Is there a treasure in your attic?

January 14, 2009

Cave Creek Museum’s Antique Appraisal Fair set for Jan. 23 & 24

CAVE CREEK – Could that landscape painting in the attic be worth something? What about those old dishes in the garage? During these tough economic times, consider searching for vintage items and antiques that may be valuable. Then head to Cave Creek Museum’s Antique Appraisal Fair from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan., 23 and Saturday, Jan., 24 where appraiser Sean Morton, of Scottsdale, will examine your treasures, discuss their origins, and assess their value. The fee is $20 per item or two items for $35, with a limit of two items per session. You may attend more than one session.

Born in Phoenix, Morton grew up around antiques, old master paintings, and old English silver. He has more than 25 years experience working in the fine arts and antiques field and has appeared on several popular antique appraisal television shows.

Morton offers this advice to those rummaging through old items:

An antique is 100 years or older. Vintage is generally described as 25 to 100 years old. Many vintage mid-century furniture, ceramics and modern jewelry are doing well.

Be organized and make a list of everything. “Write down as much as you know where the items came from. Look in price guides and research a little on the Internet,” Morton said.

“For tougher items you might have to call on an antique dealer, an auction house or an appraiser.”

When you come across an antique or fine art, ignore the temptation to clean it. Leave it as-is until its value has been determined.

Be wary of the Internet. “Many people make the mistake of falsely identifying something they have seen online, such as a reproduction mimicking a genuine antique or a ridiculously high value that is made up by someone. There is no Internet Guru or agency determining what is appropriate to be online,” Morton said.

Bring in curiosities, or unusual items. Often people are more interested in age and not value.

Morton has appraised thousands of items during his career and said the most common items are Bibles, sewing machines, vintage and antique chairs, porcelain dishes and bowls, vintage books and mass produced collectables, which he said is not necessarily a bad thing.

“The true nature of value is what someone is willing to pay for something. This is generally comparable auction or comparables values sold to a dealer. Rarity, condition, and desirability are the major factors,” he said.

Cave Creek Museum is also hosting a children’s program, “Getting Well and Getting Better: Early Medicine in Cave Creek, 1860-1920” from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan., 24.

Located at 6140 Skyline Dr., Cave Creek Museum features an extensive collection of prehistoric and historic artifacts that describe the lives of Native Americans, miners, ranchers and pioneers. For information, call (480) 488-2764, or visit www.cavecreek