Antique Owners Learn Value of Sentimental Items in St. Michael
In the name of curiosity, family heirlooms were dug out of closets and taken off the mantle for a night of discovery of the monetary value of antique items.
St. Michael area residents stepped back in history Monday evening to explore family heirlooms from as early as the 1800s.
The second annual Antique Appraisal Show, sponsored by the St. Michael Historical Society, brought in a steady flow of people to St. Michael City Hall, each carrying items they were deeply curious about. Attendees took turns with an appraiser to learn more about their antique items and find out their monetary value. But the sentimental value of the keepsakes was what people discussed with one another, and how the pieces were passed down from generation to generation.
"You get this stuff, and it's nice to know if it's worth something," said Catherine Varner, who brought in an antique sterling silver jewelry box and German porcelain figurines that she got from her mother, who got them from her father. The box was valued at $325 and the figurines between $20 to $25. "That's not much, but it still has sentimental value."
Other items brought in by the public included an antique gold watch, juggling pins, wall art, a coffee grinder, a clock with a figurine of a grandmother in a rocking chair, a rifle, a scent bottle, wine or liquor bottles, a 1941 St. Paul Winter Carnival key, and historic newspapers.
A St. Michael resident brought in copies of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune and the Star Journal from December 1941, with the first coverage of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Anne Martin of Zimmerman learned that a boat figurine she had was made of real ivory, and a small Japanese figurine of a pull cart was made of bone.
Historic photos of St. Michael were set out on tables by the historical society. Part of the purpose of the event was to educate about the history of St. Michael, said Sheldon Barthel, vice president of the St. Michael Historical Society.
"We are a historical society — that's kind of our groove thing, to preserve history," he said. "Just to make people aware." The event was inspired by the television show, "Antiques Road Show," he added, and was also a success last year.
Linda Borchardt, a member of the St. Michael Catholic Church brought in an old lithograph she found buried in a closet at the church.
"Based on the colors, I would guess it's from the 1920s, possibly the 1930s," said Bob Zahler, president of the historical society. The lithograph was of the holy family.
"It's been in the community for a while — it was probably originally hanging in the convent," Borchardt said. "I was intrigued because of the gold on it — I thought it was too pretty to be buried."
Karen Larson of Annandale, who brought in the coffee grinder and old clock, said curiosity brought her to the event.
"I'm not going to sell anything," she said. "You get things handed down to you, and you're going to hand them down to your kids. You just like to know what year they're from so you can write little notes — when you're gone, they'll know where these pieces came from."