LINWOOD — The value of an item may not have anything to do with its monetary worth as several people found out April 10 at the antique appraisal sponsored by the Linwood Historical Society.

Robert Ruffolo of Princeton Antiques in Atlantic City said the market for collectibles changes all the time and what may have fetched a bigger payout a decade ago might not be something collectors are currently seeking. The appraiser said he will give people a suggested cost for what they might insure the item for.

And just like PBS favorite “Antiques Road Show,” every item that comes up for scrutiny by the expert has a story that goes along with it.

Anne Kooperman, of Ventnor, carefully unwrapped several pieces of Limoges china she collected while clearing her aunt's home. She was hopeful the matching service for 12 would be something she might easily be able to collect several hundred dollars for, only to be disappointed to learn the market for china and crystal, very desirable 20 years ago, according to Ruffolo has shifted.

Ruffolo did, however, tell her the gravy boat to the set was worth $150 and added, “There are lots of dishes but only one gravy boat to any set, and therefore it makes it much more desirable to the collector.”

Kooperman also had a large Asian-style silk painting she said was created as a gift to her mother by a Japanese woman she had helped.

“My mother went out of her way to be very helpful and kind to immigrants in Atlantic City years ago, and this woman made this for my mother,” said Kooperman.

Ruffolo said it was a nice example of that style of silk painting but could have been mass-produced and gave it an approximate value of $75. But as Kooperman tucked the signed painting under her arm, she said its real value is that it was something given to her mother many years ago for her kindness and its value isn’t monetary but sentimental.

Nina Myers, of Egg Harbor Township, was excited to have the appraiser give his opinion of her large painting depicting a mother and child. She had high hopes that the painting would be one of those rare finds because of the research she had done on it.

Ruffolo carefully inspected the painting, and while he loved the subject matter, the absence of the artist's name due to its positioning under the frame dramatically affected the estimated value. The appraiser suggested another expert Myers could consult.

Simone Zoladz, of Linwood, brought a painting that is near and dear to her for an expert opinion.

Titled “The Gathering,” it featured a little girl holding kittens in her arms in what appears to be a barn. Zoladz said when she was a little girl, her family would travel to visit her grandmother's farm in Millville, and she used to run in the barn to play with the cats. Her father presented her with the painting, which he found years later, and said it reminded him of his daughter when she was young.

Ruffolo put a value of $125 on the painting.

The real surprise of the evening came in a big box.

Sue McCully and her daughters Dana Loefflad and Teri Weeks had a box filled with beer steins owned by McCully’s late husband, Al. Each one was different, and Ruffolo went into detail pointing out the markings that would make each of them quite desirable to collectors. 

The most impressive of the lot listed the names of the members of a German regiment and was topped with an intricately designed lid.

The eight steins were appraised for $300 or more. 

For more information on the Linwood Historical Society call 609-927-8293 or visit the museum at 16 Poplar Ave. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, or visit the Maritime Museum at the Linwood Library, 301 Davis Ave., from noon to 2 p.m. Mondays. Or check them out at linwoodnj.org.