People who missed Mark Moran the last time he brought his “Antiques Roadshow”-inspired appraisal fair to the Coulee Region are in luck.
He’ll be in Holmen on Wednesday, Aug. 7, for an antique appraisal event put on by the Holmen Area Historical Society. The last time he was in the area was February for a similar event at the Onalaska Public Library, sponsored by the Friends of the Onalaska Library.
Between then and now, Moran’s extensive touring loop has taken him all over the state, and most recently he’s been up and down the Mississippi River, with recent stops in Prescott, Somerset and St. Croix.
“I’ve been spreading the fun,” said Moran, who has more than 40 years of experience working with antiques and collectables. He started in the 1970s as a collector, became a dealer in the 1980s and has co-authored more than 25 books starting in the 1990s.
Setting the stage for the HAHS event is Bill Yahnke, who will host the appraisal fair in his “barn,” located off Hwy. D in Holmen. Yahnke, a longtime friend of the historical society, owns a bit of history himself — his collection of 65 vintage John Deere tractors. He won’t have them appraised on Wednesday (he already knows what they’re worth), but attendees are welcome to meander through his display and learn about the machines.
Onalaska resident Gretchen Skoloda, however, is bringing something to be appraised — she just doesn’t know what it is. It’s a serving set made of a material she describes as “jeweled glass” that she inherited from a great aunt “many, many years ago.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it an antique shop or store,” she said. “I’ve asked around and nobody seems to know exactly what it is.”
Interesting pieces always have a way of finding their ways to Moran’s appraisal table. In fact, a painting that Moran appraised at an event in Prescott last year recently sold for $16,000 at an auction. Moran recognized the piece as an original oil illustration by Harry Ekman, famous for his work on 1950s pinup calendars, and advised the owner to sell it on consignment to an auction. The selling price was 3,200 times more than the owner paid when he bought it at a yard sale 20 years before.
Holmen resident Lyle Ostrander has a painting he’s curious about as well. It’s a nighttime scene depicting a rustic mill and waterfall, painted with oils on canvas. He bought it from an old stage coach shop in Michigan more than 50 years ago and believes it to be an American work from the late 1800s.
“(My wife and I) appreciate art of all kinds,” Ostrander said. “We’ve always liked antique objects.”