A couple of weeks ago, our library was lucky enough to host Mark Moran-a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. The Friends of the Library covered his fee and Mark came out to Rice Lake for a three hour appraisal session with more than 40 community members. It was, quite honestly, a blast! Mark was personable and interesting and shared some tricks of the trade, such as that the websites findartinfo.com and artnet.com can be used together to determine an item’s value without joining either site. Or that the best site to get book values is abebooks.com.
We also learned that a hair receiver was part of a Victorian dresser top set. Women would brush their hair and place the hairs into the receiver. When they had collected enough, they would use the hair to make keepsakes such as watch fobs. See an example here.
Some of the items our patrons brought in had low value but were lovely to look at. One woman was very excited to learn that the $7 painting she bought at a sale which her son hated with a passion was worth $40. “Wait until I call him tonight!” she exclaimed. Another’s very interesting plate featuring Mephistopheles (her mother-in-law felt that her preacher husband needed a little devil in the house) turned out to be valued at more than $2,000! Of course, the big winner was a woman who’s family land deed held the signature of a founding father. That well worn piece of goatskin was valued at approximately $30,000! She’ll be authenticating and insuring that family heirloom thanks to this event.
Regardless of the final values, everyone really enjoyed seeing the treasures their neighbors brought to share and we can’t wait to bring Mark back to Rice Lake again.