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Hidden treasures: People dust off antiques to get an appraisal — and a few surprises |

Hidden treasures: People dust off antiques to get an appraisal — and a few surprises

The stories were as different as they items they hauled in.

The question was the same, though:


How much is it worth?

Dozens received an answer, with a few pleasantly surprised by antiques appraiser Mark Moran’s assessment.

Moran, a former senior editor of Antiques and Collectibles Books and an appraiser for the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow,” spent a few hours in Jacksonville on Thursday. He set up shop at Jacksonville Savings Bank and invited people to bring their antiques, collectibles and decorative arts for a review.

Louise Bunch of Jacksonville looked confident as she put a beautiful vintage camera on the table.

Almost immediately, Moran identified it as a Zeiss Ikon Contessa, a German high-end camera made up until 1971.

“This is an excellent model, it’s the Contessa,” Moran said. “These are among the finest cameras ever made. … The problem with these cameras today is not the cameras, it’s the film, trying to find film for them because everything is digital.”

The camera was appraised about $50. Bunch also had a Chinese bowl of prosperity and a republishing of Shakespearean works.

Roberta Lindell of Jacksonville brought in a hand-painted bowl and saucer. Moran identified them as a work done around the turn of the century by Morimura Bros.

“They produced more ceramics like this — this wonderful bone china — than any other company,” Moran said. “They were very successful before World War II.”

The bowl was appraised at $30. Lindell also brought in a Transferware bowl Moran determined had “decorative value.”

Transferware used a decorative technique developed in England in the mid-18th century to transfer patterns onto ceramics. It was commonly used for dinnerware and other delicate items.

When it comes to antiques, looks can sometimes be deceiving.

“A lady came into one of my appraisal events once and she said ‘this is our family soup tureen’,” he said. “I said ‘actually, that’s a chamber pot.’ I can’t make these up.”

Shirley Walden of Jacksonville brought in a green, leather-bound book — appropriately, a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” In mint condition, Moran said, the book could easily go for $650. Even though he didn’t appraise Walden’s copy that high, a quick search found someone looking for that exact book and Moran recommended offer it for $300.

One of the best-valued items came from Jim Robinson of Jacksonville, who had brought in a match dispenser he received for cleaning a business. The nickel-plated dispenser had a little wear but was in relatively good condition.

Moran searched and found an exact match.

“This is the one-cent Griffin box match dispenser made by Northwestern,” Moran said. “That is your dispenser and it sold in 2014 for 1,200 bucks.”

“Oh my,” Robinson exclaimed, hands on his chest and gasps coming from the crowd.

“That’s a lot for a matchbox dispenser,” Moran said. “That was fun.”

By Nick Draper

[email protected]

Nick Draper can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @nick_draper.

Nick Draper can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @nick_draper.

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