Turnout small for antique appraisals

Perhaps there is a very good reason that the “Antiques Road Show” visits different cities every week to appraise and evaluate local antiques.

“Treasures in the Attic,” sponsored by the Manassas Museum and modeled after the popular public television show, was not as successful this year as it has been in the past.

“A lot of people said they didn’t have anything left to bring,” said Ann Thomas, “Treasures in Attic” chairwoman.

“This is very, very slow today,” Thomas said of the trickle of visitors at Grace E. Metz Middle School in Manassas.

“I don’t know if it’s the war or the pretty weather,” she said, speculating on the factors that may have kept attendance low.

Thomas said the event, attended by 14 local antiques dealers, was designed to raise money for the Manassas Museum and provide a service to the community.

Last year, Thomas said, “Treasures in the Attic” raised about $2,000.

“The associates try to do things to get money for the things the city won’t pay for us to do,” Thomas said.

Arlene and George Garrett of Centreville brought a water color painting of a sailboat for appraisal since they are antiques dealers who are new to the business.

“We sell antique stuff, and we didn’t want to sell something for $100 that was worth a whole lot more,” Arlene Garrett said.

Unfortunately, Eric V. Aituzis of Bull Run Auctions was unable to determine the worth of the painting.

The painter wasn’t listed in any of the his reference books. Aituzis gave the Garretts advice about how to find out about the artist.

George Garrett said it didn’t matter anyway.

“We’re probably going to hang on to it. We really like it a lot,” Garrett said of the 16-by-20-inch watercolor he found under another painting.

John Whalen and his girlfriend, Erin Steenson, of Springfield came to the show. Whalen carried his treasure underneath his arm, wrapped in a blanket and tied with string.

He sat down with Thom Pattie, also of Bull Run Auctions, and carefully unwrapped a 3-foot samurai sword with an ivory handle.

Pattie judged that the sword was forged in the middle of the 17th century and worth between $500 to $700.

Like the Garretts, Whalen said he had no intention of selling the ancient sword. He said it had become an heirloom for his family.

“This thing’s been in my family for a long time, so it’s never going to be sold,” Whalen said.

He said some folklore has been attached to his sword since his grandfather used it to foil a home intruder in the 1950s.

“He put it up against the guy’s throat and held him there until the police came,” Whalen, 27, said with a look of pride on his face.

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