'Museum Roadshow' Returns to Heritage of the Americas Museum

People brought in antiquities of all variety for appraisal by Craig Helm, a specialist in Native American, western memorabilia and pre-Columbian pieces on Saturday.

On Saturday, the hosted its second installment of “Museum Roadshow,” a spin-off of KPBS’ Antique Roadshow.

Much like the , local residents brought in their treasures for inspection by certified appraiser Craig Helm, a specialist in Native American, western memorabilia and pre-Columbian pieces.

Nancy Stevens left feeling good about an Arapaho beaded pouch dating from as far back as 1870, and given to her family by Native Americans in exchange for beef. The item was appraised at $15,000, a sum she said she might put toward her grandson’s education.

“I used to tell people I was going to sell it and send my grandson to college,” she said. “But I don’t know if I could part with it.”

Kevin Clancy brought in a doll collection―including two Shirley Temple dolls―valued by Helm at $5,000.

“Usually, I go to an auction and they say, ‘We have 25 dolls here, do we have $100?’” Helm told the group of more than 100. “It’s nice to see a valuable doll collection.”

A couple brought what Helm identified as a copy of a Mayan jade effigy after holding it up to the light. Even as a fake, it was valued at $1,200 based on the quality.

“If it wasn’t a copy, it’d be worth about $100,000 or so,” he said.

A gloved Ruben Esquivel unsheathed a German sword bearing a Mexican crest and carved ivory handle, a gift to his grandfather from Pancho Villa in return for his services as a scout. The “historically significant” piece was appraised at $6,000.

Nancy Ryan revealed her superb bargain hunting skills when the two Japanese doll sculptures she bought at Goodwill for $8 were valued at more than $150.

The big ticket item of the day was a collection of Native American garments. Helm valued the five pieces at $30,000.

Other pieces included a carved wooden group of Yei Kachina, spiritual beings depicted in the Southwest Hopi and Navajo Native American cultures; a 5000-year-old pot from Thailand; a woven Indian basket; a beaver pelt with the shape of a buffalo carved into it; and many more.

After three hours of appraisals, the museum staff continued to sign up walk-ins interested in having their antiquities evaluated. Sighs, gasps and giggles filled the air throughout the afternoon.

David and Betty Feldman brought in several pieces of jewelry and an ornate European box dated from the 1850s, all of which were valued at around $1,500.

“We’re rich!” said David Feldman, smiling.

The musuem was able to bring in $745 in donations during the event.


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