Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
She had to pinch herself to ensure she heard correctly. She couldn’t believe that she had underestimated the doorstep. She initially discarded it as something with little to no value. Boy, was she wrong.
She did exactly what he asked her to do, and she couldn’t help but feel nervous about discovering what was hidden in the doorstep. When she spotted the note, she realized that she had made a massive mistake.
She didn’t think too much of the doorstep, believing it to be nothing out of the ordinary. It had been in her grandmother’s house for decades, and even though it looked nice, it was nothing special.
Unfortunately, her grandmother passed away, and it seemed as if the doorstep didn’t serve much of a purpose anymore. She would later regret making such a casual judgment, though.
A Broken Heart
This story follows Louisana resident Alice. Her beloved grandmother had recently passed, and she felt heartbroken. She had a very profound connection with her grandmother, she was her role model.
It felt as if Alice had lost a dear friend. For years grandmother acted as her shoulder to cry on, her number one fan, as well as her comfort. Her grandmother was an outstanding member of society and kept no secrets from anybody. That was what she believed.
Even though she had lost her grandmother, she did gain something from the loss. Her grandmother appointed her as the sole heir to her property. She basically grew up in that house, and it was filled with sweet memories of a better time.
It now belonged to her. The first day she went to clean up and take stock of her grandmother’s items, she couldn’t help but get distracted by nostalgia.
So Many Memories
Her grandmother owned so many things! Every nook and cranny was filled with something that reminded her of her childhood.
Moments from her early childhood to her adolescence started flashing back in her mind as she continued looking through all the furniture and belongings that her grandmother used to keep in the house. She took a trip down memory lane and looked through all of those things for a bit. She then abruptly noticed it.
She observed the outdated bronze statue that her grandmother had used as a doorstep. It was a lovely piece that honored the goddess Thetis in Greek mythology. She was Nereus, the son of the sea deity.
Mythology and ancient history have always piqued her grandmother’s attention. Hours would pass while she told Alice legends of ancient gods and heroes. Not only that, though.
Following Her Heart
In actuality, she had transmitted to her that fascination. With a Classics Bachelor’s degree in hand, Alice had recently graduated. She was having trouble obtaining employment as a recent graduate because her degree wasn’t the most marketable in the world.
However, she hadn’t regretted it at all. She was passionate about it. Her bank account, however, sometimes prompted her to wonder whether she ought to have studied something else extracurricular. In her ignorance, she had no idea that her luck was about to change.
Making A House Into Her Home
Alice realized she couldn’t retain everything, despite the fact that most of it had some sentimental importance to her. Since she planned to live there, she would want to remodel the house.
Alice would be continually reminded of her grandmother if she kept all of her grandma’s possessions around. But the past was, after all, the past. She consequently made the decision to sell the majority of the outdated goods. She placed some of them online, including the bronze doorstop. And then, after a few days, she received an email.
A Lot Of Interest
The door was being sought after by buyers from all around the nation. Minutes after Alice put up an advertisement selling it for $15, an unidentified potential buyer got in touch with her.
In the beginning, Alice agreed to send it after he transfered money to her account. Afterwards, she began to second guess herself. What if the doorstep had a higher value? The fact that the interest was rising so early raised no doubt that this was a possibility. Her next step was to have it appraised.
What Was It’s Value?
Alice then made her way to a local antique store. She delivered it to the appraiser while telling him about the door’s history. He handled it for some time, exploring every crevice.
It took him some time to find it. Despite Alice’s attention to detail, there was something peculiar about the doorstep that she missed. To show her what it was, he pulled out the blacklight lantern.
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 for 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 was any intrinsic value to the doorstep, the appraiser would be upfront about it. If he wasn’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 examining the doorstep itself.
Alice was becoming a little impatient with expectations. 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 piece 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 the chance at a new beginning in life too.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.