Published: October 26, 2010
George Michael of Merrimack died on October 13; he was 91.
He entered the antiques and auction business in 1950 with the opening of the Strafford County Auction Exchange in his hometown, Rochester, N.H.. He operated this until 1967 when he and his family moved to Merrimack where he continued his activities as auctioneer, dealer and appraiser. In 1963, he was engaged by National Public Television to create a series of programs on antiques, which were shown coast to coast. This association with PBS continued until 1985. Most credit him with educating the public on collecting everything from Queen Anne highboys to collectibles, which resulted in the growth of group shops, shows and flea markets.
Michael pursued a career in radio and television, which extended from before World War II and after the war until 1950 He served with the American Corps of Engineers, the US Merchant Marine and the Royal Canadian Engineers between 1942 and 1945. He returned to work for General Electric at WGY/WGFM/ WRGB in Schenectady, N.Y. This was the home of a 50-kilowatt AM station, the second licensed FM station and one of the only four TV stations on the air until 1948.
Michael joined the National Auctioneers Association in 1951 and lectured and taught at many of its seminars and conventions. In 1986, he was entered into the NAA Hall of Fame, the first auctioneer from New England so honored. He was instrumental in founding the New Hampshire Auctioneers Association in 1953 and served as its first president, then secretary for 26 years.
In 1967, he wrote his first book on antiques and followed this with six more. His latest is Mr Antiques’ Basic Book of Antiques, published by Krause. He served as editor of the National Antiques Review and the Antiques Gazette. He wrote weekly for the Christian Science Monitor between 1967 and 1969, and then joined the Boston Sunday Globe to serve as its antiques editor through 1971. This was followed by a long writing association with the Manchester Union Leader and NH Sunday News, and the creation of a syndicated column. His writings have appeared in antiques and auction trade journals from coast to coast for many years.
Once when asked about what he believed was his greatest achievement in the trade, he said that he helped found the National Antiques Review in 1969 for the sole purpose of informing the public of what antiques and collectibles were worth, and when and where sold. He wrote the first article published in July 1969, which covered the action at an auction on Cape Cod, and developed a cadre of writers who covered both auctions and shows with pictures and prices. Most every trade publication has included this editorial policy since that time. He stated that his intent with his TV shows and writings was to inform, educate and entertain people in the antiques and auction fields.
Michael was predeceased in 2008 by his wife Elizabeth, whom he married in 1946. He is survived by his sons Gregory, Glenn, Geoffrey, Gary and Gerald, as well as three grandchildren: Grant, Ginelle and Gwendolyn. At his request, there will be no funeral and memorial services. Remembrances may be sent to the New Hampshire Auctioneers Association Memorial Scholarship fund, 263 Dover Road, Chichester, NH 03258-6523.
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