If you follow “Antiques Road Show” on PBS, not to mention “American Pickers” or “Pawn Stars,” chances are you’ll be in for a great time at the Finney County Historical Society’s Seventh Annual Southwest Kansas Antiques Appraisal Fair, set for March 9 at the Finney County 4-H Building.

The fair is an all-day show, where everyone is welcome to bring family heirlooms and keepsakes, or even coveted garage sale finds, to be shown and shared live before the audience. The appraisers include local collectors, dealers and others with expertise in antiques.

People come from all over Western Kansas and beyond. Last year, the audience shared 125 objects, including a Civil War-era smoking pipe, newspapers from the 1870s, a 19th Century silver tea set, a Franklin D. Roosevelt campaign button, a variety of toy metal cars and trucks, an “I Like Ike” car tag, a, 1896 set of bone china, a 1910 model typewriter and an 1890s wax cylinder phonograph.

There were plenty of china pieces, teacups, pocket watches, mantle clocks and toys. Onlookers also shared geisha, Shirley Temple, baby and Native American dolls, a vintage accordion, a set of documents signed in the 1840s, a glass globe gumball machine, a Disney movie poster and a carved oriental chest.

Crocks, Depression glass dishes, leaded crystal and a variety of additional sets and pieces of tableware crossed the stage, too. An enamel-on-metal Santa Fe Trail bus lines sign earned an award as the most valuable item, and later sold in a well-attended estate auction for $7,500.


Early registration

Appraisals are $15 per item, on a first-come/first-served basis, and spectator admission is free. Those who pre-register with payment by March 1 may bring three items for $36. The place for early registration is the Finney County Historical Museum, 403 S. Fourth in Finnup Park. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. daily, except President’s Day Feb. 18. The number for information is (620) 272-3664.

Registration will be available after March 1, too, at the museum; and until 2 p.m. at the door the day of the show, all at the $15 item rate.

The doors at the 4-H Building will open to the public at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event, with the fair running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until the last item is appraised, whichever comes first.

Pre-registered items will get first priority, so the sooner you register the better. We’re encouraging everyone to provide printed pictures of their items. If you prefer, we’re glad to photograph each piece when you register in advance at the museum.

Evaluations will be conducted individually and one by one before the audience, so some spectators elect to come and go, while others pick a spot and watch throughout the day. While we can’t offer appraisals for fine jewelry, coins or firearms, we can accept almost any other antiques or collectibles. No artifacts will be bought or sold, but the appraisers will offer non-binding spoken estimates of value for each item, while sharing their knowledge about the history of each piece.


Sponsors, meals and volunteers

We greatly appreciate the event’s sponsors, whose support demonstrates their backing of the historical society, as well as their commitment to preserving and celebrating southwest Kansas history.

Primary sponsors include American Warrior, the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Garden City Telegram, the Vernon and Wilma Solze family, Steve and Rhonda Stone and Larry Johnston Auction.

Major sponsors are Golden Plains Credit Union, High Plains Public Radio, Homestead Assisted Living, Pishny Financial Services LC and Valley State Bank.

Additional sponsors include John and Angelica Chappel, Dave Tabor Construction, Garnand Funeral Home, Neil Hawley Agency – American Family Insurance, Oswalt Appraisals and Unger’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Edward Jones Financial Advisor Lora Schneider is providing prizes for the items of greatest age and value, as well as the most unique.

Flat Broke Barbecue will offer food and beverages during a lunch break and throughout the day. We’re also grateful to our volunteer appraisers: Jody Bennett, who leads the show; Deb Davis, Lisa Garcia, Linda Hinde, Nancy Kay, Joanna Meier, Jude Near, Mitch Near and Dave Tabor. Numerous other volunteers help bring the day to life, led by Rhonda Stone of the FCHS Board of Directors.

Appraisal Fair proceeds support programs, research, artifact preservation and exhibits at the Finney County Museum, so you’re invited to unpack Grandma’s pink glass punch bowl, Uncle Eddie’s prized pocket knife, or even that “Studebaker Authorized Service” sign you picked up last summer at the flea market and join us March 9 to explore history through objects and artifacts from times gone by.


Steve Quakenbush  is the executive director of the Finney County Historical Society. Email him at squakenbush@finneycounty.org.