PBS appraiser takes a look at RR Valley area treasures
FARGO It was a 100-degree day about 10 years ago when Mike Anderson stopped by an estate sale in Detroit Lakes, Minn. The Moorhead collector bought only one item - a Minnie Mouse doll from the late 1930s. Despite the auctioneer's pleas for more b...
It was a 100-degree day about 10 years ago when Mike Anderson stopped by an estate sale in Detroit Lakes, Minn.
The Moorhead collector bought only one item - a Minnie Mouse doll from the late 1930s. Despite the auctioneer's pleas for more bids, Anderson got her for $20.
On Saturday, Anderson brought the doll to Fargo's Plains Art Museum to have it appraised by Wes Cowan, a featured appraiser on public television's "Antiques Roadshow" and star of "History Detectives," also on PBS.
Cowan, founder and owner of Cowan's Auctions Inc., and his colleague Danica Farnand appraised nearly 300 items Saturday as part of the museum's Trash or Treasure fall fundraiser.
All morning, the museum was full of people waiting to have their items appraised. Each paid a per-item fee, the proceeds benefitting the museum's educational programs.
Anderson had a pretty good idea what his items were worth. He also brought some sports memorabilia and two mechanical banks for Cowan to appraise.
But Minnie was the pleasant surprise. Anderson thought she might be worth $100.
After a quick phone call to another appraiser, Cowan deemed her value at $300 to $600.
Participants brought a wide array of objects: an early motorcycle engine, Native American objects, paintings, lamps, clocks, old books and glass bowls.
"People get excited and then they get very sad or they get very happy, depending on the answer," said Sue Petry, public information manager for the Plains.
Cowan told Marv Buus of Fargo his teletype printout featuring Associated Press content from President Kennedy's assassination was worth $800 to $1,000. Buus worked for a phone company in Valley City, N.D., in 1963 and saved the long, narrow roll of paper.
"It's sort of a curiosity," Cowan said about the printout. "But for a collector, what do you do with it? You can't display it."
One valuable item Cowan appraised was a Civil War bugle. He priced it at $5,000 to $7,000, but it may fetch as much as $10,000. The owner of the bugle declined to be interviewed by The Forum.
Not all items were as valuable as the owner hoped.
Delberta Ottesen of Fargo showed Cowan a land grant document for her grandfather's ranch near Dickinson, N.D. She pointed to Woodrow Wilson's name, written in ink, at the bottom.
"I will tell you that is not Woodrow Wilson's signature," Cowan said. "It was a secretary."
Cowan said the document was probably worth $10. Ottesen said she would give it to her relative who now lives on the ranch.
Still, she said it was fun to see what other people brought.
"I thought of two other things I could have brought, and they probably would have been worth something," she said.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.