Appraising some ‘manly’ antiques

At my public antiques appraisal events, I don’t have anyone waiting in line. And, when I appraise objects, I cut to the core. No nonsense, no delicate high-brow vocabulary, no malarkey. I tell it like it is. If you have a piece of junk, I tell you. If you spent too much money on something, I tell you. If you are hoping to become a millionaire on a collection of Pez dispensers, I tell you that it’s not happening in this lifetime.

I have been known to break a heart or two, and I have been known to reveal that the ugly lamp you have can make you a millionaire in the antiques market. And, I reveal my faults too – like my well-documented and obvious (particularly on my thighs and hips) addiction to chocolate bars. My antiques appraisal shows – presented more than 150 times every year around the globe – are as funny as they are frank.

I have been told by my audience members the world over that my presentation style is engaging, just like the wealth of information that I reveal about antiques. As audience members, men are typically brought to my appraisal events by their wives, but they quickly become my most devoted fans. Men return to my events day after day, event after event when I appear in a particular city.

In Philly, I laughed with the male owner of a Shirley Temple doll worth $275. After I appraised it, he told me that only a real man would be comfortable enough to bring a doll out in public to an appraisal event.

In Houston, Texas, Ray came to my antiques appraisal comedy show in part to get back on his wife’s good side. He was on his way to the gym when his wife asked him if he could attend my appraisal event instead. He didn’t mind the diversion too much, until his wife said she wanted me to look at some piece of china she bought at a yard sale. He convinced her to bring me an old Spanish book that was in his family for centuries. Wrapped in a black plastic trash bag, the book was a hand-painted, illuminated manuscript with period texts and original paintings. Produced in the middle of the 1600s – about the time of the reign of King Philip of Spain – the rare manuscript was worth $10,000. That sure will cover his gym membership fee.

Paul’s story warms my heart. I was presenting my appraisal show in Louisville, Ky., when a guy in his mid-30s puts a copper weathervane on my appraisal table and tells me that he doesn’t know what he’s got but one of his neighbors told him it might be worth some money. I explain how weathervanes do have good value in the marketplace, and his example has a strong provenance and is attributed to a particularly well-known maker. I tell him that it is worth $15,000.

All of a sudden this guy – who could be a linebacker in the NFL – starts crying like a baby in front of God and everybody. Wiping his eyes on his shirtsleeve, he jumps up, runs toward the stage and hugs me – like a linebacker would. No one knew what he was going to do after that, but he did calm down and then returned to his seat in the audience. He went on to explain that his grandmother’s house is in foreclosure; he has been supporting his extended family for nearly a year; and now he can start down the road to recovery by selling the weathervane (which, incidentally, was on the barn of the property in foreclosure). Someone had offered him a mere $100 for the weathervane, but he didn’t believe it was worth so little. He was thrilled to know the truth. And I got the hug to prove it.

Sports collectibles, guns, edged weapons, fishing lures and reels and other objects are the typical types of antiques and collectibles that I review at my events, but sometimes the real men show up with something interesting and unexpected. Guys want me to cut to the chase and tell it like it is. I’m all for it. Let’s hear it for the boys!

– Ph.D. antiques appraiser and author Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on the hit TV show “Auction Kings” on Discovery channel. To have Dr. Lori appraise your antiques, check out her event schedule at or, or call 888-431-1010.