One of Dwight Hoff’s well-known cedar post Indian carvings was among Johnny Walker’s favorite pieces at Sunday’s museum program. “This is history, this is art,” he said. (Johnson Publications photo)

Johnny Walker delights crowd at county museum road show

Johnny Walker, accompanied by his wife, Nel, captivated over 50 antique and collectible enthusiasts Sunday at the Chase County Museum.
    He opened by recounting a little about his background. Walker has been an auctioneer for several decades. He only just retired about a month ago, but said that he is still available to work auctions for fundraisers.
    Walker is also an ordained minister who is currently pastoring at the West First Chapel in McCook.
    As for his beginning interest in antiques and collectibles, he said that began in 1967. CB Simmons took Walker under his wing and taught him all he knew about treasures from history. Simmons was the grandson of General William LeDuc, a Civil War veteran, Commissioner of Agriculture under President Hayes, an attorney and previous owner and builder of the LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings, Minn. He passed down his knowledge to Simmons who in turn taught it to Walker.
    Walker handed out a list of period furniture and their descriptions beginning in 1600. He said he felt it was important to understand this information to be well-informed.
    He informed his audience that America did not manufacture its own furniture until the late 1700s. Federal style furniture was the first to be manufactured in the U.S. Before that, all furniture was imported, and then floated up the waterways to various locations.
    There was an array of items brought in for Walker to appraise Sunday. He went into great detail on each item and added explanations for why he gave the item its appraised value.
    Walker said that value is based on what someone is willing to give for it. What is valuable now may not  be valuable later unless it has historical value, and that can vary according to the circumstances surrounding the object, he said.
    For instance, the collectible may be associated with a childhood memory or how much grandma loved it, he said.
    Walker said that the main things to look for when judging the value of collectibles are the rarity of the item, the craftsmanship and the desirability to own it.
    “The value is set by the consumer,” he said.

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