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Happy to see warmer weather? This gorgeous winter wedding may actually have you missing the snow.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Auction Alert: Own a Piece of Artistry

Looking for a unique piece? Inventory from Artistry, which closed up shop in the Strip District after more than 25 years in business, will be sold at auction this weekend.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments