Fran Cook of Jefferson had no intentions of parting ways with her beloved quilt.
It was the same quilt that had kept her father warm as an infant and it had been a family heirloom for sometime.
The quilt’s sentimental value far outweighed its monetary worth, Cook said.
“I wanted to see how much it was worth,” Cook said.
Simple curiosity lured Cook and others to this weekend’s 2009 Ashe County Antiques Fair at Family Central. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Ashe County Historical Society, Museum of Ashe County History, and the Mountain Farm Life Museum at Ashe Park.
Appraisers in the categories of artwork, firearms, clocks, coins currency, glassware and pottery lined the back walls of the Family Central gym to offer collectors insight into just how valuable their household treasures really are.
“I think most people don’t plan to sale their items but want to see what they’re worth,” Ashe County Historical Society member Gene Hafer said. “Some of their items are worth thousands of dollars and they want to insure them separately if they are of great value.”
Cook was one of dozens who brought their family keepsakes and collectibles to the two day event that allowed locals the opportunity to see what exactly the old relics from grandma’s attic would fetch if the items were placed on the auction block.
After rummaging through her grandmother’s attic following her passing, Cook had discovered an oil painting that she was told could be valued at $1,500. Her grandmother was of Pennsylvania descent, but she was uncertain just how long the painting had been within the family.
Cook also brought with her Beatles’ sheet music books. She contemplated selling the legendary hits, believing she could secure $50 per song book.
“I’ve had most of these things for years. I inherited some of them and have no intention of selling them,” Cook said. “But I just started looking at them and just thought it was time to have it appraised.”
Daniel Viers brought to the fair, various pink Depression era glass vases and an old Bible written in foreign script. He had paid nearly $300 per vase and was curious what the vases would be worth today even though he refused to relinquish the prized possessions.
“I sell enough. These aren’t going anywhere,” Viers said with a smile.
Both Cook and Viers were just two of nearly 20 people who patiently waited in line to have their cherished relics appraised by national acclaimed antique consultant Ken Farmer. He has been featured as a guest appraiser on the PBS Series, “Antique Roadshow.”
Farmer specializes in the appraisal of American furniture, folk art, and decorative art.
Members of the Ashe County Historical Society and event organizers believe that his presence contributed to the fair’s large turnout.
“He has had a deep impact on the fair,” Historical Society President Jerry Brown said. “He is a very generous person to donate his time for non-profit organizations. He has been very helpful and always draws a big crowd for us. It has been steady flow of people all day.”
Farmer offered appraisals at last year’s inaugural event.
“He enjoyed it and agreed to come back again,” Brown said. “Altogether we have really had a great turnout.”