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Rotary Happenings: Collectibles appraiser Minsch appraised Rotarian pieces

By Staff | Aug 17, 2017

Rotarian Gary Dyer with framed etching by Anton Babion. PHOTO PROVIDED

For a change of pace this week, Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club took a break from discussing club goals and upcoming Rotary projects. Speaker chair for August, Gary Dyer, invited Collectibles Appraiser Jack Minsch to do our own Friday morning version of the Antique Road Show. Minsch is a licensed appraiser in Lee County since 1992 as Jack Minish Estate Appraisals. He has compiled over a thousand appraisals for the courts, attorneys, real estate agencies, the Guardian program of the State of Florida administered through Lee, Charlotte, Collier, and Hendry Counties, and bereaved families. He holds a certificate for the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and is an associate member Appraisers Association of America.

Minsch has worked here on the island for the Sanibel Historical Village Museum valuing their entire interior contents, finalized in July 2002, updating their collections September 2003 and 2005. He was a weekly guest commentator on NBC 2’s Trash or Treasure from June 2000 to August 2004 and from September 2004 to present weekly guest commentator on ABC 7’s Trash or Treasure. He has conducted over 700 estate sales and estimated 1,800 appraisals in the past 16 years in Lee and surrounding counties and beyond. Along with his professional appraiser duties, Minsch volunteers many hours participating in fundraising activities for nonprofits in the area.

Minsch had been sent pictures of a few items ahead of time that Rotarians would be bringing for appraisal to the meeting, last Friday, so that he could do some research regarding their potential value. The first item up for appraisal was brought in by Cathy and Mike Raab. Cathy’s father spent some time in Gunzburg, Bavaria and on one of his travels to Bavaria brought home a wonderfully detailed etching of Gunzburg by Aton Babion, done sometime in the 1950s. Minsch researched the artist for a few hours before Friday’s meeting and did not find out much about Babion. He was an illustrator of books and his work does not sell very well, value somewhere around $125. Sentimental value priceless.

Chet Sadler brought in a framed needlepoint sampler piece that was originally part of a chair covering owned by his mother. His wife Susan admired the piece so much so, that his mother gave it to her. Minsch told us that the sampler was probably done here in the U.S. and within the needlepoint was the date that it was worked on, from March 1886 to December 1886, this unique hand-done-dated-piece, valued at $1,600.

Mary Schoffel brought in a beautifully boxed set of small hand-carved and hand-painted ivory birds from Korea brought to the U.S. right after the Korean War. There were probably 16 birds in the set. Minsch asked Schoffel if she had any papers about how the ivory bird set came to the U.S.; she did not. Minsch told her the bird set cannot be sold now because of U.S. government regulations about selling items made of ivory here in the states unless there are papers stating the ivory pieces were brought to the states legally before the 2016 ivory regulations were put into place. Value $0.

I brought in an antique chocolate set pitcher marked Sevres on the bottom. The chocolate set had been handed down from my husband’s German relatives. I thought I had a winner, not so fast, Minsch said, “the set was made here in the states, not in Germany.” It was old, but not that desirable except by chocolate set collectors. Value $100.

An intricately carved library mantle clock was brought in by someone. Minsch researched the clock, but there was no signature on the piece, or date. The clock is reminiscent of clocks made by the 19th century Gilbert Cabinet Company. Value for craftmanship $250-$275.

Time was running out at the meeting and just a few more items were valued, but none brought with them the golden ticket of a beautiful retirement.

Minish told us, “collectables have gone down in value since the current computer age. Pieces thought to be unique are now found in multiples on-line. Many of the young people of today have very little interest in collectible items. Offer them something handed down in your family and see their reaction.” Emphasis that family history comes with these pieces, not just monetary value. Just holding and feeling some of the family hand-me-downs brings connection to relatives with family stories passed on from generation to generation.

Bring them out of the closet now, display them for family members now, tell the family stories now before it’s too late for our young adults to connect with the pieces. Teach them the value of their own family history. Maybe, just one piece of family memorabilia will be saved from the trash to treasure booth at the local flea market.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests welcomed.