Caplan's Auction & Appraisal Co.

Shelley Harris, co-owner of Caplan's Auction & Appraisal Co., shows off furniture to be auctioned. (photo by Sarah Pastrana)

Caplan’s was a fixture of Historic Ellicott City for 26 years. But as owner John Caplan shared, “We decided to close our retail business there because the auction and appraisal business had grown to the point where we needed to focus solely on that.”

Caplan’s Auction & Appraisal Co. recently relocated to the Cotton Shed Building in historic Savage Mill. Auctions are held twice a week at that location -- making Caplan’s one of the busiest auctioneers in the state. The free admission public auctions are held Sundays at 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Court-certified in the state of Maryland, Caplan’s offers free verbal appraisals at any time and also offers walk-in and walk-through services.

The line of work means Caplan has come across his fair share of oddities and treasures over the years -- including a casting of a footprint purportedly belonging to Bigfoot. “It was from a D.C. estate of one of the world’s foremost Sasquatch experts,” Caplan reminisced. He also appraised “a 99-carat black diamond worn by Whoopi Goldberg during her stint as host of the Oscars,” he recalls.

The client list Caplan’s has accumulated is impressive, including the Department of Defense and the Pentagon. Items from furniture, silver, objets d’art (John Caplan has a bachelor’s degree in art history), coins and more have been given the Caplan’s appraisal touch.


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And with the popularity of TV shows like “Antiques Roadshow,” Caplan says more people may be bringing in those heirlooms tucked in the attic or basement. In many cases, he adds, the heirlooms have more sentimental value to the owner than actual fair market value.

Caplan’s Auction & Appraisal Co., 8600 Foundry St., Savage. 410-750-7676 or www.caplans.com.