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Appraisal of ‘treasures’ at Expo Center benefits mental health group

David Bissell Lowell (left) listens as appraiser MartPapke looks over his great-gregrandfather’s pocket watch Saturday 28th annual Treasures Past antique

David Bissell of Lowell (left) listens as appraiser Martin Papke looks over his great-great grandfather’s pocket watch Saturday at the 28th annual Treasures of the Past antique and collectibles show at the Porter County Expo Center. | Post-Tribune photo

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If you go

The 28th annual Treasures of the Past antique and collectible show, a benefit for Mental Health America of Porter County, continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Road, Valparaiso. Admission is $4, and free for children 12 and younger.

Updated: April 3, 2014 7:04AM



VALPARAISO — David Bissell of Lowell was pleasantly surprised to find out his great-great-grandfather’s pocket watch from the late 1800s is worth $1,200 to $1,500.

Bissell and his longtime girlfriend, Debra Richwalski, also of Lowell, brought the watch and some pottery Richwalski inherited from her grandmother for appraiser Martin Papke to look at Saturday during the annual antiques show that benefits Mental Health America of Porter County.

The pottery pieces were from the 1950s or 1960s and worth $35 each, Papke told the couple.

“He did better on the watch,” he told Richwalski, adding the pottery was pretty. “You keep what you like and that’s the best way of doing it. You can’t hope everything’s worth a buck.”

The appraisals were just one of the features of the 28th annual Treasures of the Past, which continues Sunday at the Porter County Expo Center.

The show is MHA’s major fundraiser for the year, said executive director Mary Hodson, bringing in a significant portion of the not-for-profit agency’s $90,000 annual budget and drawing around 3,000 people.

This year’s show has 72 vendors from the greater Midwest, up from the 60 or so in past years, Hodson said, in part because dealers are spreading news of the show by word of mouth.

“This is huge,” she said, as folks stopped by the MHA booth for samples of chocolate covered pretzels, which were for sale as a fundraiser.

The agency saw 3,560 clients last year for an assortment of services, including emergency financial assistance for medication; a drop-in center; holiday gifts; advocacy and resources; and youth and outreach programs.

For Papke, part of the fun of serving as the show’s appraiser is getting to check out things like Bissell’s old pocket watch.

“You never know what you’re going to find, or what people have, or what people have inherited,” he said. “Sometimes you find some really cool things, and sometimes you find a bowl that’s worth $25.”



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