Every third week of the month, with the exception of December, there is an antique appraisal that is open to the public. It's held at the Duluth Depot, and it's super cheap with free admission. Those in attendance are allowed to bring two items per person, and two appraisers will look at your treasures. Most people, it seems, are drawn there by curiosity.
Ted and Paulette Franckowiak were no different, bringing a saddle bag with a bridle that has the letters U.S. printed on it, as well as a butter churn and two photos made of tinfoil.
The multicolored photo I saw depicted birds in flight. The Franckowiaks' said they were unsure of how it was made, and that was part of the reason they decided to bring it along.
Paulette is not a stranger to how the day works, having made more than one trip to an appraisal.
"I've got this vase-- my dad brought it back from World War II from Italy and it says 'Made in Italy'. The appraiser I talked to, he said it's like saying 'Made in Mexico', but it looks like it's worth something."
"We had these items and I just wanted to know if they were worth anything," said Paulette. "We were here once before with a set of dishes. I'm just fascinated by this; it's so interesting."
Peggy Smith, a Duluth local, also had interesting items to share, hidden safely inside her purse.
"I periodically bring things down here, just to see if they have value, even though I'd probably keel over if anything did have value," Smith said.
She brought along a vase that she used to keep on display, but once she discovered numbers on the bottom, she put it away for safe keeping.
"With my luck, my friend made it herself and decided to put some numbers on the bottom," said Smith. "But I have two sons and I know that, God forbid, anything ever happened to me and my husband, they'd take one look at it and say 'I don't want that junk.' At least this way, I could leave a note saying, 'don't throw this out; you'll be sorry if you do!'"
Smith's second item, a set of six spoons, is something she's had for over 50 years. It was given to her by her father-in-law, with price tags intact, after a family member had passed away.
"These spoons have zodiac signs on them, but I've only got six spoons." said Smith. "They were given to me after the passing of a family member, so things were split between both sides. I've always suspected that some on the other side has the other set."
Smith went on talk say, "curiosity is what brings me down here, that's all. My husband doesn't even know I have some of this stuff and I'm like 'geez, it's from your side of the family!'"
The popularity of the appraisal day is growing, according to Paulette Franckowiak. "Last time we were here, we didn't have to wait. Times are changing."
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with this day becoming bigger and bigger- someone may find a hidden treasure in their house, making curiosity their ticket to a jackpot.
Photos by Brilynn Janckila