An expert examines a vase brought into the 16th Attic Treasures and Collectibles event. Photos courtesy of EBRPL.

Library event matches collectible owners with experts

Do you have an old clock your grandmother gave you? A vintage cookie jar you picked up at a garage sale? A ceramic knickknack with a strange mark on the bottom? It might just be a treasure.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is once again hosting its Attic Treasures and Collectibles event this Saturday, October 7, at the Main Library. The program, now in its 17th year, gives locals a chance to speak with experts in different artistic, historic and antiquities fields about a few of their own treasures–from treasured family heirlooms to interesting flea-market finds.

Mary Stein, EBRPL assistant director, has been a part of the event since its beginning in 2000. “It’s so much fun to see what people bring in,” says Stein. “I like to wander the lines and force people to tell me the stories behind what they’ve brought.”

In the nearly two decades since the event has started, Stein has seen some interesting, and impressive, finds. Just a few years ago, a woman brought in what she thought was a piece of costume jewelry. Turns out the lemon-colored glass pieces her grandchildren had been playing dress-up in were actually real, and rare, yellow diamonds. “The expert told her not to keep it in a bowl anymore,” says Stein.

Stein also mentions that a visitor several years ago brought in a few pieces of a silver service with a stamp mark from New Orleans. With a little careful combing, the experts at the event found that the pieces had been a wedding present for the governor of Mississippi, presented shortly before the Civil War.

Even if the experts can’t pin down the original owner of the piece, they can give you a bit of insight into a piece’s history. “Sometimes, you just have no clue where something came from,” says Stein. The experts can point you in the right direction. They might not know exactly where, or when, a piece was made. “But, they can give you a path for research,” she adds. And, hopefully, you can leave with a way to learn more about your treasure yourself.

Visit EBRPL’s Main Library this Saturday, October 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to have your items assessed by experts. Visitors can bring up to three items. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more details.