A local historian presents lost treasures of Mississippi and Alabama

An expert in history drew a crowd on Wednesday at The Columbus Lowndes Public Library

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- An expert in history drew a crowd on Wednesday at The Columbus Lowndes Public Library.

Jim Phillips love of show and tell started years ago. Phillips travels throughout Mississippi and Alabama showing off small treasures he’s collected over the years.

“When I was at the University of Alabama, I graduated in 1971 with a undergraduate degree I got in my little ford Falcon and just went driving and I would drive into small towns in Alabama and I almost got into Mississippi I just love going to small towns and look at the old bricks and stuff and I thought about the artifacts in those days and it’s just been a passion,” said Phillips.

That passion came when he realized every discovery had it’s own unique story.

“When you start digging old glass of beautiful shapes and it goes back to the 1870’s 1890’s and you have all these things in blue glass they all have a story behind it,” said Phillips.

Dozens of people came to the Columbus Library to meet Phillips and see pieces of the past. Mona Vance-Ali is the archivist with the Columbus Library; she said  he brings his knowledge to Columbus.

“He talks a lot about lost treasures and stories from long ago about Mississippi and Alabama but he also has lots of antiques and things that he’s able to appraise and share with the community the value of these items, and you know just share little stories about the past,” said Ali.

People didn’t just come to look; they brought some of their own valuables.

“This is an opportunity for them to come by the library and learn a little bit more about them and as well about the potential monetary value but anything that they might be interested in if they have old items we can sometimes help them find out the historical value but not necessarily the monetary value,” said Ali.

Ali said Phillips may be a visiting expert in artifacts, but she is willing to help people figure out the history of their antiques if they stop by the library.

Phillips had items from the Boaz Whitfield antebellum gold coin hoard, the missing 5ft. tall-jeweled gold cross, the lost antebellum treasures of the old Mississippi River mansion, and early 1900 Hutchinson style soda bottles.

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