Rare $20,000 find at Bay museum fair
A RARE collection of whale's tooth scrimshaw, dating back to the 1780s, was uncovered at the recent Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum Antique Fair on May 5.
Certified practising auctioneer and valuer Craig Winter valued the set about $20,000.
"These are all very rare, especially in a collection like this," Mr Winter said.
"(It is) just rare to see so much scrimshaw in a single collection that is genuine."
Mr Winter said the owner had been collecting for some time but didn't realise how much the collection's value had increased over the years.
"People tend to collect things they like without really thinking of the end value after so long and then it takes them by surprise."
Other rare finds uncovered on the day were a possibly genuine Charles Stuart oil painting previously thought to be a worthless print, and a ring bought for $20 but valued at $3500.
"The blue Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring was picked up at a boot sale, probably among costume jewellery," Mr Winter said.
"This is quite common as family who inherit jewellery often don't think of the value of large flashy gemstones like this, they just assume they're fake and sell them cheaply.
"There are a lot of rare and valuable items on the Fraser Coast in collections, hiding in storage boxes, etc. Many are in excellent condition, but families forget they're there, or descendants don't appreciate the real value of them and so ignore them."
Museum volunteer John Andersen said the annual fair continued to grow in popularity.
"A very large crowd enjoyed a great day with all the museum buildings and demonstrations well patronised from early morning till late afternoon," he said.
"The many stall holders, exhibiting their antiques, collectables and items of interest created a great atmosphere and many have already booked their sites for next year's antique fair.
"Undoubtedly the highlight was the valuations area, with long queues waiting to have their free valuations of their personal treasures valued by the professional team of valuers."
General items were assessed by Mr Winter and his wife Claire, and jewellery by the expert team from the Hervey Bay Gem Club.