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Find out how much your antiques could be worth at evaluation in Folsom

By: Margaret Snider, Telegraph Correspondent
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FOLSOM, CA - If you have a lamp, chair, chest, music instrument or other antique once owned by your great-grandparent and want to learn how much it might be worth, this Saturday is your chance. That’s when many well-known antiques experts will gather at the Folsom History Museum on Sutter Street to evaluate and identify items in their particular fields. The specialists will be donating their time for the benefit of the museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. Nick Nicholson, of The Nicholson Music Company in Folsom, will evaluate stringed musical instruments. Nicholson, 68, was born in Trinidad, West Indies, and now lives in Volcano, California. He played guitar from the age of six, and came to the United States in 1965 as a pre-med student. “You never tell a third world dad that you want to be a musician,” he said. He made the mistake of taking a course in music history and music theory; he could no longer deny his passion. “The genes (on my) Italian side go back to the Renaissance and musicians and instrument makers,” Nicholson said. “We can trace that to Naples and put it back three to four hundred years.” Nicholson’s biggest antique find recently came when a man arrived at the shop with a couple of violin bows for which he had paid $5.00 at a thrift shop. “Are these bows any good?” the man asked. Nicholson recognized the names of the makers on the bows, but most of all, he recognized they were made of prime perambuco, a rare wood that is on the endangered species list, very rare and difficult to obtain. “They were worth about $3,000 to $5,000 between them, maybe more,” Nicholson said. There are many qualified evaluators, all with their own stories, who will be looking at all types of antiques. Greg Tracy and Robert Flaherty will evaluate weapons and military memorabilia. Flaherty, 73, is retired from the Department of Justice where he worked as an investigator. Flaherty said that shortly after the civil war the government began to convert a lot of the Springfield rifles into what they called breech loaders. Last year a gentleman brought in a converted Springfield rifle. “He had an original with the original bayonet and everything; he didn’t really know what he had,” Flaherty said. “His grandfather had had it for years and when I told him what he had, he got very excited.” Flaherty’s estimate was that it was probably worth a little over $2,000. Flaherty warns people never to refinish a gun because it takes away a lot of the value. The same thing with coins — don’t ever use coin dip on them. “If it’s silver and it’s real dark, you just leave it that way,” he said. “Because if you clean it, you’re going to take away half of its value.” A few evaluators, such as Kathe Puffer of Pacific Western Traders will be performing the service at their own shops. Puffer’s father, Herb Puffer, began collecting Indian items when Kathe was a child, and she helped him and learned from him as she grew up. Evaluating alongside Puffer will be Brian Bibby, who has written several books on the subject of American Indian baskets, pottery, and artifacts. “He appraises and identifies collections for museums,” Puffer said. “He has been an associate of my father’s and is one of the top officials for basketry evaluation in the country.” Cost for evaluation is $8 per item or $35 for five items. Sponsors for this year’s event are The Folsom Telegraph, Folsom Chamber of Commerce, Folsom Lake Bank, Karen’s Bakery and Café, Folsom Rotary Annes and Rotary Club of Folsom. “The Folsom Historical Museum doesn’t get any help from the state or the federal government, so they’re on their own, they have to survive,” Flaherty said. “I think it’s one of the best little museums in the world.”