Paul Haig, the owner of Haig’s of Rochester, looks over a candlestick that Mary Christie brought to American House in Troy Oct. 25 for Trinkets and Treasures Antique Appraisal Day.

Paul Haig, the owner of Haig’s of Rochester, looks over a candlestick that Mary Christie brought to American House in Troy Oct. 25 for Trinkets and Treasures Antique Appraisal Day.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Retirement community learns if trinkets are treasures in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 5, 2019

 Debbie Smith, the executive director of American House in Troy, has a poster she found in the trash appraised by art expert LeVere Webster, of Rochester Hills, at American House in Troy Oct. 25.

Debbie Smith, the executive director of American House in Troy, has a poster she found in the trash appraised by art expert LeVere Webster, of Rochester Hills, at American House in Troy Oct. 25.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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TROY — Diane Roux, who lives and works caring for her mother at American House in Troy, has a wooden easel her uncle used when he worked for Walt Disney.

“I knew it was worth something. That was why I was keeping it,” she said. She learned that it is worth $1,500. She also learned that a Rin Tin Tin toy dog she was allowed to sleep with, but not play with, at her aunt’s house is worth $700.

American House residents, family members and employees unearthed items from closets, attics and basements to ask experts if the items have value at the American House Troy Trinkets and Treasures Antique Appraisal Day Oct. 25.

American House hosted the event in collaboration with the Troy Historical Society.

“They have things in their rooms, and they wonder, ‘Should I sell it, or am I sitting on something that has no value?’” said Loraine Campbell, the executive director of the Troy Historic Village.  She was on-site to chat about the trinkets and items that came in and to direct people to the appropriate appraiser.

The appraisers who donated their time at the event ran the gamut. LaVere and Zola Webster are experts in art and textiles, respectively. Paul Haig is an expert in jewelry, ancient items and Asian objects. Bill Pietrzyk’s area of expertise is furniture.

“We’re always looking for meaningful activities and life enrichment,” said Rob Gillette, of American House. He explained that he is involved with the Detroit Historical Society and the Troy Historical Society. He said they borrowed the idea from a “certain TV show,” declining to name the PBS show “Antiques Roadshow.”

“You never know what you’re going to see,” said Zola Webster. She helped to organize the “Threads” historical quilt exhibit at the Troy Historic Village in August 2017.

“You never know what’s going to walk in,” said LaVere Webster. He explained that he does about 10 appraisal events every year, and he also conserves and restores paintings. He said someone once brought a painting to a fair for which they had paid $1.50; it was worth over $100,000.

“It’s really a terrific experience for residents to go into their closets and find a little treasure there,” Gillette said. “There was a big rush when we opened. They’ve shared memories, which give these items new life.”

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