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home : columnists : columnists April 15, 2014

11/27/2013 8:55:00 AM
Along the Way...

Their collectibles and antiques may not have been worth as much as they hoped... but the stories they told were "priceless!" And like the old TV advertisements for MasterCard... our hearts were touched.

The Antique and Collectible Appraisal Event with Mark Moran was sponsored by the Cannon Falls library for three hours recently. There was no charge to the folks bringing their items. And if you didn't bring anything, you still got to learn how things were valued and the stories of those who brought them.

Moran has been an antique and fine art appraiser for over 20 years. He is co-author of over 25 books on antiques and collectibles. He'll be on the Antiques Roadshow TV program in the near future.

One thing he wanted the audience to know is that he never offers to buy or sell the items he appraises. He just provides information ...

Like the name of a website where you can check out the value of old books: www.abebooks.com ... or the concern when looking at the matting of pictures if there is "mat burn." This is a brownish color caused by acidic mats which can creep in from the outside onto the displayed piece. Although I liked the effect, now I'll know what it might be doing.

And then he showed how you can use a flashlight or magnifying glass when looking at a picture or a piece of sculpture. Here Moran and Heidi Helgren find the name of the artist of the nicknamed: "Naked Lady" sculpture, by Paul Gramlin. Heidi explained that this piece had been in the library for 20 years but they didn't know why. Value: $400-500.

I didn't get the values for every item because I was busy trying to take pictures and mainly because I got so interested in hearing their stories!

Al Johnson displayed a beautiful bisque vase he had purchased for his mother at the time of WWII when he was in Odessa, Russia. How sweet to think of him as a young man buying something for his mother... because she liked vases... but how careful you had to be when trying to bring it back home! (I think an afghan or wood sculpture would have been easier to trek around with Al!)

Lee Ellison showed a beautiful "turn of the century" silver overlaid vase from 1890-1910. One of a kind piece. Her husband inherited it.

Unusual pieces were the walrus cribbage boards from Jim Flakne. And then there was the cast iron peanut dispenser brought by Ray Meglic.

Helen Baughmann had Oriental porcelain with a raised design that might be 100 years old. Moran valued it at $20-$35.

Cindy Molenaar showed a silk screen 1967 "mid century modern" picture whose style is very popular now, Moran explained.

Gayle Finne had a photo mechanical print made up of dots from around 1900. Moran used the magnifying glass to see them.

And then we saw the antique musical revolving Christmas tree stand from 1932-34 that one person's mother had bought. Moran explained that one had sold recently for $500-$600.

I was fascinated when I saw it because it looked like the one I found in my uncle's estate 40 years ago. But I couldn't get it to work and it got thrown away!

What did I keep? A small old brass tray. The appraiser said it reminded him of one his grandmother kept ribbon candy in. It's worth about $2.

I could only smile... it's the memories that are "priceless."

(Local cable channel 12 will broadcast the event next month will be available online at cannonfallstv.org. Videoed by Mike Gesme and Dick Mensing.)

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