Antique Appraisal Day brings hidden treasures to light

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 14, 2013

 Painting appraiser LaVere Webster and a happy collector at the Rochester-Avon Historical Society’s 2012 Antique Appraisal Day.

Painting appraiser LaVere Webster and a happy collector at the Rochester-Avon Historical Society’s 2012 Antique Appraisal Day.

Photo provided

ROCHESTER — Those forgotten family heirlooms and other old collectibles gathering dust in the basement could earn you some cold hard cash.

The public is invited to bring their antique treasures to Rochester-Avon Historical Society’s Antique Appraisal Day — held noon-4 p.m. March 3 at the Rochester Community House, 816 Ludlow — and have their value assessed by 10 certified appraisers. Admission to the event is free and open to anyone in the tri-county area, but appraisals — which are verbal only — are $5 per item.

Last year, approximately 434 appraisals were conducted during the event, according to Antique Appraisal Day chair Carol Tough.

“It was very successful last year, and we’re hoping to even increase the numbers this year for our 20th annual event,” she said. “There is a friend of mine who is coming all the way from Charlevoix … and she has 23 items already loaded and ready to go.”

Rochester-Avon Historical Society member Rod Wilson said people are always surprised to find out what their items are really worth.

“Last year, a gentleman walked in with a coverlet wrapped around a statue of a nude woman. He was there to have the statue appraised, but my wife, Susan Wilson, spotted it and said, ‘The coverlet is valuable also.’ He said, ‘Well, this is the dog’s blanket.’ The coverlet was appraised at $1,000, so he was pretty happy. He said the dog wasn’t going to be sleeping on it anymore,” Wilson said. “His statue did not get appraised that high.”

A few years ago, Wilson said, a woman brought in an oil painting that appraised somewhere between $75,000 and $95,000.

“The lady did sell it in a DuMouchelles auction for over $100,000. She was very happy,” Wilson said.

A couple of new appraisers will be on hand to share their expertise this year, according to Tough.

“We can appraise everything from books, to furniture, to oil paintings, to any kind of collectible. We also have somebody doing Native American art, as well as someone doing Eastern, or Asian, art, and we have somebody who is specific to guns or military weapons — antique weapons — that sort of thing,” she said.

Common items people have appraised during the event include books, manuscripts, coins, clocks, glass, pottery, china, lighting, furniture, guns, military items, teddy bears, dolls, jewelry, antique weapons, engravings, needlepoint, paintings, prints and much more. For larger items, people can simply bring photographs that show the piece they want appraised and any details that may be helpful to the appraiser.

Proceeds benefit the Rochester-Avon Historical Society’s mission to “help preserve, collect and interpret the history of the greater Rochester area for present and future generations.”

For more information, visit or call (248) 375-0084.