Every item has a story to tell, and when it comes to antiques and collectibles, Kathy Osterberg is the person to tell it.
The Clovis woman has been an antique and collectibles appraiser for nearly three decades. Her parents, Fred and Suzie Osterberg, opened Osterberg’s Mercantile in Old Town Clovis in 1980.
These days, “Kathy O”, as she is known around town, offers free appraisals at the biannual Antiques & Collectibles Fair, which will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20.
Thousands of collectors flock to Pollasky Avenue and 4th and 5th streets to search through heirlooms and treasures of the past.
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The Business Organization of Old Town Clovis (B.O.O.T.) event sees about 100 dealers each year who set up booths featuring jewelry, toys, books, records, musical instruments, military memorabilia, furniture, glassware and more.
“The event has become a family affair. It’s a lot of fun and there are food vendors out on the street. It’s a lot like a farmer’s market but there are thousands of antiques and collectibles,” said Osterberg, who will offer free appraisals from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Those interested in appraisal are encouraged to bring just one item to Osterberg to learn about its history and retail value.
“I’ve appraised several things that are highly valuable, such as Native American baskets,” said Osterberg, noting that the baskets ranged in value from $200 to $20,000. “I’ve appraised slave conscription papers and slave release papers from the Civil War era ... Clovis and the Fresno area have lots of great things.”
The strangest item Osterberg has seen at the Antiques & Collectibles Fair is a shrunken head.
“I didn’t think it was real, but it could’ve been,” she said. “I also appraised a French barometer from the early 1800s.”
Osterberg encourages children to come to the event and have an item appraised if they need to do a history project for school.
“If you have a family heirloom, your child can do a genealogy on this particular item,” she said. “I try to teach as much as possible when I’m doing an appraisal.”
The event is free and will be held rain or shine. Food will be available for purchase from local vendors.
For details or to become a vendor vist www.oldtownclovis.org/antiques-collectibles-fair.