Is it trash or treasure?

Museum appraisal fair provides some answers
Apr. 06, 2013 @ 06:19 PM

Folks trailed into the High Point Museum Saturday lugging the most peculiar assortment of items: a blue-eyed stuffed teddy bear, a 3-foot-tall glass vase, wooden boxes, an old banjo with broken strings and plenty of small items wrapped in newspaper and stowed in cardboard boxes.
They came to find out if possessions pulled from corners of their homes were trash or treasure at the museum’s “Evaluation Extravaganza.” The yearly appraisal session always is popular and has become moreso in recent years with the popularity of TV shows such as “Antiques Roadshow” on Public Broadcasting Service and those that followed it. By midday Saturday, approximately 100 people had items appraised by five local evaluators.
Elaine Ayers of Welcome traveled all the way to High Point to find out that her beloved Steiff stuffed rabbit, Old Blue Eyes, is worth $100-$150, but the value didn’t much matter.
“Old Blue Eyes’ isn’t for sale,” Ayers said firmly as she held the 50-year-old treasure as if she’d know it for a while, which indeed she has. Named Old Blue Eyes because of his — and it is a male rabbit, Ayers said — bright blue eyes and nothing to do with Frank Sinatra, Ayers’ old friend was the Easter display rabbit at the candy store in Welcome her father owned.
Each year, her father took her and her sister to the candy convention in Philadelphia, Pa., where the Steiff toy company set up a vendor display. Each year she and her sister were able to pick out a toy, but Old Blue Eyes is the one that still has Ayers’ heart, even though it scares her grandchildren.
Anne Andrews of High Point, a founding board member of the museum and now a volunteer, brought in a wood flat-desk that she knew had been in her family, from Hillsborough, at least since her grandmother’s time.
David Kane, of DALA Antiques in Greensboro, was able to tell her more about the portable desk based on his knowledge of antiques. The stylized thistles on each corner of the top and the fact that the desk was made of mahogany told him the origin probably was England or Scotland and that it likely was created circa 1850. 
Andrews did a quick calculation and determined that the flat-desk probably belonged to her great-grandmother, maybe even her great-great-grandmother.
Appraiser George Ellis of Ellis Auction Company in Thomasville, shared one of his trade secrets with a couple who brought in a carved coral necklace, porcelain and other items. He turned his laptop computer around and showed the couple how he checks on eBay to see how much items sold for, rather than how much was being asked for them.

vknopfler@hpe.com / 888-3601