Appraisers to give free estimates of antiques' worth

Ever wonder how much that plate your grandmother gave you was worth? Or maybe the gold watch passed down through your family?

You'll have a chance to ask an appraiser those questions at the next "Discover Your Treasures" fund-raiser July 16 at Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Mass.


What: "Discover Your Treasures," a fund-raiser for Watkins Community Museum of History.When: From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 16.Where: Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Mass.For more information: Call 841-4109.

Beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing for six hours, five experts will offer identifications and verbal estimates of antiques and collectibles brought in by the public.

David Solomons, former member of the Watkins Museum board of directors who originated the fund-raising idea, is an expert in decorative arts, coins, porcelain and glass. He's an accredited appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers, has had a retail presence in northeast Kansas for six years and is owner of Solomons Antique Gallery in Baldwin.

To avoid the bottleneck that occurred at previous "Discover Your Treasures" events, Terry McKinley, a generalist who is knowledgeable about a number of different categories of antiques, will be available.

"I have been involved with antiques since I partnered in a shop right out of college," she said. "Then I traveled from New York to Colorado doing antique shows for a year."

She is now a retailer at the Mission Road Antique Mall, where she specializes in Royal Dalton, Hummels, art pottery, ceramics and porcelain.

Angela Conrad, a Lawrence antique dealer who recently opened My Father's Daughter on Massachusetts Street, has been a collector of antiques for 25 years. She has 20 years experienced in retail sales, including two years with Antiques on Mass in the Eldridge Hotel and the operation of a booth at the Mission Road Antique Mall in Kansas City.

Conrad's areas of expertise include Victorian antiques, clothing, linens and textiles, Christmas collectibles, Majolica, costume jewelry, watches and collectible dolls.

Gary Strong, another Lawrence dealer who owns Strong's Antiques, does appraisals for insurance companies and credits much of his knowledge to his 30 years of experience in furniture restoration. He is an expert in furniture, clocks, toys, tools, lamps and Carnival and Depression glass.

Ann Homburger got her interest in antiques from her mother, who was an antique dealer for 30 years and was one of the original retailers in the Mission Road Antique Mall. Her strength is jewelry -- Victorian through the 1960s -- as well as sterling silver, copper, combs, pattern glass, German china, micromosaics and Italian mosaics.

Although evaluations will be verbal, volunteer scribes will be available to take notes on what each appraiser says about identification, a brief history and the range of estimated value. These notes will be provided to the owner. Anyone wanting a signed appraisal can negotiate with the individual dealer-appraiser to have that done at another time.

Beginning Tuesday, tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays at the museum. Fees are $10 for one item or $25 for three items.

People are limited to three appraisals. A necklace and matching earrings or brooch would be considered one item, but a box of jewelry would not, Steven Jansen, museum director, said.

Kathy Heerwald, co-coordinator of the fund-raiser, said reservations should be purchased to schedule with an appraiser of one's choice and to avoid standing in line.

Although no appraiser will leave the museum to inspect an item, Jansen said photographs of an item, as well as a record of any labels, hallmark, name and location of the manufacturer, can be brought to an appraiser instead of the actual item for estimation or value and identification.

"If an item is difficult to carry up the front steps," Jansen said, "arrangements can be made at the front door to use the elevator on the ground floor."


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