People find out they had treasures in their home during Oconto's antique roadshow event

OCONTO, Wis. (WBAY) - Some lucky people found out they had treasures buried in their home all along, during an 'antique roadshow' event held by the Oconto County Historical Society.

Bill Eiler examines the different items people in the Oconto community brought in

Antique collector and expert of more than 50 years, Bill Eiler, was picked to be a volunteer at Green Bay's "Antiques Roadshow" episode taping for PBS in 2017. On Thursday, Elier became the guest of honor for Oconto’s version of an 'antique roadshow' at the Carriage Museum.

"This event is not to be mistaken for ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ the series. This is ‘antique roadshow’ Oconto style, where people are welcome to bring in an item to be identified by Bill Eiler, and for people to learn a little bit about their artifact," said Bob Klotzotsky, a board member of the Oconto County Historical Society.

"First you look at the item and try to determine what period it's from, and then you really start looking at it for clues. I mean, there are a lot of reproductions out there and you have to be careful," said Eiler.

People brought anything from jewelry to furniture. Irma Radoll brought in three framed pictures her husband bought from a frame collector 40 years ago.

"I didn't really know anything about these paintings. I thought they were pastels but I wasn't sure, but I found out they're hand painted. Wonderful, isn't it?" Radoll said.

Eiler says Radoll's paintings turned out to be from the Civil War era, likely made in the 1840's to 1860's. Eiler says the paintings are relatively common to find but do have value.

“It’s very interesting. I'm very happy that I came, and I don't know the value but that's okay, too," added Radoll.

“A lot of people, they don't really care about the value, they just want to have the knowledge of what it is and how old it is," Eiler says.

On the table of items to be evaluated was an intricate wooden box that caught Eiler's eye. The box turned out to be an American Folk Art handmade cigar box from the 1920's and 1930's. Similar items online have gone for thousands of dollars.

Eiler says there's a method to identifying treasures, and not everything old is of value. Still, the attendees of the event are relieved to gain some knowledge on the things they treasure in their home and their heart.

“A lot of it is sentimental value, and you really can't take that away from a person, no matter how little it's valued at,” Eiler said.

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