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Historic society antique fair a success

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By Charlotte Underwood

People showed up in force, carrying heirlooms and other treasures to be appraised at Saturday’s Antique Fair.

The event, held by the Campbell County Historic Society, will directly benefit the society through the maintenance and upkeep of the Campbell County Museum.

Antique appraiser John Coker was on-site at the LaFollette Middle School Auditorium to appraise anything and everything brought in by the public.

Coker brought with him, 37-years of appraisal experience. He is the owner of John Coker, Ltd. in New Market.

He conducts estate sales as well as appraisals. When asked about his education of antiques he commented that he had “learned from the school of hard knocks and that is an ongoing interest in education.” Coker went on to say, “most houses you go into become a learning experience.”

The value of an item depends upon many factors including the date of origination, craftsmanship, and airtight proof of a historical former owner.

“An item that is mass produced is not as valuable as a handmade item,” Coker said.  This was Coker’s third time appraising for the historic society.

“He’s one of the best we could get.  He’s knowledgeable and he’ll tell you the truth,” said Campbell County Museum Curator Jerry Sharp.

The event helped to raise much needed funding for the museum, according to event co-organizer Mary Pat Carr.

As a result of the economical downturn, the museum is experiencing hard times like everyone else, according to Carr.

 “We did very well and were very pleased with the outcome,” Carr said.

“It was a steady flow of people coming in with their treasures all day long,” Carr said.

“We loved it,” said Pat Roberts and her grandson Nicholas Morris, who brought in an antique steam iron and a small delicates washing machine to be apprised.  Roberts said her grandson loved antiques and she was glad the historical society was holding the event.

Judy Spiller of Jacksboro also enjoyed the event.  She said she had been searching for someone to appraise several items and was glad to know that events like this existed.   She was amazed to speak with Coker and learn that a vase she had brought in to be appraised for a friend was worth around $6,000.

“It’s amazing, you just never know,” Spiller said grinning.

From antique coffee grinders, and World War I era mining hats to confederate $100 bills, Coker saw many treasures on Saturday.  He said he enjoyed seeing all the interesting objects, which were brought in.

“One of the most interesting was an oil painting worth in excess of $5,000,” Coker said.

The event was such a success, Carr said the historical society hopes to hold a fourth antique appraisal fair next year.

“We appreciate the public’s interest in events such as this and their support of the historical society,” Carr said.