The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

September 16, 2013

Fundraiser deals in old and valuable or just old

By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer

SHARPSVILLE — Ted and Louise Ferrara found the “mystery picture” at a curb awaiting the trashman in Sharpsville one day during a walk.

Louise persuaded her husband to pick up the painting and it now hangs in their home.

On Sunday, they found out it isn’t an unknown masterpiece, but is nonetheless worth more than $500.

“It’s a highly skilled amateur artist,” who painted the landscape, Pittsburgh-based antiques expert Mike Malley told the Ferraras.

“The frame alone is worth $500,” Malley said.

The painting was probably made in the late 1800s and it appears to be in an original gold-leaf covered frame.

Now tarnished with what looks like a smoky grime, Malley suggested the Ferreras clean the frame with spit-covered cotton swabs.

Anything stronger might damage the gold, but the acid in the saliva could work wonders on the frame.

“I have a feeling you’d end up with a beautifully shiny gold frame,” Malley said.

But he warned them, “It’s very delicate work.”

Otherwise, “I don’t think you have to do anything” to improve the picture by restoring it, Malley said.

“It hangs above my fireplace,” Mrs. Ferrera said.

They were happy with the appraisal of the work and a few other pieces they toted to the Sharpsville VFW for an “Antiques Roadshow” type fundraiser sponsored by the Sharpsville Area Historical Society.

The society’s held similar events in the past, but it’s been about a decade, society secretary Robert Rannard said.

The session was a local take on the popular public television series and featured the expertise of several appraisers, including Malley.

“It’s so interesting that almost everything I’ve seen is found,” Malley said of the antiques and collectibles brought in Sunday.

“Truly one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Malley said. “So often that’s the case.”