Advance registration is under way in the Eighth Annual Southwest Kansas Antiques Appraisal Fair, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 in the Finney County 4-H Building on the fairgrounds in Garden City. Though not affiliated with the popular PBS program, the event operates much like “Antiques Road Show.”
The fair is an all-day show, where participants bring family heirlooms and keepsakes, along with arrowheads and other artifacts, to be shown and shared live before the audience. Appraisers include nine local collectors, dealers and others with expertise in antiques.
Appraisals are $15 per item, on a first-come/first-served basis, and spectator admission is free. Those who pre-register with payment by March 6 may bring three items for $36. The place for early registration is the Finney County Historical Museum, 403 S. Fourth in Garden City’s Finnup Park. Exhibit hours are 1-5 p.m. seven days weekly and the number for information is 620-272-3664.
Registration will be available after March 6 too, at the museum; and until 2 p.m. at the door the day of the show, all at the $15 item rate.
The 4-H Building will open to the public at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event, with the fair running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until the last item is appraised, whichever comes first. Pre-registered items will get first priority, and those who register should provide printed pictures of their keepsakes. The museum staff can photograph items during registration for those who prefer.
Last year’s audience came from 16 towns across Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, sharing 125 objects ranging from a 1950s Hopalong Cassidy lunch box, a 1927 art deco vase and a pair of pre-Columbian native pottery vessels to a 1950s Firestone Air Chief table radio, a hand-made brass carafe from India and a pair of Native American woven wool rugs.
Other participants brought a colorful set of 1942 Grand Canyon tourist postcards, a pair of intricate oriental dolls, a 100 year-old coin bank, a Grand Army of the Republic commemorative ribbon from the 1870s, a 70 year-old German violin, a turquoise Van Briggle Pottery vase, an 1882 Wedgewood plate, a Bakelite domino set and a 1975 Rolling Stone Magazine special edition focusing on the Watergate scandal.
There was also a variety of antique porcelain dolls, vintage paintings, ceramic crocks, jewelry pieces, antique toys and 19th Century clothing. The appraisers awarded prizes for an antique Martin guitar, whose original owner once performed with Willie Nelson, as the item of greatest value; and a clear glass Cambridge candy horn from the 1800s as the most unique. A collection of Santa Fe Trail metal artifacts, recovered at Wagonbed Springs near Ulysses, earned the Oldest Item prize since it included objects dating to the era of Spanish exploration.
Evaluations will be conducted individually and one by one before the audience, so spectators can choose to come and go, or stay and watch throughout the day. No artifacts will be bought or sold, but the appraisers will offer non-binding spoken estimates of value for each item, while sharing their knowledge about the history of each piece. Nearly any antique, vintage or collectible items may be appraised, except coins, fine jewelry or firearms.
Flat Broke Barbecue will offer food and beverages during a lunch break and throughout the day.
Appraisal Fair proceeds support programs, research, artifact preservation and exhibits at the Finney County Museum.
Primary sponsors include American Warrior, the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Garden City Telegram, the Vernon and Wilma Solze family, Steve and Rhonda Stone and Larry Johnston Auction. Major sponsors are Fry Eye Associates, Golden Plains Credit Union, High Plains Public Radio, Homestead Assisted Living and Valley State Bank. Additional sponsors include John and Angelica Chappel, Dave Tabor Construction, Garnand Funeral Home, Neil Hawley Agency – American Family Insurance, Oswalt Appraisals and Unger’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Edward Jones Financial Advisor Lora Schneider is providing prizes for the items of greatest age and value, as well as the most unique.