Antiques appraised for free in Howland

Tribune Chronicle / Allie Vugrincic Andrew Richmond, president and CEO of Wipiak Consulting and Appraisals in Marietta, looks through a collection of late 1800s French and English pieces brought in by Cortland resident Shawn Mark during the Shepherd of the Valley antique appraisal show. The free appraisal show was Thursday on the lawn in front of their Howland location.

HOWLAND — Some 300 people braved the heat Thursday to carry century-old vases, music boxes, broaches, Civil War swords, porcelain dolls and much more to Shepherd of the Valley for an antique appraisal show featuring 11 experts with a range of knowledge.

The show attracted long-time antique collectors as well as people who were curious about family heirlooms.

Shawn Mark of Cortland said he has been collecting for 25 years, and it’s “hunting for treasure” that he finds fun. He is most interested in toys from the 1960s to 1980s, he said, though he came to the Shepherd appraisal show to find out more information on some unusual items from his mother’s estate.

He brought several English vases, a French lamp and a French urn dating from the late 1800s to appraiser Andrew Richmond, who said the lamp would go for around $300 at auction.

Richmond, who is president and CEO of Wipiak Appraisals in Marietta, said the antique market has changed in his 15 years in the business.

“Baby boomers were a generation of collectors,” Richmond said.

Millenials, he said, either for economic reasons or lack of interest, do less collecting, which is causing the value of antiques to depreciate. He said often times, items have more sentimental value or intrigue to families who heard stories about them growing up.

Ron Rinaldi of Phoenix, Arizona, is home visiting his mother, Carmen, in Niles and brought her grandmother’s early 20th century Italian Catholic tapestry to be appraised.

“It’s a print,” Rinadli said. “There was greater attraction to the border than the actual tapestry.” He said he was told it was worth about $100 because of its limited appeal as a Catholic piece.

But sometimes hidden gems emerge. Appraiser Diane Schaffstein from the Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland said a woman brought her a painting she’d purchased for $3. Schaffstein valued it between $1,000 and $1,500. Another artwork that Howland resident Maureen Arborgast picked up off her neighbor’s curb Shaffstein estimated at $300.

Richmond also appraised a unique find — two postcards that a man said fell out a book about space he’d purchased. One card was postmarked from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and had autographs of six of the seven Mercury Project astronauts, including John Glenn. The other, from a little less than 10 years later, was signed by Ohio native Neil Armstrong, Richmond said.

“I often say in this business you have to kiss a lot of frogs. This is one of those days a prince came across my table,” Richmond said.

He said Armstrong’s signature, which is relatively rare, could fetch up to a few thousand dollars. With space collectibles hot on the market right now and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing this week, the card with the Mercury astronauts could get $500 to $1,000, he said.

The free appraisal show ran from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the lawn in front of Shepherd of the Valley’s Howland location.

“It’s a service to the community that Shepherd of the Valley is happy to offer,” said Sally Thomas, a Shepherd resident who found the appraisers for the event. She said she tried to bring in experts on all the major items people collect — like artwork, coins, dolls and jewelry.

Thomas is an antique enthusiast herself, with an interest in china, glassware, and furniture, she said.

Thomas said she found the experts, many of whom were local to Trumbull County, because she “knew people who knew people.”

Virginia Hall, who helped coordinate the event, said the antique appraisal was something the Shepherd independent living residents wanted to do for themselves, but they decided to open it to the community, in part to promote their independent living community.

“Probably a lot of people aren’t aware of the 100 independent living condos behind Shepherd of the Valley,” said Hall, who is a resident and president of their condo association. “We wanted people to know we’re there.”