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Antique lovers learn what their items are worth |

Antique lovers learn what their items are worth

Vintage fishing reels, a print of a famous horse painting, and an antique Moroccan gunpowder flask were just some of the antiques local residents lugged to the Wausau Headquarters of the Marathon County Public Library on Sunday to see what they were worth.


Doing the evaluating at the What’s it Worth? event was professional appraiser Mark Moran, who used his knowledge and his database to tell folks about their items’ origins and value.

The horse painting print belonged to 63-year-old Howard Bichler of Birnamwood, who found out he had a soft lithograph of artist Rosa Bonheur’s most famous painting, “The Horse Fair.”

Moran told Bichler that his print dates to the early 1900s and is likely worth about $150. The original oil-on-canvas painting is huge — eight feet high by 16 feet wide — and is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Bichler said the picture has been in the family for a while and he was surprised to learn it was a print of a French artist’s master work.

“I was fully expecting (to hear), ‘That’s just a run-of-the-mill catalog picture,’” Bichler said.

Moran, an appraiser on the popular “Antiques Roadshow” public television program, said he’s never really sure what each event will turn up.

“The thing that I love is walking into a room with 30 or 40 or 50 objects that I’ve never seen and try and help people understand what it is they have and what it’s worth,” Moran said. “That’s part of the fun and part of the challenge for me as an appraiser.”

Seeing a beehive-style, Moroccan powder flask was a first for him, Moran said, “but it only took me about three seconds to find one in my database, so I was learning, too.”

The flask was brought in by Marathon’s Andrew Richards, who said he acquired the piece from his father.

Moran estimated its worth at $300, which the 39-year-old Richards thought was a “little low.”

“I did a lot of research,” Richards said. “I ended up emailing back and forth to a number of different museums, including the Smithsonian. The only one that was able to tell me what it actually was was a museum in England.”

Nonetheless, Richards was happy he paid the $10 to get a professional opinion.

“I think it was neat,” Richards said. “I think Wausau needs more events like this to get people out in the community doing stuff.”

Moran said antiques currently rising in value are snapshots, or what he termed the “great American snapshot.”

“Just people taking photos in the backyard and at picnics in cities and in countrysides,” he said.

On the way down are ceramics and China dinnerware.

“They’re beautiful, they’re functional, but if you can’t put them in the microwave and you can’t put them in the dishwasher, no one wants them anymore,” Moran said.

Moran, who said he just booked his 140th event for the year, said television shows such as “Antiques Roadshow,” “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” have only fueled people’s interest in finding out what their stuff is worth.

“Everyone has something they wonder about,” Moran said. “Whether it’s a vase, a plate or a picture.”

Bob Dohr can be reached at 715-845-0660. Find him on Twitter as @BobDohr1.

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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