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Rare finds raise Hospice funds

January 27, 2003|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

One of the nation's rarest guns might have passed through Tom Millay's hands Saturday morning.

Millay, a gun appraiser, said he thinks he appraised a Confederate revolver worth $40,000 to $50,000 at the Hospice of the Panhandle's third annual Antique Appraisal Fair in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The gun, a Schneider & Glassick, was manufactured in Memphis, Tenn., for Confederate soldiers. The revolver is rare because Union troops burned the factory before the guns could go into mass production, Millay said.

He said the whereabouts of all but three of the 50 guns that were made are unknown.

"It looks original. I was fascinated that that gun showed up," he said.

He said more research would need to be done on the gun to ensure its authenticity.

Millay said that while the Civil War revolver looked genuine, it is sometimes not too difficult to pick out guns that have restored or are replicas.

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"You look for things that just don't fit," such as differences in the color of the wood, Millay said. "When people fool with things, it hurts the value."

Millay was one of about 12 appraisers on hand for the fair, which raised $6,000 for Hospice. That's $3,000 more than Hospice raised at last year's fair, Marketing and Development Director Kathie Campbell said.

The fair was held at the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department.

Campbell said the mother of Hospice Executive Director Margaret Cogswell suggested having the appraisal fairs as a fund-raiser because she thought it would be neat.

Campbell also said that because the appraisals are verbal instead of written, it's less expensive to those who want an idea of what their antiques are worth.

People paid $25 to have three items appraised or $10 for one item.

"We wanted it to be not too expensive," Campbell said.

In additions to guns, items brought in for estimates included jewelry, baseball memorabilia, pottery, books, musical instruments and toys and dolls.

Peggy Hendricks of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she was surprised to learn an antique Nippon pitcher she had appraised was worth about $900.

Hendricks, who had another pitcher just like it at home, said she paid $120 apiece for them at an auction 35 years ago.

"I'm coming next year with some more things," she said.

Ann Wayt of Martinsburg found out her mint condition 1896 William Tell bank was worth about $2,800.

"I figured it was fairly valuable because it's in mint condition," Wayt said.

The cast-iron bank replicates Tell shooting an apple off his son's head. To operate, the barrel of Tell's gun is pulled back and a coin is placed on the barrel. When Tell's boot is pushed, the coin shoots off the gun, knocks the apple off the boy's head and flies into castle behind the boy.

"It's just kind of a fun little piece," said Wayt, who keeps the bank on her mantle.

Wayt said the bank belonged to the father of her husband, Jerry.

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