LOVELL — The 16th Annual Antique Show and Live Auction fundraiser the Lovell Historical Society hosted Sunday at the Kimball-Stanford House on Route 5 drew people with treasures in tow from all over the southern half of the state.

In his fourth appearance in Lovell, Portland-based appraiser Bruce A. Buxton, who is known for his connection with “Antiques Roadshow,” was one of the primary draws for this year’s event.

“He is so entertaining. He’s fantastic, and he does it all for free for us,” Lovell Historical Society President Cathy Stone said about Buxton’s donating his time every other year to the fundraiser.

People paid to experience Buxton’s wit, sitting with him one-on-one and listening to him talk about their items. Some attendees hoped to learn they were in possession of something of significant value, while others hoped to learn more about a precious family heirloom or curious yard sale find.

Barbara Jones of the Rumford area arrived with a trove of genealogical records, including some Civil War-era letters and tinplate photos passed to her from a family member. Curiosity, more than anything, drew her to meet with Buxton.

“I know (what I brought) is real cool,” she said, adding, “I’d just like to know its worth. I’m not selling anything. They’re family heirlooms.”

Years ago, Quintus Wilson of Bridgton came in possession of a compass from the mid 1800s that once belonged to his namesake, Quintus Cincinnatus Babcock. After losing his wife and suffering a stroke, he began to work on a genealogical study, which included learning more about the piece. Although he joked that he planned to “live forever,” Wilson said his purpose for visiting Buxton for the appraisal was to aid him in his estate planning.

“Oh yes,” Buxton said, admiring the unusual piece and turning it over to examine it. “This is a nice piece. It’s in its original case. The case is lovely — it’s walnut. Oh my God, look at that — it’s working.”

He appraised the piece at $2,300 — one of the larger-valued items of the day — and offered Wilson a few tips for caring for the compass into the future.

Another unusual item, an art deco naked female figurine lamp, Buxton valued at $1,900, joking with the owners that, if they should decide to be rid of the piece, “It would look so nice in my living room.”

Buxton said he dislikes giving people bad news when they arrive excited about an item, but it does happen.

Barbara Richard of Rumford was just a teenager working at a restaurant in the 1950s when she went on her first flight and discovered that Eleanor Roosevelt was seated just behind her.

“I got up and asked, ‘Are you Mrs. Roosevelt?’ and she said, ‘I most certainly am.’ I said, ‘May I have your autograph?’ and she said, ‘You most certainly may.’ I was stunned,” said Richard.

The autograph, carefully wrapped in protective plastic and preserved for all these decades since, was worth just $100, according to Buxton, leaving Richard disappointed. Buxton urged people to see beyond the financial value of the items they presented, and nearly everyone left knowing more about their piece’s history.

“History is important because it tells us what has happened and why and its effect on people,” Buxton said.

The event is the biggest fundraiser for the Historical Society each year, bringing in approximately 30 percent of the organization’s annual revenue. Between 300 and 400 people attended, according to Stone. The society uses the money for maintaining the Kimball-Stanford House property and managing their website.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: