Antiques will give hospice a boost


John Davis refinishes a 1880's walnut Victorian dresser that Warrington's Furniture Repair, 818 NW 4th St., will donate to the Haven Hospice Antique Auction and Roadshow with John Sikorski this Saturday.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 11:36 p.m.

Facts

A home-grown roadshow

  • What: An auction to benefit Haven Hospice. John Sikorski, The Gainesville Sun antiques columnist and radio host, offers visual appraisal of up to three items for a $5 per item donation.
  • When: Saturday, preview begins at 1 p.m., auction and roadshow gets under way at 2 p.m.
  • Where: Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store, 300 NW 8th Ave.
  • Cost: Free, those wishing to bid must register.

John Sikorski has nearly 30 years of experience in the antiques business, and he predicts bidders will find some bargains at Saturday's auction to benefit Haven Hospice.
"Most of the pieces will be purchased at very, very affordable prices," says Sikorski.
The host of the call-in radio show "Sikorski's Attic," that airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. on WUFT, also writes a column on antiques for The Gainesville Sun. He's a regular volunteer at the Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store, offering the store appraisals on donated antiques.
This Saturday he'll be offering a similar appraisal service to those who come to the auction, doing a home-grown version of the "Antiques Roadshow," a long-running hit on PBS.
For a donation to hospice of $5 per item, Sikorski will offer a quick visual appraisal, what he calls a QVA. He's setting a limit of three items per person, and stamps, coins, firearms and cloth items, including dolls are excluded.
He says it's quite rare for an expensive treasure to be found hiding in an attic. He says most people who have had valuable antiques handed down to them know they're valuable. He says people appreciate finding the stories behind the heirlooms and keepsakes, such as where they were made and when.
"It's the little everyday things that make up the world of antiques and vintage collectibles," Sikorski says. "It isn't always the great value that's the motivating force."
As for the items up for auction, he says the furniture pieces are all American made, dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. He says it's "nice furniture as is" but with a little TLC and elbow grease it can be spruced up.
"It's amazing what you can do with wood furniture," he says.
One piece, a walnut dresser with mirror dating back to the 1880s, will already be restored. It will be the final piece on the block Saturday. John Davis of Warrington's Refinishing donated the labor. He says he's had tougher challenges. The dresser had wood missing and a drawer handle that needed to be recarved. He says anyone who'd seen it a few weeks ago may not recognize it now.
"It was a good representation of what we can do," he says.
Davis stops by the Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store occasionally and has seen a few surprises.
"They've got a few gems over there," he says.
While some will come to buy, if Gainesville TV viewers are any indicator, then Sikorski's roadshow should also prove popular. Titus Rush, station manager for WUFT/Channel 5, says "Antiques Roadshow" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. and is one of the station's most popular offerings.
Rush says just a peek at neighboring communities like Waldo, Micanopy and High Springs shows that antiques are popular in North Central Florida.
Rush says he thinks part of the show's popularity is based on the drama, with viewers waiting to hear just what a piece is worth. There's also an interactive component, as those watching at home can make their own guess on the value and see how it compares with the show's experts.
"Every now and then there's a big surprise," Rush says.
Haven Hospice Attic Resale Store moved to the big purple building on NW 8th Ave. in February 2006, and sales support patient care, bereavement and community outreach programs. In moving the store it increased its space nearly seven-fold.
"Our sales increased drastically from day one," says retail manager Martha Auffenberg. "The Gainesville community supported us in a huge way."
Auffenberg says the move also increased the visibility of the store, and NW 8th Avenue is well-traveled. She thinks the auction will help both in fund-raising and in increasing awareness of what the store has to offer. In fact, that's happened already.
"I can't believe the number of calls we've gotten from people who don't know where we are," Auffenberg says.
Gary Kirkland can be reached at 338-3104 or kirklag@gvillesun.com.

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