History comes alive at weekend antique appraisal fair

Posted October 15, 2019

This story originally appeared in The Montana Standard, written by Annie Pentilla.

From handmade rugs from Afghanistan to paintings and turn-of-the-century jewelry, residents from Butte and the surrounding areas turned out Saturday for the Montana History Foundation’s Montana Antiques Appraisal Fair.

The annual event, which continues Sunday and is being co-hosted by the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives at the Butte Civic Center, gives Montanans the opportunity to meet with professional appraisers to see what their antiques and heirlooms are worth.

It costs participants $20 per object to meet with appraisers Timothy Gordon and Grant Zahajko, and proceeds from the event are going to the Butte Archives.

There were both surprises and disappointments when it came to discovering the value of participants’ objects Saturday. However, many of them said it didn’t matter to them how much the objects are worth. What matters, they said, are the stories behind the things they hold dear.

Arcylle Shaw of Cardwell was one of the day’s presenters. She arrived at the Civic Center with two sterling silver souvenir spoons from Dillon and an ornate Art Nouveau necklace.

Shaw said the necklace, bronze in color and studded with purple stones, belonged to her mother, Mary Jackson, who received the necklace as a high school graduation gift.

Shaw’s family has long wondered if the stones were amethysts, but Saturday Shaw learned that the purple decorations are colored glass. She also learned the necklace was manufactured in France as early as 1900, long before her mother graduated from high school in Whitehall in 1926.

Shaw described her mother as a giving person.

“She always had room for one more at the table. Always,” she said.

Shaw inherited the necklace from her mother before her mother passed away. Later, Shaw’s older sister kept the necklace for a while before returning it to Shaw. All the while, no one wore the necklace because it was too small.

Shaw’s spoons, meanwhile, are also turn-of-the-century, possibly pre-1900s. Shaw said a friend gave her the spoons when she moved into a nursing home.

“I wanted them because of her,” she said, adding that she displays the spoons in a shadow box in her home.