Heritage Guild Antiques Appraisal Returns to Dexter

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Robert DuMouchelle explains to Brian Haggerty the value of his grandfather’s pocket watch. Photo by Doug Marrin.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Antiquarians spent a fun afternoon lined up at the Dexter Area Museum on Saturday, May 14, to have their treasures appraised.

The event was a fundraiser hosted by the Dexter Heritage Guild for the museum. On hand to inspect and assess the value of the items brought in was Robert DuMouchelles of DuMouchelles Art Gallery in Detroit.

Heritage Guild member Sue Schotts explained the popular annual event had taken a two-year hiatus due to, well, you know. DuMouchelles offers his appraisal services free of charge to help benefit the museum.

“DuMouchelle’s Art Gallery was established in 1929,” explained Schott. “They have monthly auctions, and people call in from all over the world to participate. They have been coming here to the museum to do these appraisals since the 1980s.”

One of the first things many appraisers look at is the item's condition. The most valuable pieces are considered “like new” or “mint” condition. Rarity is also a leading factor. Age can be misleading for many customers. Old doesn’t necessarily mean it's valuable. A manufacturer or designer’s mark often adds more value than an identical piece with no signature. Proven authenticity needs to be determined before the item can be genuinely valued.

Brian Haggerty brought in his grandfather’s pocket watch for an appraisal. It has been in the family for more than a century. Brian’s grandfather worked as a clerk at the Detroit Train Station around 1918. You can just imagine him pulling out his pocket watch, checking the trains as they came and went.

“Our family is not going to sell it,” says Brian. “We just want to know what we’ve got here.”

DuMouchelle said the watch ticked many of the necessary boxes for a valuable antique. It was old and in very good condition even though it didn’t work. The manufacturer stamped the watch with the year 1914. It is more than a hundred years old and has a half-ounce gold piece. The watch has been in the Haggerty family the whole time, establishing its authenticity. Brian was pleased with the result.

Those wishing to have their antiques inspected had to schedule a 15-minute appointment ahead of time. The cost was $10 per slot, which supports the museum.

The Dexter Area Museum is located at 3443 Inverness St. near St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays 1-3 pm, May-November.

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