Hidden treasures come to light at fundraiser

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jewelry appraiser S. Quinn McCarthy investigates heirloom jewelry pieces brought in by Nancy Faust to the Hidden Treasures fundraiser for Riddick’s Folly House Museum on Saturday.

Even though the rain put a damper on the annual Hidden Treasures antiques appraisal show hosted by Riddick’s Folly, the event still had plenty of high points.

There was the woman who brought in a Whitney revolver and holster passed down in the family from a Union officer. Civil War expert Shannon Pritchard valued it at $2,000.

“They were Yankees, but I don’t hold that against them,” he said.

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Lee King, the curator of Riddick’s Folly, saw an Indian portrait on rawhide and valued it at $3,000. Book and autograph expert Tennyson Williams placed a value of $2,000 on a baseball signed by the New York Yankees of the early ‘60s, including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris.

The annual fundraiser for Riddick’s Folly House Museum did not raise as much money as organizers hoped. Visitors paid $7 per item to have their possessions appraised by a panel of experts in all manner of subject areas, from furniture and documents to books and dolls.

But fewer than 70 people had shown up to the National Guard Armory by 2 p.m., though some of them brought several items. The ones who did show up, though, had stories to tell.

Vanessa Hanshaw and her sister-in-law, Amanda Lane, brought a photograph Hanshaw’s aunt purchased at a concert many years ago. The publicity photo showed the Jackson Five singing group – but, unfortunately, it wasn’t signed by any of the members.

Williams valued it at $25 to $30. “Tell her I said she should have got it signed,” he said.

“Well, $25 is better than throwing it away,” Hanshaw said on her way out. “I’ve got to tell her, from here on, get this stuff signed.”

Nancy Faust brought several pieces of gold jewelry and heirloom dress pins to be appraised.

“I’m just curious,” she said. “I’m not planning on selling it – unless it’s worth a million dollars. Then I’ll sell it.”

With gold topping out at $1,662 per ounce this weekend, it wouldn’t take much gold to reach that amount, appraiser Quinn McCarthy said.

“Gold is ridiculous,” McCarthy said of the price, mentioning she had seen a lot of gold during Saturday’s event, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Don Farokhpour, an electrician and odd-job handyman, brought some sets of old books to be appraised at the event. He said he acquires a lot of items when he warns customers that their attic is a fire hazard, and they pay him to clean it out.

“A lot of books are in attics,” he said. “I don’t want to throw books away. Next thing you know, there’s no more room for them.”

He brought in several sets of books on Civil War figures, including Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. But Williams said the condition of the books did not warrant placing much value on them.

“Due to the conditions, they’re not worth very much, but it was worth it to find out,” Farokhpour said.

Even some of the volunteer appraisers learned something new at the event.

“This lady had a little porcelain figurine of a lady and a man sitting at a table having tea,” Mindy Coburn said. “At first I thought it was just the figure, but when I picked it up off the base, there was an inkwell inside.

“Now I know when I’m at a sale, I should pick up the figurines and see if there’s anything inside,” she said.