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Antiques Considered - July 7, 2010

 A couple, who were among the first visitors to annual Waterford Festival in Loudon County in October 1952, purchased this bowl and potato masher at the old mill, which had become an antiques shop. They paid $5 for the bowl and $2 for the masher. Both had been refinished, but both are in solid condition with no splits or chips.
The bowl is pine and the masher is of undetermined wood. The stains in the bowl are the result of having stored fruits and vegetables in it. The couple died many years ago, and the pieces have passed through their family. The grandson would like to know how they have inflated in value.

The most interesting aspect of this inquiry is the pieces’ having been bought in Waterford almost 60 years ago. That was a time before antiques were being shipped back and forth to different markets, thus these pieces could be of Shenandoah Valley origin, but we cannot say so definitively.
At best, we can conclude that they are certainly in line with what came from the Valley in the 19th century. I suggest putting a sticker to that effect on the bottom of the bowl in order to preserve that bit of oral history.
The masher is probably walnut, oak or maple, as a softer wood such as pine would split off too easily. It is worth $25., and the bowl is worth $75., not a bad return on the money the grandparents invested in 1952. I recommend against storing vegetables in wooden pieces because inevitably they will turn and lead to staining. Neither of these pieces should be used for foodstuffs, but rather be displayed as the fine antiques they are.
I have happy memories of the Waterford Festival myself, and recommend attending as a great means of experiencing true Americana. The village itself is a jewel of historic preservation. Would that some of our historic places in the Northern Neck had followed its example.
Happy antiquing!
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them there or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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