Wednesday, Mar 06 2013 05:18 PM

For collectors, value isn't measured in dollars

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    By Photo courtesy of Barbara Fields

    The crockery and kitchen utensils featured here exemplify the theme of the 42nd Annual Collectors Showcase: "Old Kitchen Memories." The showcase takes place Saturday and Sunday at Hodel's at 5917 Knudsen Drive.

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BY CAMILLE GAVIN Contributing writer

Just because something is old doesn't mean it has outlived its use. Or, as Barbara Fields of the Glass & China Collectors Club puts it: "Antiquers are the first recyclers."

You can see what she means this weekend at the group's 42nd annual Collectors Showcase Antique Show and Sale at Hodel's.

Related Info

42nd annual Collectors Showcase Antique Show and Sale

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Hodel's, 5917 Knudsen Drive

Admission: $4

Information: 399-1140

"It isn't like going to a swap meet," Fields said. "It's more about collecting than selling -- a lot of people come just to look."

Among the items she plans to show -- and possibly sell -- are paper dolls, including an uncut set of characters from "Gone with the Wind," dated 1939. Fields has priced the set at $150 but says, "We're all flexible."

"We all try to bring some new things every year," she said. "We don't bring the same items to every sale."

Although many kinds of collectibles will be shown, this year's emphasis is on kitchen items.

"Each year we have a theme, that's what keeps the show fresh and alive," she said. "One year it was lighting and lamps, and someone brought some old railroad lanterns."

For this weekend's sale at Hodel's, the foyer will be set up like an old-fashioned kitchen and decorated with "primitive" cooking items along with historic cookbooks. Nearly 40 dealers or collectors are expected. Almost half that number are from out of town.

Most are happy to identify objects brought by visitors and, in some cases, will estimate the value of the items. People can also browse through books on collecting provided on site by the sponsoring club.

"It's a family atmosphere. We see all generations," Fields said. "As society changes, younger people want to hang onto things -- I call them memory makers."

Some who attend are looking for pieces of glassware or china to fill out a partial set they have inherited. To explain, Fields cited a common example involving Fostoria, a type of American-made crystal stemware that is no longer being made.

"A mother might have had 12 place settings of Fostoria. Maybe she had three daughters but instead of leaving it all to one, she divided it so that each daughter got four complete settings. Now they want to (increase) it to eight."

Provenance, a term often used by professional appraisers on the PBS television series "Antiques Roadshow," when establishing the authenticity or line of ownership of an object isn't that important in Fields' opinion.

"It (provenance) is only valuable monetarily," she said. "The real value is the story that goes along with it, the cherished memory. I have a little tiny china doll that belonged to my mother. Some people would look at it and say 'Ooh, what an ugly face.' But I would never trade it."

Now 80, Fields was the fifth of six children born in a log cabin her father built in Missouri. She came with her family to Bakersfield when she was 2 years old and has fond memories of going to the Baker Street Library as she was growing up.

Perhaps that's why the club uses some of the proceeds from the annual sales to donate books on collecting to the Kern County Library.

"We need to preserve and protect these things," she said. "It's a part of all of us, and we need to carry on the traditions."

Fields is a founding member of the club, which was organized 44 years ago. It began holding the show two years later. Currently it has about 30 members, and others are welcome to join. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Rasmussen Center on Roberts Lane.

Occasionally they travel out of town to estate sales or other shows, not so much to buy or sell but simply for the enjoyment of seeing different things and meeting people who are interested in collecting.

"Nearly every year we rent a bus and go to the Rose Bowl flea market," Fields said. "It's just fun."

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