National Rarities' June Employee Spotlight
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National Rarities' June Employee Spotlight

National Rarities' June Employee Spotlight

Throughout the years we have watched our team grow with experience! This month we would love to highlight an employee brimming with experience in his craft. Derrick Leu is our Estate Specialist, GIA AJP and is an amazing part of our team.

Join us as we celebrate our employee of the month, Derrick!

Q1: Describe a brief history of yourself and your relevant training

Native to St. Louis & Chicago, during my earlier years I studied art education and music performance. I later completed my BA in Studio Art Photography with a Master of Arts in Teaching at Webster University. While I went into education to teach, ultimately it was my interest in learning the science and history of items that has driven my decisions, including why I enjoy working at National Rarities. In addition to teaching, over the past 20 years I've photographed corporate events, commercial real estate, weddings, and provided commercial studio photography services for universities, art museums, and commercial retailers. Over the last year with National Rarities I've traveled to a dozen cities and I've learned a lot. Most recently I obtained my Applied Jewelry Professional Certification from Gemological Institute of America.

Q2: What does a typical day look like for you at NR on and off the road?

Like many of our estate buyers, traveling means visiting a lot of cities and the opportunity to work alongside some of the most reputable jewelers around the country. I get to meet a lot of people and see many interesting items and sometimes hear interesting stories. When back at the office in St. Louis, I spend most of my time researching, photographing, listing items for auction, and drinking coffee.

Q3: What is your favorite thing about working at National Rarities?

My favorite thing about working at National Rarities is seeing the variety of historical items that we purchase and sell. I am always learning something new whether it's turn of the century jewelry, rare coins, or other historical memorabilia.

Q4: What is your favorite piece that you have purchased or sold? Do you have a story behind it?

I always enjoy the science and craft that went into creating vintage photographs, particularly tintype and daguerreotypes. However, of equal interest is the historical context or story that a photograph tells. There are many favorites, but this photo of Reagan, Carter, and Ford, presumably laughing in response to a toast from Nixon, tells a story simply by the expressions of everyone in the room. Nixon's favorite drink was said to be red wine but he was also known to like his irish coffee.

Photo of Nixon, Reagan, Carter, and Ford