Antique appraisal turns into big bucks

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When recent retirees Greg and JoAnn Parks first thought about selling their blue ceramic seated spaniel, the couple thought that they might be able to get a few hundred dollars for it. However, after taking the spaniel to an antique shop — and being offered just $50 for the item — the couple decided to get it appraised.

"I looked at the site and couldn't get into the Eau Claire appraisal with Mark Moran, so we started to look a little farther out to see if we couldn't get into one somewhere else," JoAnn said. "We found an opening in New Richmond and decided to make a day of it. We went to Stillwater to check out the antique shops there, and the downtown area, and made it to the appraisal show at the library."

The blue ceramic spaniel dog was used as a door stop by Greg's relatives before it was passed on to him after his mother passed in 2015. The dog was originally owned by his grandmother's sisters, who lived in his great-grandparent's house.

The couple had two items they brought to be appraised at the New Richmond event, but only the seated spaniel interested Moran — who will be at the Friday Memorial Library for another appraisal session at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 22 — enough to talk with the couple after the show. Moran told the couple that the spaniel was authentic and that the blue coloring was not common. He suggested an auction site that the couple could try selling the item on.

"Mark told us he didn't know the exact price we could get for the item, but he thought we might be surprised at what we could get," Greg said. "It was listed at an estimated price between $300-$500, which is kind of what I thought we might get for it. I've seen lots of those online when I was researching it, but I didn't see any blue ones, so I figured it must be rare."

The couple, who live between Cadot and Cornell, Wis., put the spaniel up for auction through Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in June. The auctioneers estimated the value of the blue spaniel between $300-500 and were able to date the antique as being from around 1855.

"We felt like the piece was in really good shape after being used as a door stop for so long. And the blue color made it seem like it was significant and unique since we only saw brown ones when we looked to see how much it might sell for," JoAnn said.

When the item came up for bidding online, JoAnn watched the bids go up and up before the online bidding closed at around $700. The blue spaniel ended up being sold for $1,989.

"We didn't get to see the final price that the spaniel sold for until after the live auction, but we were really surprised to get that much for it," Greg said. "I had hoped for and would have sold it for the original estimated value, but what we ended up getting was amazing. I think even Mark was surprised when he found out how much it sold for."

The couple has no plans yet to spend their earnings from the auction.

"Mark seemed like a nice guy and it was really interesting to go to his event at the library," Greg said. "We stayed for the whole thing and there were some really interesting items."

For more information and to sign up for a slot in the Friday Memorial Library appraisal event with Mark Moran, visit www.newrichmondlibrary.org. For more information on Mark Moran, visit www.MarkFMoran.com.