OTTAWA — If you had that old relic sitting in the closet, maybe something passed down through the family, then the Putnam County District Library was the place to be on Monday.
Ann Stratton, a nationally recognized antique appraiser from Lima, was on hand to tell people about aproximate values of items they brought in.
Stratton has expert knowledge in many areas. Some of her favorite items are old buggies, vintage jewelry and Civil War memorabilia. She will appraise furniture, pictures, collectibles and other artifacts.
“Everything is collectable to somebody,” Stratton told the small crowd. “Often it is worth as much as someone will pay for it.
As she was telling about her love for Civil War memorabilia, a person had brought in one such piece, a Daugerro-type, silk case containing a photo of a Civil War soldier. The tin-type case was made of copper dioxide. The item estimated at the highest value of all artifacts presented at about $300.
Stratton delivered a little bit of history while talking about the item.
“In the South, you will not see any books in the classrooms or the libraries on the Civil War,” Stratton said. “It is referred to as the War of Northern Aggression.”
Stratton also estimated a ornately decorated marriage certificate from 1941 at about $125. The certificate displayed fancy penmanship and was in an old wood frame. Stratton said such craftsmanship was common with marriage certificates in those days.
While going over the items, Stratton also told of some ways to take care of antiques and maintain their value on the market.
She said never to use modern cleaners containing chemicals to clean up antiques.
“Don’t use jewelry cleaner, Pledge, etc.,” Stratton said. “Just give the item a bath. Murphy’s Oil Soap is great for cleaning. Ketchup or lemon and salt are great for cleaning brass. You can use baking soda, toothpaste or simply rub it on wool.”
Stratton also said to not be sucked in to buying dolls from companies claiming to be “limited editions.”
“They have no market value,” she said as she appraised several dolls. “Don’t waste your money. They are limited because of how many they can sell.”
She said collectors looking to restore dolls should be careful not to change the item. She recommended Fara’s Doll Remedy in Lima for restoration work.
“If it can be repaired, she is the one who will be able to do it,” Stratton said.
Stratton said collectors should also be careful on restoring furniture items.
“Once you have changed an antique, the price goes down,” Stratton said.