September 22, 2006--Posted at 5:30 p.m. CDT
NEWPORT, AR--It started as a hobby for two Jackson County men in the early 1950's and developed into one of the largest private collections of American Indian artifacts in the country. This weekend collectors from across the country are meeting in Newport to own their piece of American history.
Part of the rich history in Region 8 has to do with the American Indians that populated the area. Today arrowheads and other artifacts still remain and serve as reminders of this rich culture.
"Usually when you find them, you are the first person to find them in thousands of years," said collector Dan Martin.
In the early 1950's the Graham brothers began collecting these artifacts as a hobby. This weekend over ten thousand of those artifacts are up for auction at ASU Newport to collectors across the country.
"The two brothers collected and several years back they split the collection down the middle, so what you are seeing here is 50% of the collection," said Shane Grady of Grady Auctions and Reality.
Collectors and museums from Minnesota, California, Arizona and all down the east coast are traveling to Newport to snatch up these unique pieces. Several of the pieces have been studied by AUS professor Julie Morrow and determined to be over 10,000 years old.
"She has come in and documented a few of the points. She says they are some of the oldest points known to exist in North America," said Grady.
For the Grahams, their collection started as just a couple brothers digging for artifacts along the Cache and Black River. For those associated with the hobby today, they say it is something that just about anyone can get into.
"The more you go the better it gets. It gets you out walking in creeks looking for petrified wood and you take the kids out there to get a little exercise," said Martin.
Over the past 50 years collectors like the Grahams discovered thousands of artifacts here in Region 8, but for those looking to pick up the hobby, don't worry there is plenty for everyone.
"Everything was lost and you can't find 12,000 years of artifacts in 200 years," said Martin.
According to Grady Auctions, there will be artifacts in all prices ranges for those just looking to get into the hobby and those seasoned collectors.