When I am not writing my column or taping Discovery's "Auction Kings" TV show at Gallery 63 in Atlanta, Ga., I spend a good deal of time traveling the country appraising antiques for folks. So, when I say it is good to be home, as I did when I appeared at the first Juniata Valley Home and Garden Show, I meant it.
As a proud Penn Stater, I certainly enjoyed my time back in central Pennsylvania and was happy to review some interesting works of art, antiques and collectibles that audience members brought to the home show.
I evaluated a gold pocket watch, a cuff and collar box, a Victorian cameo brooch, a Roseville jardinaire, Staffordshire pottery from England, an Edison phonograph, an early 1900s Magic Lantern toy, some magazine covers featuring artwork by Norman Rockwell, and many other interesting objects.
Appearing at the Juniata Valley Home and Garden Show in Reedsville are, left, Dr. Lori and Eleanor with the circa early 1800s German painted bride’s box.
At all my appraisal events, I talk about the history and value of objects. I sprinkle in some laughter as I provide tips about how to sell for top dollar and where to score a yard sale bargain.
The first object that I appraised at Juniata Valley Home and Garden show was what I might call an "indescribable" object. It was an old tin that protected some personal items that a couple would use in the bedroom and it was marked "Tiger Skin Rubber Company." Apparently, the owner's son was replacing carpet and found the antique beneath a loose floor board. The tin was only worth a couple of bucks but the laughter it sparked was priceless. It was a fun way to start off my appraisal comedy show in the Juniata Valley!
Other audience members brought in more memorable objects and some were truly priceless antiques. For example, an audience member named Dorothy had been trying to do some research on a pair of beautiful life-sized works of art depicting a stunning red headed woman. She had received the large-scale art pieces from her parents and was shocked to learn that they were French advertising art worth $3,000 each.
Like Dorothy, a woman named Eleanor attended my appraisal event with her own family heirloom. Members of her husband's family had brought over a hand painted box from Germany decades ago. She told me that she knew nothing about the antique (and her husband didn't even know she had taken out of the house to have it appraised) except that it was brought here by her in-laws. I explained to Eleanor that what she had was a bride's box-the locking box that well wishers placed money into during a wedding -dating back to the early 1800s. These boxes are rare and hers was very well decorated with an oil painted scene of a landscape, suggesting a family homestead probably in Europe. Eleanor quickly took a seat after I told her that other bride boxes like hers have sold for $7,500 to $10,000 to collectors. What a surprise!
Jane knew she had a thing of beauty when she placed her antique knife box, circa 1775, on the appraisal table at the front of my stage. She and her husband, who collected antiques for several years, had purchased the Colonial style antique from an antiques shop many years ago. Jane, with her lovely smile, was thrilled to hear that currently her carved walnut Colonial knife box is worth $8,000.
While many of the antiques that I appraised came with fascinating tales of family history, I think Shirley's story is my favorite even though her piece was not worth as much as some of the other antiques and vintage objects I appraised.
With a value of $300 to $500 on today's market, Shirley's hand-painted and glazed piggy pitcher is from the famous "Smiley" pottery line. These mid-1900s collectible cookie jars, pitchers and canister sets are immediately recognizable by their characteristic decorative smiles, hence the name. They are simple and wonderful pieces of Americana. Shirley owned this kitchen collectible since the 1940s. It was not a hand me down from her mother or a yard sale purchase, either. Shirley won the American-made piggy pitcher at a carnival playing Bingo as a child. She has kept it ever since. Now that's a great antique appraisal tale!
I appraised some very good antiques during my time at the Juniata Valley Home and Garden show and I had a great time talking antiques with friends close to home. Hope to see you at next year's Home Show!
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel's "Auction Kings," which airs from 9 to 10 p.m. Thursdays. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.
When the expert needs an expert, he calls Dr. Lori
By JANE CANNON MORT
Sentinel lifestyles editor
Paul Brown is the auction expert at Gallery 63 near Atlanta, Ga., featured on the Discovery Channel's series "Auction Kings."
Sellers seek him out when they want to put their unusual or historic items up for sale, and trust him to give them an idea of whether the price they want is realistic. But he doesn't know everything, and when he's stuck, he calls in the appraisal expert, Lori Verderame - better known as Dr. Lori.
Sentinel readers know Dr. Lori as the nationally syndicated writer whose weekly art and antiques column appears Saturdays in the newspaper, and from the antiques appraisal event she conducted at the Sentinel-sponsored Juniata Valley Home and Garden Show in Reedsville in April.
Appearing on television is nothing new for Dr. Lori. She started in TV at CBS3 in Philadelphia and has been featured on a host of shows ranging from NBCs "The Tonight Show," to Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," to Anderson Cooper's talk show, talking about art and antiques and telling people how to find out if what they own is valuable.
"My approach is straightforward, and sometimes there are jokes thrown in," she said in a recent telephone interview from Bucks County.
In fact, she had a funny story to tell about her audition for Discovery's "Auction Kings."
Dr. Lori often conducts antiques appraisals on cruise ships, where she was when she got a call in November 2011 from "Auction Kings" asking if she was interested in auditioning for the show. They suggested Skype, since they were in Burbank, Calif., and she was in the Atlantic Ocean on her way to Bermuda.
Of course, she wanted to audition, but "I was so seasick, I felt I couldn't even sit up," she said, noting that the seasickness was unusual for her.
"But I got through it - green-faced and all," she said, joking that the situation was like "Discovery's 'Deadliest Catch' meets antiques appraiser!"
Dr. Lori joined the cast of "Auction Kings" in December 2011, and has been traveling to Atlanta frequently to tape episodes for Season 3.
"It's a great cast," she said. "Paul Brown has a keen view of what's really happening in the auction business today, and that keen view is very rare."
Dr. Lori does not appear in every show. "It's a recurring role," she said, noting that she's called in to appraise special objects.
On "Auction Kings," Dr. Lori appraises a variety of objects, ranging from "celebrity items to medical devices - you know, those quack things that might shock you."
Recently, "They called to ask if I could appraise a children's carnival ride. I appraise everything," she said, explaining she evaluates about 20,000 items a year at about 100 events throughout the country. "I appraise the public's objects," she said.
Dr. Lori chuckled about the show asking her to appraise a carnival ride because she feels like the show itself "is a carnival ride," typical of life at an auction house, which, she says, "is like a roller coaster." The show, she said, "is an awful lot of fun."
"I've been in TV for a long time and know it's not easy to put on any kind of show. Reality TV is not really reality, but with 'Auction Kings,' the people really are who they are. I think people will really enjoy the show," she said.
"Auction Kings" airs at 9 p.m. on Thursdays on the Discovery Channel.
Dr. Lori invites anyone with questions about any of the items they see on the show, to ask her through Facebook or Discovery's website at dsc.discovery.com/tv/auction-kings/.