More than 90 antique dealers from across California will line Pollasky Avenue, from Bullard to 3rd streets, for the Old Town Clovis Antiques & Collectibles Fair. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, March 29. The fair has been held for 25 years and features a wide array of antiques and collectibles including everything from jewelry to furniture.
“The people coming here are looking for quality antiques, and this is where they can find them,” said Wanda Leon, who is on the board of directors at Business Organization of Old Town and is a co-owner of Fifth Street Antiques. “Our business community has a lot to offer ... and it’s an antiquers paradise.”
There will be a blend of visiting dealers at the event, along with all the participating Clovis antique stores. Wanda and her husband, Dennis, have been participating in the event since they bought Fifth Street Antiques six years ago. Prior to buying the store, the Leons were dealers at the store for three years. They became dealers, because they held a mutual appreciation for antiques and the history that each antique held.
“Their (antiques) history and their stories attached to them are really what attracted us to them,” Wanda said. “As we got into it and started learning more about it ... we became more enamored.”
The store’s location in Old Town Clovis was an added bonus to the allure of owning an antique store.
“It was the opportunity in Old Town that really kept us in antiques,” Wanda said. “Clovis has that charming, small town atmosphere. There are as many as a dozen antique and vintage stores here in Old Town Clovis, and they all complement each other. People will travel out of their way to a place like this.”
With 16 vendors dealing out of Fifth Street Antiques, the store offers a wide variety of items - everything from jewelry to antique tools.
“We have a nice, eclectic mix of things, and it’s part of our success as a store,” Wanda said.
The store commonly has items that are 100 years old, but on occasion has had items dating back 300 years. Wanda recently had an 18th century sea captains chest.
“It was very big, and was absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “Inside of it were secret compartments where the captain would have kept valuables and maps. Just looking at it and wondering where it’s been, what it had in it, who it’s captain was - I loved that piece, and so did other people. I would literally have people come back to the store just to be able to see it again, because it was a fantastic piece.”
Although Wanda does become attached to the antiques that come through her shop, she also takes comfort in the items finding a new home.
“When they sell to someone who is in love with them and is going to take them home and appreciate them, I see them going on to their next life,” she said. “I always know there’s always going to be a new, special thing to bring in. Most antiques have been around for a long time, are well made, and will be around for a long time to come.”
For those who already own antiques and would like to receive an appraisal, Kathy Osterberg-Sobelman will be offering free appraisals at the information booth located in front of the Education Employees Credit Union off Pollasky. She will be there from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 29.
Osterberg has a lifetime of knowledge about antiques. Her parents owned Osterberg’s Mercantile Antiques & Collectibles in Old Town Clovis for a number of years until Kathy took it over after their retirement. The shop closed in 2011, and Kathy now works out of Fifth Street Antiques.
Kathy said her mother taught her how to evaluate items, how to tell if they are real or fake, and how to gently tell people if their heirloom holds any monetary value.
“What they have as a family heirloom isn’t always exceptionally valuable, but as an heirloom or sentimental item it has an extreme value,” Kathy said. “It’s very special that they have these items in their family and that they maintain this sense of awe that belonged to grandma or great-grandma.”
Kathy says people bring her everything from costume jewelry and antique clothing, to artwork and figurines for appraisal.
“People bring all kinds of crazy things,” she said. “I see a lot of the same items at the appraisal clinics, but every once in a while people will come through with something unusual like an Indian basket or something unusual from WWI.”
Kathy gives each person much information as she can about each item in a short amount of time, then gives them an estimated value for their item. If the evaluation needs more research, Kathy will give the individual her contact information. Or, if they need to see an antique specializing in a certain area, she will give referrals.
Kathy said one thing people don’t always take into consideration is that antiques, by definition, must be at least 100 years old or designated as a collectible. She also said that age is less than 20% of the item’s value - the condition of the item being almost the whole value.
If anyone is interested in starting an antique collection, Kathy said it’s best to start with something the person loves - whether it’s books, stamps, or bottles. Kathy said she first began collecting rocks and buttons as a child, and says rocks are still the best item for children to collect.
“It’s a true antique, and you can teach them the scientific background, the age ... and it’s easy for them to identify with something they can hold in their hands.”
There will be many other interesting options available for the public, including a demonstration by Vicki Shoemaker of 3 Oaks Studio. She will demonstrate how Annie Sloan Chalk Paint can be used on nearly any surface. Her studio is now located at the northeast corner of 5th and Pollasky. The Flywheelers will also have a display of antique tractors, and there will be a variety of food booths at the event.
Old Town Clovis Antiques & Collectibles Fair
Sunday, March 29, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Old Town Clovis - Pollasky Ave. between Bullard and 3rd Streets.
Free admission and parking
Presented by the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T.)