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Free antique appraisal draws treasure-seekers to Tilton Library

  • Douglas Bilodeau appraises antiques during a free event held at the Tilton Library Wednesday evening, Jan. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo. Recorder Staff—Andy Castillo

  • A vintage piece of china is shown at an antiques appraisal event held at Tilton Library in South Deerfield on Wednesday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Douglas Bilodeau, owner of Douglas Auctioneers, looks at a piece of jewelry owned by Florida resident Jane Raimondi during a free antiques appraisal event at the Tilton Library Wednesday evening. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Douglas Bilodeau, owner of Douglas Auctioneers, looks at a piece of jewelry owned by Florida resident Jane Raimondi during a free antiques appraisal event at the Tilton Library Wednesday evening. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Douglas Bilodeau, owner of Douglas Auctioneers on Routes 5 and 10, looked at a green gemstone necklace through a jewelry loupe.

“Whoa, that jumps out at you, doesn’t it?” Bilodeau said. “It’s a nice piece of costume jewelry. First, you have to look at the clasp, there’s no clasp, which means it’s not gold.”

Bilodeau, who donated his time for the fundraising event, returned the necklace to its owner, Florida resident Jane Raimondi, and picked up another piece of jewelry. Raimondi was visiting relatives in Connecticut, heard about Tilton Library’s free antiques appraisal event Wednesday evening, and brought vintage jewelry for appraisal.

Seated in a circle around them in the library’s studying area about 15 people watched with interest, holding their own antique treasures waiting to be appraised. Another 10 or so peered in through books from an adjoining room.

While Bilodeau valued most items under $100, there were a few worth enough to confidentially write the estimate on a piece of paper.

“It’s sort of like our own little antique’s road show,” said Library Trustee Chairwoman Nancy Maynard. “It’s very interesting. Someone had dishware, another had a lamp. It’s all about making people aware of the library and fostering interest in all sorts of populations.”

Maynard, who’s also on the library’s 100th Anniversary Committee, brought in an antique doll that belonged to her grandmother, along with a few old figurines.

The appraisal was part of the library’s year-long anniversary celebration, which features events such as ice cream socials, artwork displays and a special book club, among others.

In total, Maynard said about 50 people brought in antiques for appraisal, not including walk-ins.

“He said a couple bucks here and then five bucks for the bowl. No big hits,” said local resident Darin Bieunis, sorting through a box full of antique odds-and-ends afterward. Bieunis selected one item and said, “I thought it was a shaving set. He said it was a bed pan.”

Antiques appraised during the roughly three-hour event included various jewelry pieces, old books, clocks, pictures, china sets and even an 1800s “body puller,” an iron hook converted from a bayonet that was used to pull bodies into graves during the Civil War.

“Just sitting there and watching the things come up — knowing what I have at home — it was education tonight,” Raimondi said later, noting a few jewelry pieces she didn’t bring that might have value.

The library’s 100th anniversary

Tilton Library’s 100th anniversary year kicked off last November with a re-dedication ceremony, which featured a special quilt that’s currently on display.

Coming up, there will be a book discussion Feb. 16 of “Seventeen,” a novel penned in 1916 by Booth Tarkington. On March 29, there will be a talk on Robert Frost by Barry Dietz.

The library was dedicated Nov. 14, 1916, built using funds from the town, fundraising events sponsored by the South Deerfield Women’s Club, private donations, and the estate of Chauncey B. Tilton, a local storekeeper.

On the horizon, the library is planning to add an addition that’ll expand its book capacity, and provide a space for young adults along with a community meeting place.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo