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From the worthless to the priceless: Experts inspect a range of items at HOLM's appraisal fair

By Howard B. Owens
HLOM appraisals
Todd Jantzi, from Bontrager Real Estate & Auction Service, talks with Gary Harkness and his wife, Debbie, about a lamp the couple brought into the HLOM appraisal event on Saturday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

It was indeed a bit like the set of an episode of PBS's Antiques Roadshow at the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia on Saturday, with local residents walking in carrying their treasures and experts giving sharing what they observed about the item while the owner awaited the verdict: Priceless or worthless.

There were items of little or no value, such as the windup Victrola, which is a great artifact but a common item in antique terms. Of keener interest to Todd Jantzi, the Bontrager's auctioneer who shared his judgment on a several items during the nearly daylong appraisal event that was a fundraiser for the Holland Land Office Museum, was the old shellac 78s the owner of the Victrola brought in.  Those are not common and, in fact, among the hardest records for collectors to find.

Many items, of course, were of middling value, like the mantle clock brought in by Crystal Rhinehart of East Bethany.

It was made by Ansonia, a well-known maker of clocks with a solid reputation, Jantzi told her.

Rhinehart said the clock had been in her family since it was new.

"This would have taken a little bit more funds to purchase it, so it probably would have kept better time than some other clocks," Jantzi said.  

Then he joked, "We usually only see these from the homes of the rich people in East Bethany." 

He valued it at $100 to $225 at auction.

Other experts on hand during the day were representatives from Cottone Auctions and Schultz Auctioneers.  A variety of items were brought in from musical instruments, such as a guitar, and pieces of art, such as a colorized 1880s etching of the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

At the end of the day, Gary Harkness and his wife, Debbie, walked in with a bag of items for appraisal.  

The largest item was the one that came out of the bag first. It was a cast white metal lamp with two candle-shaped lights.  Harkness said it sits on his mantle as a night light.

It's from the 1920s or 1930s.

"No cracks, which is uncommon for that age," Jantzi said.

Harkness pointed out a small piece of metal missing, and Jantzi said, "But usually you'll see age cracks, and there's none here."

At auction, Jantzi said, $400, maybe $500. 

Then Jantzi picked up a scrimshaw-engraved bone card-carrying case and nudged a photographer, "You'll want to get a picture of this."

Above an etching of a patriotic woman was the inscription, "Col Emory Upton. 124 New York Vols." 

The other side was inscribed, "In much appreciation from U.S. Grant, Nov. 1863."  

Upton, of course, is the Batavia-born Civil War hero, who would become a general before the war's end, and whose likeless stands vigil at Main and Ellicott in the city.  Grant, a future president, would, in a few months' time from the date of the inscription, take over command of the U.S. military and lead the Union to victory over the traitorous southern states. 

Harkness said he bought the case about 25 years ago from a dealer in Canada for $600 or $700.  

Jantzi said it's such a rare item with such historical significance, he couldn't put a price on it.

"That is cool, Gary. That is cool," Jantzi said. "The only way you're gonna find out is to put it up for auction. That's the only way you'll ever find out, but you hate to get rid of it to find out."

Harkness said he's thought about a heritage auction, but, he said, "It's not going anywhere soon." 

The historical treasure has been displayed before at the Holland Land Office Museum, he said.

Kind of like a real episode of “Antiques Roadshow,” Harkness coming in at the end with Upton's card box from Grant, gave the day of appraisals its dramatic closing.

Harkness let a couple of volunteers hold the case, and one woman said, "Oh, my God" as she looked at it in awe.

"And you touched it," said the other. "You touched it." 

HLOM appraisals
Todd Jantzi holds a bone card-carrying case inscribed from U.S. Grant to Col. Emory Upton.
Photo by Howard Owens.
HLOM appraisals
Crystal Rhinehart and Todd Jantzi discuss a clock she brought in for appraisal.
Photo by Howard Owens
HLOM appraisals
Todd Jantzi
Photo by Howard Owens

Holland Land Office Museum to host Appraisal Day on May 20

By Press Release

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce "Appraisals on Main: HLOM Appraisal Day" on Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. at the Batavia First Presbyterian Church, located at 300 E. Main St., Batavia.

The community is invited to bring any of their treasures and heirlooms that may be collecting dust to see what they may be worth.

Appraisers from Bontrager Real Estate & Auction, Cottone Auctions, and Schultz Auctioneers will be available to give their expert opinions.

There is a $5 charge for each item appraised, with a limit of 5 items per person.

All attendees are required to register for an allotted time slot. The online registration form can be found at the museum’s website.

Information can also be found on our website, or by contacting the museum at either (585) 343-4727 or [email protected]

POSTPONED: The Holland Land Office Museum's 14th Annual Antique Show and Sale at GCC

By Holland Land Office

POSTPONED: Please stop in to our 14th Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale on Friday April 17th, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Saturday, April 18th, 2020 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Event Date and Time

Local history buff reminds us that 'every antique has a story to tell'

By Billie Owens


Picture of Holland Land Office and image of Joseph Ellicott provided by Anne Marie Starowitz.

Anne Marie Starowitz, who serves on the board of the Holland Purchase Historical Society, reminded us today that "every antique has a story to tell."

The reminder comes in time to mention again that the Holland Land Office Museum is currently preparing for its 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale April 6-7 at Batavia Downs.

Before retiring from a 45-year teaching career in Le Roy and Batavia, the lifelong Batavia resident says she delighted in taking her fourth-grade students on tours of the museum.

She would explain to the children what an antique was -- a collectable object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality, and that has a personal value because of its story.

A large gold mirror on display at the museum happens to be the subject of one of her favorite stories -- and pictures.

Archived as number "90.699   Mirror, Wall" -- it is described as a "Pier mirror; plate glass with rococo gold gilded frame. 51x108. Gesso design of roses, vines and leaves; stands on a wooden base with similar gesso design; 4 legs, 10 inches high; topped with marble slab."

"What I tell the children when I show them the beautiful mirror is that it stood in Dean Richmond’s home on Main Street. ... That brings me to the parking lot next to St. Joseph’s Church and the black wrought-iron fence. I ask them to imagine a very big white house with big pillars standing proudly in the space where you park your car when you visit the library or go to church.

"That will then take me to the story of the library, the beautiful original room dedicated to Dean Richmond Junior by his mother Mary Richmond. Dean Junior died at a young age and a plaque over the fireplace explains how the library got its name.

"I have a favorite picture of mine with one of my classes sitting in front of the mirror. This beautiful mirror stood in grandeur in a living room in the Dean Richmond Mansion."

Another beloved olden object at the museum is a desk.

​"93.148    Desk, drop-front" -- "Drop front desk, constructed of mahogany wood; Sheraton style butler's type. Birdseye maple desk interior; parallel sides; 4 drawers, top one of which drops to form a writing surface; interior has bottom section of three open cubby holes with drawers at sides; three graduated height drawers at front; 4 turned legs at bottom. Purchased from the great granddaughter of Robert Morris with the desk originally coming from the Morris home in Philadelphia."

"Since my students at the time went to Robert Morris School, seeing a desk that belonged to Robert Morris was quite exciting," Starowitz recalled. "A signer of the Declaration of Independence and the United State Constitution sat at this desk. It makes the history come alive."


Her favorite person from local history is Joseph Ellicott, the founder of Buffalo and Batavia. His surveying equipment is displayed in the museum. The room where he sold land to the first settlers to this area creates an image of the great man in the minds of the children, according to Starowitz.

"Either you like antiques or you don’t," Starowitz said. "It is just a preference. I for one love antiques, every piece of furniture we own or piece of art has a story that we like to share with family and friends."

She encourages those who would like to see antiques, artifacts, learn their stories, view the displays, to visit the Holland Land Office Museum. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

"A side note, if you have an antique, write your story about it, tape it to the underside or someplace on your antique where its story can continue."

And, of course, she encourages the antique aficionados to stop by the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale next month.

HLOM hosts 12th annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale April 6-7 at Batavia Downs

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum will be hosting the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale on Friday and Saturday, April 6th & 7th. The antique show will take place at the Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

The show opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6th and continues until 8 p.m. It reopens Saturday, April 7th at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The admission is $5 per person, which helps support the museum to continue to hosts events and programming for the community.

The Batavia Antique Show and Sale is an annual event that brings together antique dealers, collectors and vendors from across Western New York, the Southern Tier, Central New York, and even out-of-state.

It contains a wide variety of vendors displaying many different and unique items, including: jewelry, glassware, books, and much more.

Each attendee will receive with their purchase of a ticket a $5 Free Play to be used at Batavia Downs. In addition, Saturday admission is free with the proof of Friday attendance.

For more information about the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale, please contact the Holland Land Office Museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]

12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale

By Holland Land Office

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale. The antique show and sale first began in 2006 and has since been established as one of the major events in Genesee County featuring dealers from all of Western New York, the Southern Tier, Central New York, and even out-of-state dealers! 

This year the show and sale will be at the Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, located at 8315 Park Rd. Batavia, NY 14020. Admission into this event is only $5 and is running from 5pm until 8pm.

We hope to see eveyone there!

Event Date and Time

HLOM's annual antique show and sale is April 6-7 at Batavia Downs; spots still available for dealers and vendors

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum still has openings for antique dealers or vendors for its 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale on Friday and Saturday, April 6th and 7th. The antique show will take place at the Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

The event runs 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

If a vendor is interested in participating the details for the show are as follows. Each show space is 10' x 10' with a chair provided with the rental, for a price of $80, and subsequent spaces will be discounted $10 per purchase. Tables can also be rented for an additional charge of $12 per table.

Setup time for the show will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Displays can be taken down after 3 p.m. Saturday.

Advertising will also be provided for all participants to be distributed as needed.

For more information about the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale, please contact the Holland Land Office Museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].

Photos: Appraisal Fair at GO ART!

By Howard B. Owens


Modeled after Antiques Roadshow, GO ART! hosted its second annual appraisal fair today at Seymour Place. Area residents were able to bring in the rare, the antique and the unique to have experts give their best estimate of the piece's value and quality.





GO ART! hosting Appraisal Fair this Saturday

By Howard B. Owens


Lori Doeringer is the chairperson of the GO ART! Appraisal Fair, which is this Saturday, with her own interest in getting a couple of items appraised by one of the eight experts who will be on hand to provide those who bring antiques and items of value that need appraised to the fair.

The fair will be held at Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Appointments are encouraged. Call (585) 343-9313.

The event is a fundraiser for GO ART! The first item is $20 and a second item is $10. GO ART! members can get a third item appraised for free.

'MAMMOTH Sale' and 'Antique Alley' to be held at St. Joseph's in Batavia

By Daniel Crofts

St. Joseph's School will hold its sixth annual MAMMOTH Sale, featuring tens of thousands of garage sale items, on Saturday, April 10. Plus, there will be a new feature called "Antique Alley."

Items for sale will include antique furniture, glassware, a baby buggy from around 1800, kitchen utensils, toys, books (including the "Bobbsey Twins" series), cameras and other local antiques. Only cash will be accepted for payment.

The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school located at 2 Summit St. in the City of Batavia.

Event Date and Time

Amelia's Antiques and Gifts, 5213 E. Main St., Batavia, N.Y. 14020

By Howard B. Owens

Amelia's Antiques and Collectibles

5213 E. Main St. (Rte. 5)
Batavia, N.Y. 14020
(585) 343-2839


Tuesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Mondays.

WIN: $75 in merchandise!  Click here for entry form.

A unique collection of old and new at Amelia's. Antiques, country primitives, candles and collectibles.

Amelia's offers fine antique glass, including Fenton, Northwood, Hobbs, vaseline, opalescent, coindot, hobnail and depression.

Collectibel flow blue, Wedgewood, Hummels, perfume bottles, antique cookie jars, photos and antique frames, enamelware and many other quality antiques.

Amelia's also has a large variety of country primitive gifts and decor, Americana, Folk art, needful things, garden decor, stars, rusty tin, pip berry wreaths, garland and candle rings. Country and primitive signs, framed art and stitcheries, scented rosehips, roosters, crows, sheep, geese, primitive dolls, nesting boxes, tart warmers, handmade soap, Yankee Candle assortment, soy and beeswax tarts.

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Family photo

By Chelsea O'Brien

I bought an old steamer trunk from the Batavia Flea Market down at the county fair grounds back in June. I've started to clean it up, and I've found a baby picture. Does anyone know the Tyler family that used to live on Morton street? I don't rememer the name of the baby, but it's a picture of a 3-week-old, I don't want to throw it away, but I'm not sure where/who to send/give it to. Your help is greatly appreciated :)

On another note, while I've started to clean it up with Murphy's Oil Soap, and it's looking fantastic. Once I try to get some of the other marks and scuffs off of it, I'll post some pictures. It was built by a trunk company in Rochester and has shipping stickers on it from Ann Arbor. It's a pretty cool buy for $10!

Just When You Think Things Can't Get Any Worse

By Bea McManis

A friend of mine, Mark Williams, has had a horrific month.

Mark works in Silicon Valley but spends his summer in Tahoe.  He is an actor who does several summer stock plays in Tahoe during his summer break from work (he is a producer and product manager for a 

Three weeks ago, Mark just arrived in Tahoe to work on the play when he was called to Los Angeles to be with his brother who underwent surgery.  While with his brother, he received a call from his father in the Phoenix area.  Mark's mother had a stroke and the prognosis wasn't promising.

Mark drove to Phoenix from L.A. and began a vigil that lasted almost a week.  Mark's parents live about 20 miles from the city in a secluded spot in the desert.  His mom wanted to go home to spend her last days, but they couldn't find anyone who would do hospice care that far from the city.

Mark, another brother from Atlanta, and his father spent their days and nights with his Mom.  One day, he and his brother did drive out to the desert to give the house a thorough cleaning.  That was the extent of he being away from his parents.

Mark kept us all informed of his situation via FB.  Some posts were very sad, and some extremely funny.  Then, a week ago, he posted that his Mom had slipped away during the night.  Mark stayed a few more days then he was back to L.A. to bring his brother home from the hospital and then up to Tahoe to prepare for the play.

This morning Mark posted that his father's shop was destroyed by fire.  It made the Phoenix news.

Every family has their own trials and tribulations, but Ray Williams certainly has felt the weight of his in one big helping.



HLOM Antique Show Starts Today at Batavia Downs!

By Holland Land Office Museum

The HLOM Antique Show and Sale begins today at 5:00 p.m. at Batavia Downs.

Over 40 dealers will be setting up booths selling all types of antiques.

Admission for this fundraiser is $4.00. ($1.00 off coupons are available at

The hours of the show is today from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

See you there!





The Holland Land Office Museum Needs Your Help!

By Holland Land Office Museum

On Sunday, March 8th, volunteers from the Museum will be traveling around town putting signs up promoting the Annual Antique Show at Batavia Downs. If you live on one of the major Batavia routes, we would love your permission to put up a sign in your yard! (See the photo of the sign)


The signs will go up on Sunday, March 8th and we will pick them up on Sunday, March 15th.

If you will allow us to put up a sign in your yard, please call the Museum at 343-4727.

The Fifth Annual Antique Show will be held at Batavia Downs on Friday, March 13th from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday March 14th from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Over 40 of the best dealers in the region will be there. The admission fee for the event is $4.00 for adults and children under 12 are free.

For a $1 off admission coupon, a list of dealers and more information check out

On Sunday, March 8, volunteers from the Museum will be traveling around town putting signs up promoting the Annual Antique Show at Batavia Downs. If you live on one of the major Batavia routes, we would love your permission to put up a sign in your yard! (See the photo of the sign

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