If you’ve ever seen the hit series Antiques Roadshow, you’ve probably seen it happen. An item is appraised, most likely something that the owner says has been lying around forever, and it turns out to be worth more than anyone had imagined. What many people might not realize, though, is that the great finds aren’t just seen on TV.
In fact, since the event began in 2005, quite a few items made right here in Northeast Tennessee have been rediscovered as treasures during Greeneville’s Annual Antique Appraisal Fair and Show.
In 2009, for example, a mid-19th-century miniature Sheraton chest of drawers made in Washington County sold for $8,966 at auction. The following year, a stoneware jar made in Washington County in the late 19th century by Charles Decker, complete with his trademark open tulip design, sold for $2,610 at auction.
The C. A. Haun jar shown on the left sold for $38,600 in 2010, and a similar jar by J. A. Lowe set a Tennessee pottery record in 2008 before when it sold at auction for an incredible $63,000. It’s possible (and probable) that Lowe may have been Haun’s apprentice at some point before the Civil War. And like many of the craftsmen hailing from the “Potterville” area in East Tennessee at that time, their work is only getting more valuable.
These are just a few examples of Northeast Tennessee’s rich artisan history producing items that sometime prove to be very valuable at international auctions.
Who knows? Some of the things you have lying around could be worth more than you think. Your chance to find out is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 18, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the Seventh Annual Appraisal Fair and Show at Greeneville High School. General admission is free, and appraisals will be $5 per item.