Hidden treasures discovered at Lynnwood Appraisal event

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Appraiser Kathleen Victor talks about an early 20th-century gold plated vase.

Story and photos by Ashley Davidson/UW News Lab

The Lynnwood Senior Center hosted its first ever antiques appraisal event June 5, featuring two veteran appraisers who served more than 50 guests, all of whom brought an object or two to be analyzed.

Eileen Stevenson proudly displayed a ribbon badge from President Lincoln’s funeral, which she said was passed down through her family. Despite the object’s obvious historical significance, Stevenson didn’t see much reason to hang on to the piece.

“My sister and I are looking to sell it – it doesn’t do us any good in a safety deposit box,” she said.

The event, held in the afternoon, was originally meant to be by registration only, but “that wasn’t made clear in the press release,” said coordinator Janet Sigler. Elbow-to-elbow participants shuffled around each other to make room, but no one seemed to mind – guests smiled and chatted with one another, comparing items and exchanging stories.

Tom Mozingo, along with his wife, Jackie, brought a collection of paintings his mother brought back from a trip to Africa. “I remember the year she went – it was the 1960s – because she was gone when we got married.” The paintings, he said, came from a number of villages, but all carried the same motif. Although they have some sentimental value, Mozingo admitted he would be willing to sell, “if the price was right.”

Appraiser Kathleen Victor, who has been doing this work since 1997 and collecting since 1968, says she loves “the stories behind the items,” citing one noteworthy client, who, years ago, brought diamond earrings to be evaluated. “The earrings weren’t the highest quality, but they had been smuggled out of a Nazi concentration camp by the client’s grandfather, as they had belonged to her grandmother.” Stories such as this, and others, often bring extra meaning to the items being appraised, even if their market value might be small. But according to Victor, it isn’t just about apparent value.

“When families inherit items, the items cannot talk. It is our responsibility to tell the item’s story,” she said.

Among the antiques appraised, a 22-karat gold-plated vase, from early 20th century, caused a stir in the audience when its value was announced by the appraisers: upwards of $3,500. According to Victor, the item was in nearly perfect condition, with a high factor of desirability. But not everyone was as lucky. Sharon Coughlin, who brought a selection of antique dolls, said her items were appraised at around $25. “I’m not disappointed – it was interesting to learn where they came from,” she said.

Whether this local version of “Antiques Roadshow” will be a return hit is yet unclear. But Lynnwood Senior Center Supervisor Mary-Anne Grafton said the center likes to keep events recreational and interesting to a broad audience of over-60 folks. “Senior centers are really changing,” Grafton said.

Ashley Davidson is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

Eileen Stevenson displaces her Lincoln funeral ribbon badge.


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