By Sean Barron
While traipsing through a wooded area several decades ago, Ed Kagy’s late father stumbled across a heavy, mysterious piece of limestone with a carved face.
Over the years, his father proffered a few theories surrounding his find but had
little concrete knowledge of its origin, except that it might be at least 2,000 years old.
Thirty-five years later, Ed Kagy is still seeking hard answers about the piece. And his quest was a step closer to fruition, thanks to Saturday’s Antique Appraisal Day at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, 151 W. Wood St.
Sponsoring the four-hour gathering were Youngstown State University students associated with the museum.
Several appraisers, generalists and art experts looked at and assessed a variety of collectibles such as old clocks, books, jewelry, stamp collections, family heirlooms and artwork, some of which dated to the 17th century, noted Aaron Swickard, event coordinator.
One woman brought merchandise that included her husband’s 1950 American Flyer train set. Each of three locomotives was worth between $250 and $300, Swickard estimated.
“It sits on our hearth as a decoration,” Kagy, of Hubbard, said after Steve Graban and Ken Layne, both with Leavittsburg-based Ken Layne Auctioneers, examined and evaluated his small, compact limestone piece.
Kagy, who came with his fianc e, Jedy Majovsky, said he also searched the Internet for information that could shed further light on the item, which weighs at least 40 pounds.
Majovsky added that she and Kagy received tips during Saturday’s appraisal about other auction houses that could help them learn more about the piece.
Jason Leggett of Lisbon brought several items that were much lighter and likely newer than the limestone carving, though new can be a relative term.
“It’s definitely my oldest book,” Leggett said, referring to a small 371-page book in French published in 1662 pertaining to Henry IV, who was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1399 to 1413.
Leggett, a YSU graduate student majoring in history, bought that book online about 15 years ago, along with a copy of an original 1729 collection of poems relating to Henri Voltaire, considered one of France’s greatest writers and philosophers from the Age of Enlightenment.
In keeping with his interest in history, Leggett also bought and had appraised a framed poster about the French Revolution.
The recruitment poster, written Sept. 12, 1791, in French and German, was a call to arms, Leggett explained, adding that he has no intention of selling the poster or books.
A handful of attendees brought jewelry and money, which Mike Flugher held to close scrutiny.
Flugher, a co-owner of Instant Cash for Gold & Diamonds, said that gold-plated stamps and currency from Belize were among items to cross his desk. In addition, one out-of-the-ordinary ruby ring found its way to him.
“The diamond was cut in a way I had never seen before,” Flugher said about one woman’s keepsake from the late 18th or early 19th century.
Saturday’s appraisal was the second of its kind, the first of which last March “ended up being a resounding success,” Swickard recalled.
Coming up with the idea was Dr. Donna DiBlasio, a YSU history professor who’s also director of the Center for Historic Preservation, he said.