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The value of vintage

Rarity, regionality, age and condition all contribute to the value of an item, says Sue Tucker, an antiques dealer.

Take for instance, a small-scale, cast-iron, Singer sewing machine that Tucker obtained through a referral. The sewing machine, which dates to the 1920s, '30s and '40s, was used to teach girls to sew and for use on small projects. At the beginning of the 20th century, it could be purchased for less than $15; now it's worth between $175 and $225, says Tucker.

"It's not exceedingly rare, but they are fun to have when you get them," she says.

At her Jacksonville store, Trolley Stop, Tucker sells a variety of folk art, period furniture, Americana and jewelry, most of which she acquired from individual referrals.

For the past few months, Tucker has been setting aside several choice items, including a handmade, vintage, lace wedding gown and a black belleek tea set, to showcase at the 39th annual Spring Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale. The event, sponsored by the Southern Oregon Antiques and Collectibles Club, will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 12, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.

Last year, more than 3,500 people came out for the 2010 spring show. This year, proceeds from door admission and booth rentals will benefit the Jackson County Library System, Medford City Swim Program, Cub Scouts Pack 110, Southern Oregon Public Television, Medford Railroad Park and historic Wood House.

"Our motto is 'We're saving the past for the future,' " says Marcia Brown, spokeswoman for the antiques club.

The show, said to be the largest volunteer antiques show west of the Mississippi River, attracts curious community members, decorators and avid collectors alike.

"The older people, from 50 on up, usually are going for the antiques ... and the younger people, who are more or less starting their home, are the ones who are looking for interior decorating," says Brown. "The bottom line is that it pleases you. All we ask is that you take care of them and share their beauty and antiqueness."

This year, more than 50 Pacific Northwest vendors will bring all sorts of relics, including custom dolls, jewelry, ox carts, vintage clothing and hats, Egyptian art, kitchen implements, garden accessories, die-cast, tin toys and old books, to name a few.

One vendor, Daryl Wright, an antiques dealer and owner of Miscellany Antiques & Collectibles in downtown Medford, specializes in guy-related antiques, such as mechanical items, radios, clocks, photographs, firearms, militaria and fishing gear.

For the show, Wright says he tries to keep his items under $100.

"The general populace sees something and says 'That's really cool,' and if they can afford it, they take it home with them," he says.

Wright acquires many items from walk-in customers and downsizing retirees. He judges the worth of items based on their running price on eBay or various online sales auctions.

"You kinda get a gut feeling (about the price) at some point, and if someone comes in and laughs at you, you know you blew it; but if it sells really fast, you know you blew it the other way," he jokes.

"Hidden Treasures" radio-show host John Humphries, doll and teddy bear expert Debbie Crume, silver jewelry specialist Barbara Lowe, glass appraiser Ellen Peterson, ceramic appraiser Susan Zane and general evaluator Jim Fields will be at the identification booth during the show. These experts will be available to appraise heirlooms and treasures for a $3 donation to the Medford Swim Program.

Also at the show, there will be food provided by Quality Catering, glass repair by Phillip Lang, a doll hospital managed by Life's Little Treasures of Winston and a historic identification booth operated by Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.

Admission to the show is $4 and free for children ages 6 and younger. For more information, call 541-826-3039.

This Singer sewing machine dates back to the 1930s, when it could purchased for about $15. - Photo by Bob Pennell