Antiques given honest appraisal

November 07, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Shirley Martin was disappointed that the glass slipper that belonged to her husband's great-great-grandmother wasn't as valuable as the one Cinderella lost at the ball.

But still the Fayetteville, Pa., woman said she really enjoyed the experience at the first antique appraisal day held Saturday at the Renfrew Museum.

"They said such slippers were a dime a dozen but I don't believe it," she said with a smile. "It's valuable to me."

George Martin's "treasure" was an old brass fire extinguisher that came from the wall of an old barn. He didn't fare much better.


Nearly 240 people signed up for the unique opportunity to bring antiques and family keepsakes to be appraised or at least illuminated by a panel of experts.

"The event was supposed to open at 10 a.m. Saturday but when I got here at 9 a.m., a man pulled in behind me with an antique trunk in his vehicle," said Jeffrey Bliemeister, museum curator.

A fund-raiser for the museum, each item was appraised for $3 each.

Patterned after the popular television show, "Antique Roadshow," the all-day event featured a volunteer panel of antique dealers, auctioneers, educators and collectors.

They included Ed Henicle, Clarke Hess, Matt Hurley, John Hykes, Budd Moore, Emma Lohman, Alesia Permansu and Phyllis Potter.

Typical of those who came to the event was the Norwich family from Orrtanna, Pa.

Dean Norwich was hoping to learn more about three pieces he had purchased in recent years to display in his 18th century home.

"I'm not looking so much for an appraisal as I am for the history of the items," Dean Norwich said.

An unusual pottery necklace with Indian characteristics was the first item he displayed to the experts.

Both Hess and Hykes took a look and agreed that there seemed to be an Aztec influence in the pieces which purportedly came from a small town near San Antonio, Tex.

But beyond that, they were stumped as to the value or whether the beads were even authentic. They were only able to concur with Dean Norwich that they had been restrung on modern string at some point in time.

A copper teapot was also found to be Middle Eastern rather than Early American - another disappointment.

The last hope was being held by Robbie Norwich, 10, who clutched three copper-bottom frying pans with long wrought iron handles, hooked for hanging.

Hess and Hykes agreed that the three pans were not Early American as the Norwiches had hoped. But all agreed that they were still handsome and would look good hanging from an old kitchen fireplace.

And the experts predicted the three-piece set would probably bring several hundred dollars if sold.

That got a rise out of the third member of the family - six-year-old Jonathan - who admitted he was just "along for the ride" Saturday.

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