Our Newspapers in Education Coordinator told me about an event the Daily Press was sponsoring at the Carriage House Antiques in Hesperia on May 22. Similar to the "Antique Roadshow" TV show, three professional appraisers would be available to take a look at any item you chose to bring and tell you what they thought it was worth for only $5 each.


I realized I had just such a collectible and wondered not only what it actually was but if it was valuable. My parents had given me a two-inch Japanese carving of a fisherman after a trip to Japan when I was young and had a penchant for little things. At one point, my mother told me she thought it could have been a decorative button on a robe of some kind because of the two holes in the back. She wasn't far off.


I brought my little man to the event and Diana Sanders-Cinnamon of Specialty Appraisals took a look. She explained that traditionally a man wearing a kimono would have a man's purse called an inro strapped to his waistband (obi). On the end of the strap hanging down the man's side would be a decorative button, a netsuki (pronounced netski). And that is what I had.


Sanders-Cinnamon could tell by the angle of the striations on the material that it is made of elephant ivory (as opposed to mammoth, which would be more valuable). It is signed -- which is a good feature because identifying the artist could determine if it was a particularly sought after artist's work. Sanders-Cinnamon said it was a "very nicely carved, a very nice piece." The final word, my little fisherman is worth anywhere between $500 and $2000 depending upon the determination of the artist. Although I have no intention of selling my sentimental keepsake, it's nice to know the monetary value.


Along with my netsuki, 141 items were appraised at the event, including an 1898 tricycle "in rough condition, but so rare it could still be worth $1400" approximated Sanders-Cinnamon. Some rolls of antique rococo hand embossed and painted wallpaper came in at $100 per yard. A Honolulu newspaper announcing the bombing of Pearl Harbor was valued at $250.


The event sponsored by the Daily Press raised $705 for Newspapers in Education. NIE is an international program begun in 1955 to advance the use of newspapers in schools. To donate to NIE, contact Johna Freeman at the Daily Press: 760-951-6267.