Uniontown antiques expert to give appraisals at fund-raiser


September 06, 2001|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UNIONTOWN RESIDENT Bob Harrison has always loved old things and remembers attending auctions as a kid.

"I was always more fascinated with the context of history," he said of the items that would interest him.

Today, Harrison teaches several classes at Carroll Community College, including American Furniture from 1640 to 1850 and American Ceramics and Glass from 1700 to 1940.

He earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

"During the course of my dissertation, I focused on something called material culture," he said. "Material culture is understanding society and its historical archaeology. I looked at craftsmanship and product methods used."

Harrison, who will be one of nine appraisers at the Carroll County Historical Society's appraiser fund-raiser Sept. 29, said there are a number of things people can look at to learn about antiques.

"Generally speaking, most things were made by hand prior to 1830," he said, noting that there are distinctive things to look at when trying to determine an item's history and value.

About 30 years ago, Harrison said, there was a big craze for American Depression glass. But many people did not realize that much of what was for sale was not original Depression glass from the 1930s, but reproductions that even dealers had trouble detecting.

"What happened was that a lot of the old companies sold their molds to new companies which began producing the glass again," he explained.

One of the ways to tell the difference is the depth of the mold seams, he said. Most reproductions lose some of the depth of the original.

Harrison said it was a client couple in Uniontown that led him to move here. The couple were planning to move and wanted some of their belongings appraised. He spent several hours going over the items.

"Finally, as I was leaving, something caught my eye," he said. "It was a table, and I said, `Hey, you didn't tell me about that.' They said, `Oh, that's just our old mail table.'"

He moved all the mail off and discovered a table that dated to 1690 and was valued at $40,000. Harrison said he doesn't know what the couple finally did with the table, but when something is that valuable it is best to sell through a broker so that the right market can be found.

Harrison said he has learned how to date items from his education and experience.

"There are distinctive things to look for and that's what I go over in the American furniture class," he added.

He said that people may also send a wood sample to the USDA Forest Service, which has a laboratory that can determine the age of the wood. That service is free. (Forest Product Laboratory Anatomy, USDA Forest Service, One Gifford Pinchot Drive, Madison, Wis.)

To learn more about antiques, Harrison has a Web site: www. harrisonappraisals.com or call 410-775-1351.

Fall vacation Bible school

The Union Bridge Church of the Brethren will have a vacation Bible school of sorts this month and next.

Fall 2001 Kids Inc. will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Sept. 11 to Oct. 30 at the church at Main and Church streets. There will be crafts, recreation and snacks.

Information: 410-775-2717.

Basket bingo reminder

The Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Inc.'s Ladies Auxiliary will hold a basket bingo tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the fireman's activities building near the carnival grounds.

Cost is $10 in advance for 20 cards or $12 at the door. There will also be fried shrimp platters for $6.

Information: 410-756-1350.

Fund-raiser helps family

By all accounts, the Family Fund-raiser Cruize-In held Saturday in Taneytown to help a family in need was a roaring success.

"We had 65 registered cars," said Cathy Stone, who, with her husband, Grant Stone, organized the event. "We also had people who came in and just looked around and made their donation."

The event raised $2,348, she said. That amount included a $500 donation from the Taneytown Lions Club. The money will benefit Martina Arvisu Saldana and her three children, ages 1 to 15. Martina lost her husband, Faustino V. Saldana, and their 2-year-old daughter, Rosa Blanca, in an accident on Route 140 near Westminster in July.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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