Hidden Treasures coming to Suffolk

Published 7:34 pm Thursday, March 10, 2011

Participants in a past Hidden Treasures stand with a picture appraised at the show. The show has been held almost every year since 1999. This year’s show will be held at the Suffolk National Guard Armory in mid-March.

Patrons at the Riddick’s Folly Hidden Treasures appraisals show have discovered the monetary value of their heirlooms and possessions for more than 12 years.

Patrons have found dueling pistols appraised at over $7,000; Britain’s toy lead soldiers appraised at $2,000; Confederate ambrotypes valued at $2,500 and $3,500; a cigar vending machine at over $500; two samplers valued at $5,500; a 1795 $10 gold coin valued at over $35,000 and more.

“You never know what’s coming in,” said Lee King, curator of Riddick’s Folly and certified appraiser. Appraisers will evaluate just about anything at the show, which will be held March 26.

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The Hidden Treasures show started in 1999 after King and his wife visited the Antiques Road Show in Richmond. Hidden Treasures began as a fundraiser to help Riddick’s Folly acquire a needlework that was created by a member of the Riddick family. It has been held almost every year in March since then.

They can appraise books and publications, Civil War artifacts and firearms, clocks, coins and currency, dolls, furniture, glass, jewelry, quilts and samplers, paintings and prints, primitives and folk art, porcelain, silver, toys and games and an assortment of miscellaneous items.

“The only thing we don’t appraise is stamps,” King said. “It’s fun. It’s almost as much fun to see what everybody else brings in as what you brought in.”

King decided that March was a good time to hold the event, as it is a time when many people begin their spring-cleaning and sometimes find items in the attic and other storage areas that they may like to have appraised. He also said that he wanted to hold the event after the Suffolk Art League’s Antique Show and Sale because many people purchase items at that event that they would like to have appraised.

As he put it, “People are already interested in what you’re doing.”

King has seen people come in with items were valued at a lot less than they thought they would be, but he has also seen people come in and discover their items were worth a lot more than they thought.

“It can go either way,” he said.

In years past, people have come in with documents signed by certain historically significant people like Albert Einstein and Gen. John Bell Hood of the Confederate army. The 14 documents signed by Einstein, some of which were written by Einstein, were appraised at $110,000. King said that if the documents had been discussing Einstein’s theory of relativity, they would have been appraised at $25,000 per document.

The Hood letters were appraised at $10,000, and as the owner of the documents said they were purchased at a yard sale for significantly less. The owner said when he purchased them at the yard sale, he believed were fake or reproduced. He was surprised to find that they were the original documents.

King explained that the rarity of items, novelty, age and historical significance could make the difference in how valuable the piece may be.

However, “It doesn’t have to be old to be valuable,” he said.

“So many things have been discarded only because they didn’t realize what it was and the value of it,” King said.

The show will be held on Saturday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Suffolk National Guard Armory on Godwin Boulevard. Appraisals cost $7 per item; however, certain items are priced on a sliding scale. For example, you could get a suitcase full of coins appraised for $25. All of the money raised through the event goes toward restoring and operating Riddick’s Folly. For more information, call 934-0822.