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Spectacular stories are sparked at appraisal events

January 28, 2012
Art &?Antiques by Dr. Lori

You may have attended one of my antiques appraisal shows, or you may have read about some of the places that I have visited or the people I have met.

Ever since 1998, I continue to present my appraisal events to live audiences across the country. It is fun to hear the stories of how someone acquired a vintage or antique piece. Recently, I met some folks with some interesting stories to share.

Raining Jewelry

Article Photos

Dr. Lori

I met Kelly in rainy Seattle. He wanted me to appraise a gorgeous Native American necklace, in the squash blossom form with semiprecious stones, during my appraisal event. I asked him how he acquired it and he told me that it was a tip. I asked, "A tip?!" He replied, "Yes. I was waiting on a table and when I returned to pick up my tip, this necklace was on the table on top of the bill." I handed it into my manager and he held onto it expecting the diners to call the restaurant or come to pick it up. About a month later, no one called about the necklace and my manager gave it to me announcing, "I guess it IS your tip."

I told him that it was probably the best tip any waiter ever received. His circa 1920s squash blossom necklace from New Mexico was worth $5,000. That's what I call a good day at work!

Print versus Drawing

At an appraisal event in Kansas City, Mo., I met a woman named Jane who got a great deal and didn't even realize it. Jane brought a picture of an eagle to one of my events that she bought at an estate sale for $2. She maintained that even though she didn't pay much for it, she was sure it was a valuable print by Pablo Picasso. I respectfully disagreed with her. She started to raise her voice. As she did, I reassured her that what she had was not a Picasso print worth $1,200, but instead a Picasso drawing worth $50,000. She had an original and didn't even know it.

Don't believe the Pickers

In Hazleton, Pa., I presented an appraisal event at a shopping mall. A couple, aged 75 or so, brought a large Impressionist snowscape painting to the event that had been in their family for generations. Before the start of the event, two men approached the couple and offered the couple $8,000 for the painting on the spot. The couple declined. They explained that they had brought the painting to be appraised by me and that they were going to find out what the painting was worth.

They were wise to ignore the offer from these two "pickers" as they had only offered them a tiny fraction of the painting's actual value. The painting was a 1930s American Impressionist painting by one of Pennsylvania's premier artists. I told them it was worth $100,000, as another painting like theirs had recently sold for that much money - not a measley $8,000. They were thrilled and took the painting home to share the news with their children and grandchildren.

- Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. As seen on NBC's "The Tonight Show" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," Dr. Lori appears on Lifetime Television. To learn more about antiques and appraisal events, visit or, or call 888-431-1010.



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