Johnny Walker is discussing this WWII Japanese sniper rifle with bayonet at the Chase County Road Show Sunday. (Johnson Publications photo)

Johnny Walker enlightens audience at Chase County Road Show

    Around 50 antique enthusiasts gathered at the Chase County Museum Sunday to soak up some knowledge on antique items and collectibles.
    The Chase County Road Show has been a speaking platform for professional auctioneer, antique collector and appraiser, Johnny Walker of several years, but he is ready to retire.
    He opened by describing how life as an auctioneer has changed over the years.
    “The greatest job of an auctioneer is an acquired skill to read how people will bid on an item before they do it,” Walker said.
    This led to some interesting examples.
    He said it used to be that everything was based on trust, word of mouth and a solid plan of action for an auction.
    Now, things have changed in the auction world. Auctioneers must deal with item imitations and scam artists.
    “Things ain’t what they used to was,” Walker said with a quirkish grin.
    It has become a combination of the old familiar and the new—­a world of hype, chase, collections, fun and education, he said.
    Sunday, Walker was accompanied by his ringman, Ron Schoenberger of Enders.
    Walker said Schoenberger has been with him since 1983.
    “A ringman is very important to an auction. A bad ringman can make a good auctioneer look bad, and a good ringman can make a bad auctioneer look good,” he said.
     In past years, he has given audiences at the museum sage advice on how to recognize authentic items from reproductions and shared suggestions on collecting items with longevity of value.
    “This time, I want to compare how values have changed over recent years by discussing items brought in today, and give both the current value as opposed to what the value would have been 10 years ago. I’ll probably make some of  you cry,” Walker said.
    Walker picked up each item brought in to the museum and described it in detail.
    Walker gave the past appraisal value of the item from 10 years ago.
    Schoenberger then gave the approximate value of the item in today’s market.
    Both gave detailed explanations for what a difference 10 years can make.
    One of the items appraised was an original framed photograph of one of the attendee’s great-grandparents. It was their wedding photo taken in 1878.
    Walker gave an appraisal for 10 years ago at $350. Schoenberger said today, it would appraise for around $75.
    Another item Walker appraised was a soap dish from the early 1900s that would have been worth $150 a decade ago.
    Schoenberger said, it would likely have no value at all today.
    Walker appraised a 1912 12-gauge shotgun that would have sold for $800 to $1,000 in 2008.
    Schoeberger said the value today would still be $750 to $1,000.
    “Sometimes items hold their value and even increase. But the general trend is downward in the market,” Schoenberger said.
    Another interesting item brought in for appraisal by Brenda Cahow of Imperial was a WWII Japanese sharpshooter (sniper) rifle with a bayonet attached.
    Cahow said it belonged to her father, Lyle Ohrmund, who got the rifle from his brother-in-law who worked in overseas intelligence toward the end of WWII.
    Walker said the rifle was a good gun, one of the most accurate rifles made back then. Ten years ago, he said it would have been worth $800.
    Today, Schoenberger said it would be worth $300 to $450 because there are more available on the market than there used to be.


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