So, What's it Worth, Dr. Lori?
By Kari Jo M. Rodgers
Dr. Lori, a respected Antique Appraiser, and Ph.D. professor of art history at Pennsylvania State University, brought her expertise to the Countryside Library this previous Thursday, in order to help people attending the event figure out exactly how much their items were worth.
Before appraising any objects, Dr. Lori made it clear that "she was not there to buy or sell anyone's objects, and that she was strictly an appraiser." She explained that it was "unethical for an appraiser to buy or sell objects, and that a person was either an appraiser or reseller." She said it was also unethical for an appraiser to recommend another appraiser, because that appraiser "may be in cahoots" with the person who made the recommendation.
She explained to the audience that, in order to properly do an appraisal an appraiser is required "to show comparable documentation, or where their numbers came from." She told audience members to go back to the appraisal documents, and not the appraiser if one's objective was to sell the item. She also informed the audience that if someone says, "I would sell an item for this much, that the person saying that was not giving a true appraisal, but only trying to increase the market value for themselves."
With audience members more aware of the true manner in which appraisals should be conducted, the appraising was finally ready to begin. Some people walked away happy, while others walked away feeling a little distressed that their objects weren't worth more then previously thought.
One person who walked away happy was Dana Berck, who learned that she had a few objects with her of value, one of which was a "Kit Clock," popular around 1890 until about 1950. This type of clock came as a kit for the buyer to assemble on his or her own. To Berck's surprise, although the clock no longer worked, it was still worth about $600!
Dr. Lori even appraised a couple of paintings ranging in worth from $250,000 to $400,000! She later explained that "art reflects society," or that "history will drive the market," meaning that a painting with historical significance will be worth more then just a pretty painting."
Others, such as myself, walked away feeling a little disgruntled towards the seller of their objects. I learned from Dr. Lori that my jewelry box was a reproduction of Russian jewelry box, with a French picture on the top, valued at $40 to $50 tops! On the contrary, I still wouldn't sell it, which proves Dr. Lori's statement correct "everything is valuable if you think it has value to it!"
Most importantly, Dr. Lori explained that one should protect valuable objects by keeping them in "acid free material."
In the end, everyone seemed to walk away more educated on how to look for items of value, and on how to get those items properly appraised. If you are interested in learning more about this subject, be sure to tune into Dr. Lori on WFLA TV daytime at 10 a.m. every morning from your very own living room!
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