You may have attended one of my antiques appraisal shows or you may have read about the people I have met who asked me to appraise family heirlooms or flea market treasures. Since 1998, I present appraisal events to live audiences across the country. I tell people the truth about their antiques. I don't hold back with my opinions either. I just say "it's a wonderful, rare antique" or "it's a piece of junk." It is fun to hear the stories of antiques and collectibles and to highlight the history and value of a cherished object. Recently, I met some folks with some interesting stories to share.
A Yankee in Atlanta
If you are wondering who the Yankee is, well, that would be me! At my appraisal event, I met Cliff and he asked me to comment on his Civil War sword. He told me he purchased the sword in Florida. He knew it was Confederate and as a native Georgian, Cliff wanted the item brought back to its rightful home. He motioned to the audience and asked them, "Don't you think that's right, y'all?" They agreed with him to thunderous applause after I appraised his circa 1863 sword for $8,000. By the end of the event, I had to admit that the warm people of Atlanta made me feel right at home.
Submitted photo by Dr. Lori
This modernist painting from a woman in Texas has been appraised for $15,000.
Big Rich Texas
Whenever I visit Houston, I look forward to fun audiences, interesting antiques and massive pickup trucks stuck in traffic. On the I-10 highway outside of Houston, I marvel at the size of those trucks and the patience with which the locals deal with the traffic jams.
It's true that everything seems bigger in Texas. That's also true when it comes to antiques. In Houston, I review more oversized antique armoires and giant breakfront china cabinets than I do almost anywhere else in the country. While the New Yorkers and Californians are decorating their homes with small-scale antiques, the Texans are gathering up the best large-scale works of art and antique furniture.
At my antiques appraisal event in the Houston suburbs, I reviewed some horseracing lithographs, Vaseline glass vases and costume jewelry. In addition, an estate sale shopper named Ron brought me an Asian vase dating back to the 17th Century worth $3,000. He bought it for only $100. That's what I call a big bargain.
Joan asked me to appraise a breathtaking Art Deco lavaliere watch. The circa 1920s piece was decorated with robin's egg blue enamel in the shape of a beetle. The watch featured many of the hallmarks of the Art Deco movement: bright enamel over sterling, stylized typeface, geometric pattern. The beetle's eyes were rubies and the wings were decorated diamonds. If that wasn't enough to attract any jewelry aficionado, the beetle's wings opened to reveal the superior quality Swiss movement. The piece was worth $4,000.
It was a handsome 70s-something woman named Helen who had the big Texas find. She brought me a painting that her husband "let her buy" in the 1950s for appraisal. He has since passed away but she reported that they had a happy marriage of 58 years even though they had very different tastes in art. Helen told me that her husband hated the painting but he agreed to let her buy it as long as she hung it in a place where he didn't have to look at it. It was a big painting, so that was a tall order. She found just the right place for her painting and it stayed there for decades until she decided to bring it to me to review.
Helen's modernist work of the School of Paris from the late 1950s was worth $15,000. When Helen heard the appraisal, she said "That's a Texas-sized bit of good news!"
- 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, visit www.DrLoriV.com or www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call 888-431-1010.