LARGO — Hand-me-down dolls, paintings, books. Are they worth some cash? Or more worthy of the trash?
Many an heir of such items have asked themselves this burning question. Saturday offers a chance to find the answer.
Ten appraisers, armed with books, computers and a wealth of experience will be on hand during the 15th annual Antique Appraisal Fair at Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N in Largo. The fair, sponsored by the Pinellas County Historical Society, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Pinellas Room.
Appraisers will offer a broad spectrum of information on the spot. Specialties include pre-1950s dolls, Victorian mourning jewelry, Oriental rugs, paintings, prints, books, nautical and scientific instruments, guns and armor, quilts, collectible glassware, pottery, stringed musical instruments and early Americana photography.
"We've had some very interesting things brought in over the years. We've appraised items up to $5,000, but those are rare," said Jody Stanley, the fair's chair. "It helps if people know the history of the item; hopefully it's a good one."
Stanley's a member of Quester, an international organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of antiquities, buildings and historic sites.
Age, condition and rarity are key when determining value, she said. Appraisers look for marks, logos, lines and signatures. Materials, patterns, style, artisanship and colors also offer clues. Appraisals are for approximate value only, based on current market conditions.
"Really, an object is only worth what another person is willing to pay," she said.
Laura Collum of Collum Antiques in Belleair Bluffs will be appraising decoys among other things. Some of the ducky treasures can be quite priceless.
"The record for a single decoy at an auction is $1.5 million," she said.
Fees are $5 per item or $12 for three. Proceeds benefit Heritage Village, a 21-acre living history museum operated by Pinellas County.
Antique furniture will also be appraised; bring photos for large pieces. Assistance is provided for those who need help carrying in items; extra spaces for handicapped parking will be available.
If you find your heirloom isn't worth a lot, you may not want toss it in the trash. Consider selling it through a newspaper classified ad, on eBay or Craigslist, or during a garage sale.
Or maybe just set it out for display. If Granny's teacups revive cherished memories of afternoon teas with dainty finger sandwiches, well, that's priceless.
Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.