Russell, Ky., man gives antique insight

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

RUSSELL, Ky. - Porky Nichols has spent the last four decades amassing a wealth of knowledge about collectable items from across the globe. However, he'll share that knowledge for free.

The Russell antique dealer will be guest of honor at the Ironton Co-Op Club's Craft, where he will be appraising items for $1 a piece - and donating all the money to the club.

When he's not operating his Russell store, White Eagle Auction Company, he travels around the Tri-State giving residents information about everything from family heirlooms to garage sale finds.

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The antique dealer said that he never charges when doing these public appraisals, satisfied by the fun of seeing new items, and the learning experience that the events become.

&#8221It's fun, and it's educational. I learn every time I do one,“ Nichols said. &#8221There's always something I'll run across that I haven't seen before.“

After decades of appraisals, there are few items that Nichols doesn't know a little something about. Although he

admits that Oriental items give him fits, because it is very difficult to tell the difference between a reproduction and the real thing.

Although many amateur treasure hunters come to Nichols hoping that they've found their nest egg, most, he said, are just looking for him to shed a little light on items that may have no value to anyone but them.

&#8221They just want to know. They have this idea in mind, ‘My grandmother gave this to my father, my father gave it to me, and I just want to know what it's worth Š what it is.' A lot of people just want to know if its junk or if it's good stuff.“

When the treasure hunters do come, it is one of the more difficult parts of Nichols' job - telling them that one man's trash can often be just that. Many times, an item may be worth less than the appraisal fee that they're charged by the organization Nichols' is working with.

&#8221Yeah, that's embarrassing,“ Nichols said. &#8221Some times people get upset, but most of the time people just want to know.“

Nichols isn't much of an antique collector himself, his own home, he says, is decorated with replicas, a far cry from the big-ticket items he regularly appraises and sells. The one collection he is partial to is his vast array of local postcards.

The Ironton Co-Op club will host its fall craft show Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ironton High School Sports Center (gymnasium) at Seventh

and Ellison streets in Ironton. Entrance fee to the event is $2.