Her jaw dropped when she listened to what the appraiser had to say. She learned that she grossly underestimated the value of the doorstep. It was more intricate than it initially appeared.
She listened to his instructions carefully, eager to see what was hidden within the mysterious doorstep. She immediately realized that she had just made the biggest error of her life when she discovered the note.
She truly believed that there was nothing special about the doorstep. She had seen it so many times in her grandmother’s house. She thought it was nice, but that was the extent of it.
The old doorstep seemed just one of many items from the old house that would no longer be useful now that her grandma had passed away. Over time, she would regret her rash judgment.
A Devastating Loss
This story’s protagonist is a young woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana named, Alice. As a result of the recent death of her grandma, she had suffered heartbreak beyond words. In Alice’s childhood, she shared a deep and special bond with her grandma.
Her passing made Alice feel as if she had lost a close friend. In addition to being a source of support, hope, and comfort, her grandmother had been a pillar of strength and a confidante. A kind and honest woman, she was without a doubt one of the best she had ever known. In Alice’s opinion, at least.
It Was Bittersweet
A bittersweet benefit of her grandmother’s passing was that Alice had been named the heir to her old home. She had spent a lot of time in the house, and she had many happy recollections of those times.
She now owned it. A wave of nostalgia struck her when she first went to the house to clean it up, look through what her grandmother left, and decide what to do with it.
There was a ton of stuff in there! And for almost every one of them, she was able to link it to a particular recollection of an experience she had shared with her grandmother.
She continued looking through all the furniture and possessions that her grandmother used to keep in the house as memories from her early years to her adolescence kept playing back in her mind. She looked through all of those items and took a trip down memory lane for a while. That’s when she noticed it.
What She Found
She took note of the aged bronze statue her grandmother had been using as a doormat. It was a lovely object that honored the Greek goddess Thetis. She was Nereus, a sea god’s daughter.
Her grandmother has a lifelong passion for mythology and ancient history. She would regale Alice with tales of ancient gods and heroes for countless hours. But it didn’t end there.
She actually adopted her grandmother’s passion. As a recent Classics graduate, Alice was planning to start her career. She had a hard time finding jobs because she did not have the most employable degree.
However, she would do it all over again if given a choice. It was her passion, but whenever she saw her low bank balance, she couldn’t help but wonder if she had made a mistake. She had no idea that her luck was about to change.
A Tough Decision
Alice made the decision that she couldn’t keep anything, despite the fact that the majority of that goods had some emotional significance to her. She would prefer to remodel the home because she planned to live there.
She would be constantly reminded of her grandma if she kept all her grandma’s things around. After all, the past belongs to the past. Therefore, she sold most of the old items. Among them was the bronze front door, which she advertised online. Soon after, a message arrived.
There was an interested buyer from the other side of the country. An anonymous prospective buyer contacted Alice moments after she posted an ad selling it for $15.
Alice was originally willing to send it to him after he paid her. Suddenly, she began to doubt herself. Is there a chance that the doorstop would be more valuable than that? In light of the fact that it raised interest so early, it wasn’t crazy to think that it could happen. She decided to have it appraised.
A nearby antique shop attracted Alice’s attention. The appraiser was given the story behind the doorstep. Taking a closer look at every detail, he spent some time handling it.
And eventually, he discovered it. Alice had overlooked something remarkable about the doorstep. To demonstrate it to her, he pulled out the blacklight lamp.
There was a hidden compartment at the bottom of the doorstep! Alice had never seen it. For all she knew, that was just a doorstep, and she didn’t know that her grandmother might have used it to store something in there.
The appraiser asked for her permission to open it. Alice agreed. Her heart was racing. What could there be inside that old Thetis statue?
It was no hidden treasure that Alice and the appraiser found inside the doorstep; it was two rolled pieces of paper. Both of them seemed pretty aged, but one more significantly so than the other.
One’s tone was yellowish, probably from the times when Alice’s grandma was young, while the other one had a brownish tone. It seemed a lot older. The appraiser took them out and handed them over to Alice.
A Message For Her Grandma
Alice unrolled the yellowish piece of paper first. Nothing in the world could have prepared her for what she read on it. It was a letter from her grandma from many years ago.
It was signed by a woman whose name Alice had never heard of before. And from the contents of the letter, it seemed like she was a woman with whom her grandma used to be romantically involved before she married her husband, Alice’s grandfather!
The Second Note
This totally blew Alice’s mind. She could have never guessed about that side of her grandma! This changed her image of her in a major way. But that wasn’t all. She still had to check the brownish note.
She unrolled it and tried to read it, but she couldn’t understand what it said. She handed it to the appraiser so he could help her. As he read it, she waited with hopeful anticipation.
There Was Something To It
As Alice watched, the appraiser’s expressions remained unreadable. However, something about the way he took his time, reading and re-reading it and going over every inch with a magnifier, seemed odd.
Alice watched with bated breath. She couldn’t kick the feeling that he was onto something. Other paranoid thoughts soon crept in too.
Since the appraiser was a professional, Alice was at his mercy. For a moment, some troubling thoughts went through her mind.
She hoped that if there were any intrinsic value to the doorstep, the appraiser would be upfront about it. If he weren’t, that would be problematic.
Alice’s biggest worry was being unsure of how to proceed. If he said it wasn’t worth much but offered to buy it, would she really ever know if he was being honest or not?
On the other hand, if he was upfront and it was worth something, how should she proceed then? Alice wasn’t sure. This was all becoming a little stressful.
Alice had heard many stories of people that struck it lucky with antique items that turned out to be real treasures. On the other hand, she’d heard just as many stories about people being swindled.
Aside from the possibly priceless nature of the statue, Alice worried that it might be valuable in other ways. Her next conundrum was an even trickier one to navigate.
Since her granda had chosen to hide the intimate notes inside the statue, she wondered if it might have meant a lot more to her.
If grandma did indeed mean for it to be kept as a family heirloom, Alice worried about letting it go too easily.
On the other hand, Alice’s inheritance had been a big help so far. However, she still did need extra income in order to be comfortable.
Her degree hadn’t quite paid off as she’d hoped, and the prospect of finding a valuable piece certainly was an exciting prospect. There was only one way to find out.
The appraiser had taken so much time examining the object. After studying the note, he went back and forth between it and examined the doorstep itself.
Alice was becoming a little impatient with expectation. All his scrutiny surely had to mean something. Or was she just being foolish like so many treasure hunters before her?
He Was Ready
At one point, the appraiser even began consulting some notes he kept in a bag. The way his expression gradually grew intense and deep in thought made Alice more anxious.
After what felt like an eternity, finally put everything down and turned to Alice. “Okay, so here’s what you have,” he said.
It turns out that the “doorstep” was really a little statue. More importantly, according to the appraiser, it was crafted by one of the most famous French sculptors of the 19th century!
Alice was already excited by this news alone. She loved old works of art and was fascinated by historical artwork. However, the appraiser wasn’t done.
A Real Heirloom
The appraiser had become a lot more animated now. Far from the stuffy, severe man he had initially been, now he spoke with a twinkle in his eye and a broad grin.
It was clear to Alice that he loved this kind of work and probably reveled in finding items like these. His excitement made Alice’s own expectations grow that much more.
As the appraiser went on, Alice became more intrigued and excited by the statue with every word. Not only had he been able to identify the piece and its time period, but the sculptor too.
As Alice listened to everything, she was intrigued. She began feeling sentimental, like she was already forming a bond with it. She wondered if it was just her that felt this way.
Did Grandma Know?
Now that Alice knew the true story behind the sculpture, she wondered if her grandma knew too. Her instincts told her she probably didn’t.
After all, she had been using it mostly as a doorstep. She realized now that it was probably just another trinket she’d picked up over the years and had no idea of its value. So what made it so valuable?
Who Was He?
According to the appraiser, the note helped reveal the truth. It said that the piece had been awarded the first prize in one of France’s most prominent sculpture contests in 1857.
That meant the statue was well over 100 years old. Alice listened intently as the appraiser went on. The best news was yet to come.
Even by the appraiser’s rudimentary first evaluation, he reckoned the pice was worth a lot. Alice was stunned when she heard just how much.
It had been locked up here for years and years. To think that grandma had a piece of history in her home all along was surprising. The appraiser’s evaluation confirmed that it was worth around $30,000!
An Honest Man
Alice was stunned and ecstatic about this fact. She breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that she had almost sold it for $15. Alice thanked the appraiser. She was relieved at his honesty.
It was clear that he was a lover of antiques and not just someone who was out to enrich himself from the ignorance of others. Now, the question remained, what to do next?
A New Beginning
Alice asked the appraiser for his opinion. He advised her that he could put her in touch with the right people and arrange a sale that would be to her benefit.
Thanking him again, she took the doorstep home, along with the two letters, and began dreaming of the possibilities. Aside from all the fond memories, her grandma had also given her a chance at a new beginning in life too.