“Wow, I had absolutely no idea the gun was so valuable; I’m floored” said the owner after learning at the Historic Upshur Museum’s 10th Annual Appraisal Fair last Saturday that his .45 Colt Army Issue single-action revolver with original holster was worth up to $50,000. “Before I began storing it in my closet, it was just in a box in the attic; the Colt originally belonged to a relative who died of yellow fever,” he noted.
(The gun’s owner is not being identified by name, to protect his privacy and the extreme appraised value of the firearm.)
The gun, originally manufactured in the 1870s, was among 138 items appraised at the Fair, which attracted more than 200 visitors from throughout East Texas.
“The event was our most successful yet,” said Betty Slocum of Gilmer, who created and has headed the museum fundraiser for the past decade. “Our seven appraisers had their hands full for the entire five hours the Fair was open. I’m amazed at the quantity of treasures owned by people in this area.”
Appraiser Janice Cleesen, former owner of Maude and Murel’s Antiques in Gilmer, was particularly impressed by a blue Blinko bowl brought in by Patsy Lampkin of Starr-ville. Made in the 1940s, the hand-blown example of art glass was valued at $500. Lampkin paid $6 for it at a garage sale five years ago.
Other “finds” at the Fair included:
• A $1,500 celadon saki holder owned by Annette Breazeale of Gilmer and manufactured in China in the mid-1800s.
• Four signed lithographs owned by Nathan Todd of Gilmer. The prints, worth $20,000 and featuring World War II fighter aces, were created by noted aviation artist Robert Carlin, whose works hang in the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Archives and United States Air Force Academy.
• A $6,000 Springfield trap-door carbine made in 1876 and now owned by James Dugger, Winnsboro. “A friend of mine gave it to me last year,” said Dugger.
• A $1,000 cloth painting of a California mission, created in the late 1800s and owned by Barbara Rowe, Gilmer.
Although not monetarily valuable, one of the most unusual items appraised was a publication titled The Girl Graduate. Her Own Book, a scrapbook that included a personal collection of notes, photographs and other memorabilia from Palestine High School in 1924. It was found at a garage sale by Wendy Epps of Hawkins, who purchased it because “I like old stuff with history and personality.
Antique pottery, family Bibles, Civil War artifacts, jewelry, watches, figurines, swords, sports mementos and musical instruments also were among items brought for appraisal.