Searching for the stories behind antiques
It's the stories that intrigue antique appraiser Karen Stockton the most about her work.
"I like working with the individual (bringing the items in) and finding out what the family knows about it, and what it means to them," said Stockton, who began her professional life as an archeologist. "Anybody can have a teacup and saucer, but what do they mean? How did they end up with that family?"
Stockton, who is based in Bend and travels the Northwest for appraisals and expo events, will stop by Estacada next month. From 2-4 p.m. Thursday, June 1, Grace Place Senior Living, 380 N.W. Sixth Ave., will host Stockton for an antique appraisal show.
"We're excited," said Kate Raymer, community relations manager at Grace Place. "A lot of our residents have things they think might be valuable. (The residents) like the history behind the items, too."
The event is open to the public, who are invited to bring their items in for appraisal, as well. Those interested should RSVP to Grace Place at 503-630-5341. Items should be able to fit on a table top, though those who have bigger items can bring in photos to be assessed.
Stockton has done everything from appraisal events in large venues to estates. She enjoys smaller appraisal events, such as the one at Grace Place, because she can better get to know the people who bring in items.
"Everyone gets to talk and ask questions," she said. "It's not just standing in a long line, sitting down to talk about the items, and then you're done."
Stockton gives participants information about several concepts related to antique appraisal, in addition to information on their specific items.
"I talk about how to research and what to expect of the value," she said.
She added that items brought in don't necessarily have to be old.
"So many people believe it's only about the past, but these things occur every day," she said.
For example, in 1999, General Mills ran a promotion that featured a 2000 Sacagawea gold dollar coin in every 2,000 boxes of Cheerios, prior to the coin's official release in 2000. Several years later, it was
discovered that the coins in the Cheerios boxes were different: the Cheerios coins have diagonal tail feathers, and the other coins have parallel tail feathers. Because of this difference, the Cheerios Sacagawea coins often sell for $5,000.
"(Some items) have value for odd reasons," Stockton said.
She added that one of her favorite parts of her job is meeting the people who bring in the items.
"I'm interested in people, their stories and what they know about the piece," she said.
Raymer also thinks the people will be one of the best parts of the Grace Place event.
"We love having a building full of people," she said. "Our seniors love interacting with the public. It's an opportunity to see faces."