Sunday's Antique Appraisal Event Has Attendees Calling for More


Above, Jim Johnston explains the valuation on a item Sunday afternoon, flanked by Historical Commission member, Jan Prentice.

Arriving dramatically at 1 pm sharp to an already packed Franklin  Historical Museum, James C. "Jim" Johnston, appraiser and former FHS history teacher, fulfilled expectations as both a lively showman, a dispenser of definitive 'on-the-spot' valuations, and an educator, to boot.

Nearly 100 people eventually disgorged the contents of closets, car trunks, and paper bags to reveal a dizzying area of things treasured or otherwise acquired.  There was a Civil War ear stamp -- possibly rare, that Jim promised to investigate further -- and also a Civil War cavalry sword in dangerously good condition.

Another person brought an old, ivory-headed cane, a bit battered and presumed to be a century or more old, which revealed itself to contain a rather dangerous looking rapier in case of a sudden need for personal defense. 

A.C. Gilbert model trains from the 1950s ($150 for the locomotive, $500 for the whole set, Jim suggested).

Civil War-era telegraph keys ($75)....

A set of Russian nesting dolls depicting the last czar and most of his family, which Jim deemed modern, not hand-painted, and interesting -- but probably worth around $40 -- also came with a bit of history on the family members, commentary on the Czar's famous anti-semitism and an aside about the Czar's cousin (George V), who decided not to give them asylum in England because it might be unpopular.

For four hours, Jim kept up the pace with attendees hanging on his every word and digesting his puns and asides. Even a large, wooden wheelbarrow that had to arrive via elevator didn't phase him. "It would be worth more if its sides were intact," he noted.

Will there be another such event, many attendees asked?

Jim willing, the "Antiques Adventure" will return in the not-too-distant future.

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