Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 8-6-12 | TheFencePost.com

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 8-6-12

This bullet from a Sharps buffalo gun was found on the family ranch in southwestern South Dakota.

Earlier this spring was an opportunity to enter a drawing for tickets for the Antiques Road Show slated for Rapid City. I entered and didn't win, but a friend gave me two extra tickets and I took my aunt.

For future reference, if you want tickets send in several applications. Use your name, your son's name, your husband's name, etc., as several entries. Tickets showed specified times to come; ours were simply between 8 and 5. Others were for 9, 10 or 11 a.m. As we entered volunteers directed everyone. For those with firearms there was a check-in table and the rest of us just zipped on in.

With 6,000 tickets given out I'm sure they know how many people they can handle and how many appraisals can be completed within the time frame. Each person could bring two items, or if they had a small collection, that was considered one item. Everyone had to have at least one thing for appraisal. The ticket information urged individuals to bring portable chairs. We chose not to take our chairs in and were glad of it. The entry line inside the building moved right along so a chair would have been a hassle, unless it had wheels and was necessary.

The holding pen had roped off areas which turned out to be serpentine queue that was deceiving in length. That was a good thing so we wouldn't be overwhelmed right off the bat. It was a quick hour until we made it to the room where the actual appraisals were being done. During that wait, we got to see what others brought and visit. Even with the mass of humanity it was a comfortable temperature and a pleasant time, surprisingly, as it was so well organized. Two hundred volunteers worked the event. Their reward was the opportunity to also have two items appraised, and stand in line just like everyone else. Should you wish to volunteer at a show, check online for locations, and contact the venue.

After we entered the main room, there were guides to take us right to the correct appraiser's line. I drew a short line as I had a piece of lead, actually a bullet with no casing which we had found on our ranch several years ago. The pronouncement was it is from a buffalo gun, a Sharps .45 rifle, shot between 1870 and 1900 and of course, it missed the buffalo. It was deemed to have only sentimental value which I expected, yet I did wonder how many of them are around.

With 80 appraisers for nearly every type of item, there were still stumpers, generally of the old West type such as a barrel with the words "U.S. Indian Service" on it. The appraiser had never seen one and wouldn't even hazard a value.

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After two hours my aunt could cross this activity off of her bucket list, and we were on our way to a nice ladies' lunch.

Peggy's internet latchstring is out at Peggy@PeggySanders.com. ❖