On the Town: A local take on 'Antiques Roadshow'

The ladies at the La Crescenta Woman's Club pulled out all the stops for this one. On Saturday, for the first time, the club was transformed into the La Crescenta version of "Antiques Roadshow." Volunteer appraiser Jacqueline Wise of Crown City Estate Sales in Montrose held court as members of the public trotted out their collectibles for a verbal appraisal. They paid $5 for each treasure with a limit of five antiques per household.

Free admission with complimentary Starbucks coffee and tea helped a lower-than-expected appraisal go down a little easier. But the collectibles kept right on coming from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Club member and event chairwoman Sandy Satterwhite was gatekeeper. She made sure everybody took their turn in the order they signed up in. No butting allowed.

Two of the first in line were Beverly Reynolds and daughter Jolene Reynolds, both from Glendale. Beverly plunked down $25 for the opportunity to get five items appraised. Most interesting to Wise was Beverly's carnival glass candy dish circa 1920s. Wise appraised it at $45 to $65.

A collectible brought in by yours truly was a serving dish made of hotel silver that had originally been purchased at auction when the old Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard was closing up shop. The tray had two Ambassador Hotel emblems stamped on the rim. Another volunteer appraiser, Matthew Hutchens, appraised it at $125 “tops.”

While hopeful collectors waited their turns, there was more action available. Vendors rented tables for $50 to sell their own antiques and collectibles. A favorite for Star Wars fans was a 2-foot-high Luke Skywalker in its original packaging. Luke was snapped up early in the day for $25. Old newspapers were among the most popular collectibles. Club member Ellie Pipes bought a whole stack of them for $5. Included was the Nov. 22, 1963, issue of the News-Press headlining President John F. Kennedy's assassination. News-Press history columnist Katherine Yamada bought a pile of old News-Press issues she planned to donate to a library.

But the most unusual item of the day — a giant, well-preserved 100-year-old Australian mud crab, was bought by appraiser Hutchens, who was shy about revealing the exact purchase price. “It is priceless,” he said. Seller Richard Nelson described the crab's unique pedigree. It was owned by his wife's grandfather, Al Hanson, who was the double for Kirk Douglas in the 1954 film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Food to energize buyers and sellers could be had for $4.50. That gave you a hot dog, chips and soda. Club President Carol Huntwork was busy behind the scenes, as was public relations maven Gloria Lee and the ever-smiling club historian Ellie Pipes. Lee modeled a mink stole for the camera. Pipes noted that the stole was mandatory for club meetings 50 years ago when she was a young member. Also necessary were hats and gloves. No polyester pantsuits allowed.

Club member volunteers also included past president and Glendale resident Rita Even, current recording secretary Margaret Dickson, Carol Jones, Carol Stein, Dea McCrory and Carol Benedetti. Not present was new member Lainy Cullen. Attending in her stead was her 6-year-old daughter Sabrina Cullen. Grandma Dickson made sure Sabrina didn't eat too much free candy from the vendors.

Proceeds of more than $1,000 from the appraisal fees, food and vendor rentals will go toward the club's several charities. Funds will also help replace the club's original 1925 plumbing. At present, only rolls of single-ply tissue paper can be flushed down the old pipes in the washrooms. Double-ply may be in the club's future, yet.


RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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