By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Ask an antiques appraiser about a real find, and you might expect to hear about vintage Tiffany sterling silver turning up at a garage sale.
Kathleen Victor, who runs Victor Appraisal Services in Redmond, can top that with a story of something few would see as a valuable collectible.
“I appraised a $26,000 pair of Nike tennis shoes,” she said. The sneakers, among the earliest produced by the Oregon company, were appraised for a couple who were splitting up, Victor said. “I found a comparable pair of Nikes that had sold for $28,000,” she said. The pair she evaluated was missing its laces.
Victor will be joined Saturday by Don Jensen, formerly an appraiser on the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow,” and another appraiser, Bette Bell, at the city of Marysville’s “Treasure Trove Antique Appraisal Show.” The public event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Ken Baxter Community Center, is a chance for people to bring in their treasures. For $10 per item, they will get what Victor calls a “verbal approximation of value,” which is not a formal appraisal. There’s a two-item limit per person.
Much of the event’s sessions has been booked by people who made appointments. Maryke Burgess, recreation coordinator for the Marsyville Parks &Recreation Department, said there should be some time left for drop-in consultations.
“We always wanted to do something like this. ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is very popular,” Burgess said. When the city began offering “Treasure Trove” appointments, Burgess said, “we got a feel for whether people were interested — and boy, did we get a lot of interest.” She has talked with a woman in her 80s who “has this little bowl she put her bobby pins in her whole life. She got it from her grandmother.”
Jensen, of Edmonds, appeared on “Antiques Roadshow” for the program’s first seven years. “I was on sporadically, three or sometimes four times a year,” said Jensen, who traveled so much he joked that “I still have my name on seat 26A on Delta Air Lines.”
He said that in this region “we see a lot of Native American baskets.” They can be valuable, but owners often know little about them.
Both Jensen and Victor have been in the retail antiques business. Jensen said it’s unethical for appraisers to buy items they evaluate.
The pair will be back in Marysville in April and May to teach four antiques education classes through the parks department. Jensen will teach a class about silver.
“Most people don’t know what silver is, or what they have. I’ve always viewed my role in this industry as educating the public. ‘Antiques Roadshow’ stirred the pot,” he said.
Victor said an item’s value can be greatly increased by its provenance — “the history of the piece, and how important the people were.”
“If a person had any significance at all — they might have been an author — a regular cup and saucer, with proven provenance, might be worth 20 times what it otherwise would be,” she said.
Along with silver, Jensen specializes in porcelain and glass.
While Victor recalled the surprise of $26,000 sneakers, Jensen said he once had the delight of telling an Oregon woman that her 9-inch plate was very valuable. What she thought was mass-produced carnival glass from the 1930s, worth about $45, was really iridescent glass from the late 19th century, and worth thousands of dollars.
Victor wants those coming to the Marysville event to understand that value is subjective. “Any single item can have 12 different values. There is market value, replacement cost, fair market value, what we’re taxed on when we die, and liquidation value if you need to get rid of it quickly,” she said.
She also wants people to remember that just like on “Antiques Roadshow,” they will not offer written appraisals Saturday. “It is an estimated value,” Victor said.
And then there is sentimental value.
“Most families keep the same things. They keep Bibles and baby shoes, pearls, cameos and pocket watches,” Victor said. “Right now, the hottest collectibles are midcentury modern, up to the 1970s. Twenty years ago, it was Victorian items.
“It’s always what we had in our childhood, and trying to replace that,” Victor said. “Sentimental value is priceless. I can’t set a value based on sentiment.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Marysville’s Parks and Recreation Department will host a “Treasure Trove Antique Appraisal Show” from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Ken Baxter Community Center, 514 Delta Ave., Marysville. Three certified appraisers will give verbal evaluations of items. Appointments have been made for much of their time, but there likely will be time for others to have items (or photos of large items) evaluated. Cost is $10 per item, with two-item limit. Information: 360-363-8450.
Marysville also offers four antiques education classes, taught by certified appraisers, starting next month: “How Best to Buy and Sell Your Antiques and Collectibles” is to be held from 10 a.m.-noon April 26; “The Relative Value of ‘Silver’ Items” is from 1-2:30 p.m. April 26; “Learn About Antique &Collectible Jewelry” is from 10 a.m.-noon May 24; and “Paintings and Prints” is to be held from 1-2:30 p.m. May 24. Classes are in Marysville Library’s large meeting room, 6120 Grove St. Cost is $45 per class. Class details are in Marysville’s Winter-Spring 2014 Activities Guide (page 24), online at: http://marysvillewa.gov/index.aspx?nid=386