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Impolite to tell price of gift to lady

Fri., May 25, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an antiques preservator, and recently single. My ex died in October; I was faithful to her until the end, as she was to me. It was clear that we had too many deep-seated differences to remarry.

But now things are different. I have gone to church with two ladies most all of our lives; we are all in our 50s. But still we really don’t know much about each other.

The first lady is my late ex’s cousin. I restored a set of living room tables for her, as a gift for the chance to feel her out, so to speak, in her own house. I found that there were family or clan behaviors in her manner that I have a hard time agreeing with.

The second lady I gave a handmade 1930s gate-leg table, in order to have innocent contact with her to see what makes her tick. From the thanks I got from her, she has no earthly idea as to the worth of the table.

I had it appraised at the best consignment shop in town that caters to more high-end customers. I don’t know if indeed she does like it or not. Should I tell the worth of it? Suggest she have it appraised herself? Or leave it alone?

GENTLE READER: Please forgive Miss Manners for thinking that this question would turn out to be more interesting than it did. All that intriguing background about your romantic ties, and all you need to know is how to alert someone that your present is worth more than she seems to think.

It’s a perfectly legitimate question, and Miss Manners wouldn’t have been able to evaluate your prospects for you, anyway.

Of course, no gentleman would tell the price of a present he gave. But you could say, “You might think of insuring that, in which case you should have it appraised.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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