This is a miniature, handmade Chinese rain jacket made of frayed coconut fibers. I guessed more, but it was appraised at about $300. Photos by Jory Westberry
The Marco Island Historical Society Appraisal Faire on March 3rd at the newly redesigned Mackle Park Recreation Center was one of those events that brought out the best in almost everyone. The appraisers from the renowned PBS “Antiques Roadshow,” Wes Cowan, Nan Chisholm and Ken Farmer were enthusiastic, congenial and incredibly knowledgeable about antiques and some items that were brought in, well, “wouldn’t be antiques for another hundred years or so.” But you had to hand it to the appraisers for their honesty, even though the owner’s disappointment in the verdict was clearly evident.
This very old, well preserved sampler was appraised at $9,000.
Wes Cowan’s Auctions appraisers also joined in the Faire and scrutinized the objects d’art or objects not so d’art, including Pauline Archambault (Fine Art Specialist) and Brad Wanstrath (Director of Fine Jewelry and Timepieces). All of the appraisers scrutinized each piece brought to their attention, and if they weren’t positive, checked their computers for documentation and shared the research with their clients.
Ken Farmer (left) and Wes Cowan collaborating on the year this table was made and whether it was bronze. It was not as valuable as the owners hoped it would be.
What was the event all about? In my opinion, it was to have fun, put your questions about your priceless gee-gaws to rest AND most of all raise funds to bring the Key Marco Cat back to the Marco Island Historical Museum from the Smithsonian in Washington, DC along with additional artifacts from the University of Pennsylvania to be displayed. Extensive planning has gone into this dream and fundraising is a big part of making it a reality. Thank you to all the participants, volunteers, employees, venders, donators, historical reenactors, music man Steve Reynolds and, of course, Mother Nature for the beautiful day. Here’s what happened.
One of many original paintings brought in for appraisal. The frame was also amazing.
Owners brought everything from paintings to rugs, grandpa’s watches, statues, samplers, pieces of china, tables, chairs, folk art, rings, lamps, clocks, vases, gold doubloons, old wooden boxes, etchings, a child’s toy horse, carved ivory… you get the idea. The photos are of a few of the treasures that were appraised as spectators tried to guess the amount from nearby. I wasn’t the only one that was “off” on most of my estimates.
If you guessed the black statue, you’re right! It was appraised at more than $10,000, only $9,800+ more than the brown one! Which statue is more valuable? The brown one was created by a Hollywood actor and is signed. The black one is a mystery.
There were many interesting paintings that were brought, some that appeared “old” and were not worth much and some that were surprising. A common suggestion by the attendees was to always look around you for things of value in unsuspected places, like yard sales.
Samplers have always intrigued me, and the woman who brought in the one pictured said it had been in the family for years. It looked verrrry old and I guessed, because of its condition, that it might be worth a few hundred dollars. Well, wrong again! This gem appraised at $9,000 and would have been twice that if it was clean. The embroidery was meticulous and that counted for much of its value along with the signature, date, seals and pictures. The earliest samplers were found in Egyptian burial grounds. Who knew? In the 16th century, the sampler was defined as “an exampler for a woman to work by; an exemple [sic],” according to John Palsgrave’s Anglo- French dictionary (1530). It was a source that women could use to practice their embroidery skills, including patterns and types of stitches. A sampler showed their growing expertise as they continued to practice from childhood to being more experienced and proficient.
To feel the anticipation in the air, watch the participants with their treasures and witness the talent of the five appraisers was exciting. The Marco Island Historical Society scored a 10 on this event and if there’s another event like it, I’m bringing all my junk, I mean treasures, to be appraised.
Jory Westberry has been a dedicated educator for over 40 years, the last 14 as Principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary, where she left her heart. Life is rich with things to learn, ponder and enjoy so let’s get on with the journey together!