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HUNDREDS PAY TO DISCOVER THE VALUE OF HISTORY

Area residents have packed up their prized relics from walls, coffee tables and attics for a decade now, carting them down for the annual Heirloom Appraisal Day in the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum.

Saturday was no exception.

Paintings, antique china, jewelry and furniture were among many of the items that were studied by the 11 volunteer appraisers on hand who attached an estimated market value on the individual goods.

Barbara Casilio and her daughter, Joan Adams, were among those who received estimates on a few of their items -- a circa 1800s German oil painting mounted inside an ornate gold frame, turn-of-the-century American marine painting and a grandiose Victorian artwork.

"This allows you to hook up with the best people here in the business (of art and collectable appraising)," said Ms. Adams of Williamsville.

Dana E. Tillou of the Dana Galleries on Franklin Street, who appraised their artwork, placed values on the pieces that ranged from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.

The more valued items brought to the historical society in recent years included a 19th-century Victorian oil painting that was appraised at $80,000, Tillou recalled.

"It's not an exact science but being in the business a long time, you see a lot of stuff and know the market for it," Tillou said.

Tillou, also a member of the Historical Society's advisory committee, lauded the service the society provides with the Heirloom Appraisal Day.

For $8, collectors can obtain a certificate of appraisal for their items to use as a guide for selling the item or for insurance purposes. Appraisers represented a variety of specialties ranging from sports memorabilia to quilts and general Americana.

"People bring in their family heirlooms or family treasures and the appraiser provides an opinion as to the value of the item," said Angela Georgi, an advisory committee member. "It's really quite a bargain to get an appraisal for eight dollars."

Several hundred area collectors took advantage of the appraisal day, which runs for one day every year in early autumn.

New to this year's event was a panel discussion on preventative conservation hosted by graduate students in conservation from Buffalo State College.

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