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Historical society opens year with lesson on antiques

By Staff | Mar 15, 2017

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Mary Gray of Picture Rocks and Gerald Gordner of Muncy are discussing the history of military collectibles with Michael Callahan at the opening program for the East Lycoming Historical Society on Feb. 20.

HUGHESVILLE – Several questions were answered from a well received audience when guest speaker, Michael G. Callahan spoke on the value of antiques. The opening meeting of the East Lycoming Historical Society was held on Feb. 20 at the social hall of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Hughesville. Callahan who is a certified personal property appraiser and owner of Callahan’s Antiquities in Montoursville shared his vast knowledge of antiques and their market prices for such items as furniture, artifacts, military rifles, glassware, and other desirable and non-desirable collectibles.

“Young people are not collecting anymore,” he said. Callahan said he has worked for auction companies, spent time setting up sales and buying and selling to individuals. He mentioned a few things that are really attracted to young buyers now and discussed why they are favorable such as Kentucky long rifles and vintage advertising art.

Callahan said he learned a lot from dealers along his journey of antiques, especially about prized possessions. He took Gordon Chase’s advice (owner of Gordon’s Antiques) who said, “Sell as fast as you can, don’t hold out for price.”

“Books are still my best information source,” said Callahan. “My library is extensive.” Technology has kept up with changing markets which has changed with generational gaps. Some things had higher values decades ago compared to today’s prices. For example hand decorated Royal Dalton would get four times the value, but is way down today. “No knick-knacks. We’re mobile now,” he added. Younger family members do not keep china closets and many items only hold about 25 percent of their value. However, depending on the time time period, some pieces are at the next level he said while holding a brilliant piece of high end cut glass hand made from German immigrants.

“Beer advertising and cars will always be collector items,” Callahan said because the graphics make good decorating for pubs, game rooms and restaurants. Holding up an old license place, he said, “This is extremely rare. Young people love these because they can hang them on a wall.”

Crocks are another hot item in today’s market, especially those with Pennsylvania folk art. They’re all unique, many made in the Harrisburg area according to Callahan. “The area had some of the great decorators for crocks.”

Military sabers are another desirable item for the millenials because they like to hang them. “They’re big and bold. The young gravitate to Civil War stuff and World War II stuff. “There were many local makers here at one time for long and half stock rifles.”

Laws have changed and some items are hard to sell such as taxidermy and ivory. “However, good stuff will always be good,” added Callahan.

When asked what will always be good, the 13 year business owner replied, “Furniture is a good price right now. So are old coins, knives and swords.” These pieces show how history was made.

Estate jewelry of gold and silver will always hold value, not costume jewelry. Insurance appraisals will be higher for these depending on the replaceable value. “Gold and silver will fluctuate with the economy.”

“Good toys are still great like the cast iron fire engines.” Textiles and paintings are hard to restore and Victorian pieces are not as favorable anymore. “No one has parlors, just lazy-boys.”

In conclusion, Callahan told the well attended audience that quality will always be worth the money.