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“The Oro Valley Historical Society is raising money to fund maintenance and repairs at Steam Pump Ranch”

Local residents now have the chance to find out just how valuable those heirlooms and artifacts in their homes really are. The Oro Valley Historical Society is hosting its first ever “antique appraisal” event, and the public is invited to bring their items to a professional appraiser at the Oro Valley Country Club on Thursday, March 12. Ticket sales end on Sunday, March 1. 

While this event isn’t officially associated with the “Antiques Roadshow” TV series, historical society fundraising chair Teri Colmar invites attendees to bring in any antiques they might see or want to have on that show. 

“We’re requesting people bring a lap-sized antique; bring grandpa’s violin but don’t bring grandma’s piano,” Colmar said. “It can be anything. It can be jewelry, art, clocks, a musical instrument, even old war memorabilia.” 

The idea for this event came from the historical society needing an annual fundraiser, however, society members wanted it to be different from a typical dinner fundraiser with a keynote speaker. 

“Knowing that a good part of our community are residents who have downsized, and maybe dragged a few of those questionable items with them to their new homes here, we thought it would be fun to have an appraisal event here,” Colmar said. “They could bring an item and have it evaluated, and maybe put it up on a shelf because it’s valuable, or put it in the trash because they’ve been dragging it around too long… We thought it would be something different that we haven’t seen in the area very much, and something of interest for the community.” 

For this first-of-its-kind event, the historical society is inviting appraiser Catherine Baron, who has worked with antiques throughout the Tucson area. Baron has appeared on the Antiques Roadshow TV series, and has also worked at special events for the Tucson Museum of Art, the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun and the Arizona Historical Society. In addition, she also served on the Board of Directors for Friends of Western Art.

“We interviewed her, and she just seemed like the perfect match for this event,” Colmar said. 

This fundraising event also includes a buffet dinner for attendees. This will also serve as a chance for the historical society to have items from their own collection appraised. Their antiques include artifacts from George Pusch, who founded Steam Pump Ranch; James D. Kriegh, the “founding father” of Oro Valley; and several other antiques donated from locals over the years. 

“As far as antiques, we’ve never had an official appraisal,” Colmar said. “And [Catherine Baron] said she would come on board and help us with the appraisal of some of our collection as well.” 

Although the event will not provide connections to stores for local wishing to sell their antiques, Colmar said Baron may be a good resource for locals wishing to reach out to buyers. 

The historical society is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep Oro Valley history alive. 

“When we do our events, we try to have a connection to regional history,” said event chair Peg O’Connell. “And one of the reasons we chose the Oro Valley Country Club was because it was one of the original attractions in the area when people started using Arizona as a retirement site. So, while we had a huge plethora of choices, we ended up going there because of the local history it presents for our community.” 

The Oro Valley Historical Society’s antique appraisal fundraising dinner takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at the Oro Valley Country Club, 300 W. Greenock Drive. $75. Tickets available at eventbrite.com. Ticket sales end March 1.

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