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Precious items brought out this weekend for “Antiques Roadshow” expert

January 29, 2019

FORT MOHAVE — Daniel Buck Soules, who has provided free valuations of items brought by people in the PBS series “Antique Roadshow,” was a special guest at the Tri-state Home, Garden and Lifestyle Show at Mojave Crossing Event Center over the weekend.

Soules, an auctioneer, appraiser and art gallery owner from Maine, specializes in Shaker, 18th- and 19th-century Americana, and 19th- and 20th-century paintings. He has been involved in the antiques business since the early 1970s.

His opinions come without prejudice.

“We have no vested interest,” Soules said soon after the show opened Sunday.

Getting to see so many lovely things allows Soules and Cindi Clark, vice president of the art gallery, to hear some interesting accounts about how the owner came into possession of such items.

“This is a lot of fun,” he explained. “We hear stories that come down from the families. But you have to debunk a lot of things you can’t prove.”

This is done through Soules’ years of experience and some on-the-spot internet research using sites established for people who deal with antiques and fine art.

Not long ago, he was asked to estimate the value of a vase. The owner said a family member relayed that it was from China’s Ming dynasty (1388-1644).

It was more likely created during the 1950s, however, Soules recalled.

On Sunday, people brought in rugs, paintings, jewelry, books, home items and plenty of art.

What he can do is help find buyers — at least for items expected to garner interest. People wondering whether their aesthetically pleasing or simply most interesting possessions are marketable or even worth a royal sum of money showed up.

One man brought in some paintings. Soules couldn’t find much information online about two of them — including whether the artist’s name was known among art sellers and professionals.

A third painting appeared to be a work by Maurice Braun, a Hungarian-born artist who came to the United States with his family as a child during the late 1800s. He trained at New York’s National Academy of Design and ultimately ended up in California and focused on creating Impressionist landscapes.

There’s a great deal of information about Braun online, including digital renderings of many of his works.

It’s likely worth thousands of dollars, Soules told the man.

Another person brought in a Gemtype. This tiny version of a Tintype photograph was most popular during the mid-1800s. Most are worth up to $20 today.

The man was told by someone that the subject in the photo looked like John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.

Soules said the uniform and hairstyle worn by the subject were common during that era but that it might not be the infamous stage actor and traitor. But he did note that doing some research and finding out who is featured in such Gemtypes adds to the value — somewhat.

“It’ll take a little bit of work,” he said.

He then suggested some online sites for the man that might help bring context to the tiny picture and, perhaps, even identify the subject in it.

“It’s the weakest antiques market since the early 1970s,” said Soules, who started in the business during that period and has seen decades of ups, downs and trends.

A man who owns an art gallery in Brookings, Oregon, brought in a bead necklace purchased in Asia during the mid-20th century.

“I’m just curious about it,” said Chuck Parel, who heard about the home show — and Soules being there.

Mary Walker, of Fort Mohave, brought a couple of small items with her. One she referred to as “a bleeder.”

“Be careful,” she said as she made the tiny razor blades poke out through slits in the medical device used to leech blood from a patient.

“This is how President (George) Washington died,” Soules said about the treatment provided with such an object.

This bleeder appeared to be worth a low three-digit figure. Turns out there’s a market for medical antiques.

Beautiful china isn’t worth what it used to be because younger people don’t seem to have a use for it, Soules said.

They can’t put it “in the microwave,” he mused.

Pocket watches and many other gold and silver items aren’t as valued as they once were — unless they’re unique or otherwise special.

Soules said he buys gold and silver items. He comes up with a price by weight. However, he wasn’t buying anything at the show. He measures the weight using special machinery at his business in Maine.

For an item the owner is simply wanting to find out something about but has no interest in selling, it’s still important to knowing more about it.

“They’ll know how to insure it and take care of it,” he said.

One person brought in a piece of Indian pottery that appeared to be at least 1,000 years old. They said their grandfather found it somewhere in desert long ago.

The piece, if authentic, could be worth $100,000.

“That was exciting,” Soules said.

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