- Written by Dr. Lori Verderame Dr. Lori Verderame
At more than 150 events every year entitled Dr. Lori’s Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show, I appraise audience members’ heirlooms and antiques.
I talk about history, mostly, and values too. Nothing is vetted beforehand as I appraise and authenticate objects on the spot at my events.
I tell it like it is. If it is a piece of junk, I say it’s junk. If it is fantastic, I get just as excited as the owner.
Over the years, my appraisal events have surprised my audiences and me. Just recently at my event in Pittsburgh, I spotted a rare French Impressionist painting by Eugene Boudin, a mentor to Claude Monet, which was purchased at auction in a box lot for $5.
The painting was first brought to another appraiser who didn’t know what it was, and then it was presented to me in front of my live audience. I told the owner seated in my audience that he had a rare French painting from the 1870s worth $150,000.
I’ve discovered a multimillion-dollar trinket belonging to Napoleon, a moon boot that went into space on Apollo 13 with astronaut Jim Lovell, and George Washington’s 1775 wallet among other historical artifacts at my events over the years.
Recently during my appraisal events, I discovered some treasures among the trash. People brought me objects including silver candlesticks, sports memorabilia, signed NASA logbooks, rocking chairs, tabletop music boxes, jewelry, and oil paintings.
An original Walt Disney animation cel depicting Jiminy Cricket from the 1940s classic movie Pinocchio was a showstopper. The animation art piece was worth $15,000 based on the market where similar pieces have sold. The owner said it was just always on the wall of her childhood home.
Ann brought me a cast-metal sculpture of a female figure that was signed and numbered by the artist. She had purchased it at a yard sale for a few dollars, and when I told her it was a famous work by a well-known artist worth $5,000, she asked me if I was sure … about 50 times.
Audience member Bobbie was thrilled to hear that she had a characteristic Art Deco work of art by Louis Icart worth $3,000.
And, a nice guy named Calvin works cleaning out houses, and we agreed that people throw away good stuff. I appraised Calvin’s sterling silver Tiffany bowl found in a dumpster at $500 and a 1950s Patek Phillippe wristwatch pulled from the trash worth $1,000.
Tyre, a fan of History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island, was happy to find out that his 19th-century Japanese woodblock print brought back from World War II was worth $2,000.
And lovely Judy knew it wasn’t child’s play when I appraised her early 20th-century German wooden toy circus with numerous animals in perfect condition for $1,500.
And, I am happy with the continued interest in antiques among millennials and other young people. Most 20- and 30-year-olds are quite interested in vintage design, chic interiors, repurposing projects, vintage objects, and antique collecting.
Many young couples participated in my appraisal shows to find out what to buy at yard sales, how to spot a valuable antique or family heirloom, and how to get an item of high quality and usefulness. They want to know whether they should repurpose an old piece, what to ask Grandma to hand down, and how to sell for top dollar using my tips at www.DrLoriV.com.
Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. She is the star appraiser on international hit TV shows: Discovery’s Auction Kings, History channel’s The Curse of Oak Island, and Fox Business’ Strange Inheritance. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call (888) 431-1010.