They came with prized heirlooms, objets d’art, paintings, baubles, bangles, beads and more, seeking knowledge from the possessor of the practiced eye.
It was a scene that mirrored the popular PBS television show “Antiques Roadshow,” only this was the local version, which unfolded recently at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. Entitled “What Have You Got? Special Art, Antique and Treasure Appraisal Event,” the evening saw Rick Gannon, of Gannon’s Antiques and Art, in Fort Myers, assessing the value of prized possessions for the curious.
“What Have You Got?” was the brainchild of Vince Magee and Tina Nash of the Marco Island office of the event’s sponsor, Morgan Stanley financial services.
“What we were trying to do tonight was emulate the ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ ” said Magee, at the evening’s close. “It wasjust the idea that people come to Florida, Marco Island in particular, and they bring those family novelty items and I thought it would give people an idea of the items’ value, aside from the value they see in it themselves.”
Sal Iannotta, 80, of Marco was the first to be served of the roughly 25 people who came seeking information on the history and value of their antiques. In his case, it was an ornate, hand-carved, wooden chair and a painting of the Madonna and baby Jesus, both of passed down to him from his paternal grandmother.
“My grandmother was a countess over in Italy,” said Iannotta. “She married my grandfather, who was a palace guard, so they were excommunicated because he wasn’t of royal blood. This was probably in the family forcenturies and it was moved from one place to another, the same way it came to America.”
The native New Yorker said the chair holds special significance.
“I was given this when I had my first communion,” he said. “I had my pictures taken on it so my grandmother said, ‘Since you got your picture taken on it and nobody else did, it’s your chair.’ ”
Gannon identified it as a bishop’s chair that probably dates back 250 to 300 years. “Maybe even the late 1600s,” he added. He placed the value at $600 to $800, adding that the price would be higher if it were part of a set of four.
The painting, he said, was probably created in the mid-1600s to the mid-1700s, but its origins are not in Italy, as Iannotta thought, butin Greece.
Iannotta said he and his wife, Johanna, came because, “We’ve had these things in the house for such a long time and we always wanted to know what the value was. We came down and got an idea of what they’re worth and how old they are and now I can say to my two sons, ‘Which one of you wants one or two of these items,’ and they’ll be left in the family.”
Gannon frequently broke out his jeweler’s loupe to examine the many pieces of jewelry or jewel encrusted pieces that he examined. He placed the value of the jewelry he examined as low as $25 to $30 and as high as $5,500 to $6,000.
He also appraised such items as a small Civil War era traveling trunk, porcelain figurines, a19th Century writing desk, an early 1800s sterling silver basket and a pre-1951 Martin acoustic guitar in pristine condition.
Denice Eugenides journeyed from Naples to have her early 1900s Hudson River Valley painting by H. Hobart Nichols appraised.
“The painting needs a little bit of restoration, but I just wanted to get some sort of idea about the value since I’ve had it for about 20 years,” she said.
She said this was her first brush with an appraiser.
“I love the Antiques Roadshow, like so many others and when I saw it in the local paper, I asked my friend Marcie to come join me and experience it and it was terrific. Everyone brought in such unique objects, from jewelry, to statues, to chairs to regular artwork. I thought it was really interesting”
For more information about Gannon’s Antiques and Art visit gannonantiques.com.