I have been serving as America's appraiser for many years now. Many people attend my appraisal events with family heirlooms or flea market finds. My appraisal style is unlike anything you've seen in the antiques world or on TV. My audiences partake in my rapid-fire, funny, educational and totally unscripted events.
Here are some of the stories that I recall from my latest round of presenting Dr. Lori's Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show Tour. Some objects are worth big bucks and other objects have big stories to tell. I present about 150 events every year and I am in my 15th year of touring. Yes, I have loads of frequent flier miles and friends.
These are Americans' stories about their old stuff.
Seattle, Wa.: Kelly worked as a waiter. One night, he served a big table of diners and did not receive a tip. Instead, the diners left a small bag on the table with a Native American turquoise and silver squash blossom necklace in it. After a month of waiting for the owners to return to the restaurant to pick up the necklace, the owner told Kelly that the necklace was his tip. It was worth $5,000.
Portland, Ore.: While cleaning out her aunt's house, Cathy discovered a Walt Disney animation cel from Dumbo, dating to the 1940s. I told her to be sure to keep it somewhere out of direct sunlight as these early animation cels can fade. Appraised value: $9,000.
Mt. Carmel, Pa.: A woman showed me her circa-1920s platinum, diamond and sapphire ring that was an anniversary gift from her husband. She said that her husband got it from "a guy named Blackie at the pool hall." I did not ask any more questions! Would you? Her art deco ring was worth $25,000.
State College, Pa.: A gentleman in his 90s whose family had links to the Plymoth, Mass., colony brought a teapot that came over on the Mayflower. With significant information and the documentation to prove it, the silver teapot was worth $150,000.
Bloomsburg, Pa.: I will never forget the man who yelled at me when I told him that his glass Ball canning jar was not rare. It was marked 1858 on the side. The owner believed it was the first one ever made-it wasn't! Value: $8.
Lynchburg, Va.: At a corporate appraisal dinner event, a man brought me one of the oldest objects that I have appraised. It wasn't the oldest, but it was old-really old. The object was a portrait bust from the ancient Roman empire. It was acquired from an antique store and purchased by the man's mother in the 1950s. Today's value: $25,000. Note: The oldest object that I appraised at an event was a mascara jar of stoneware from ancient Egypt that dated back to the time of Cleopatra, circa 50-30 B.C.
Hazelton, Pa.: A couple in their 80s brought an American Impressionist landscape painting to my event. While waiting for the event to begin holding their painting, they were approached by two young men who offered to buy the painting on the spot. They offered the couple $8,000 for the painting and urged them not to have me appraise it. The elderly couple rejected the offer stating that the painting had been in the wife's family for decades and they wanted me to appraise it. I told them it was worth $100,000.
Lewes, Del.: A former NASA engineer brought the boot mold that was used to make Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise's moon boot to my appraisal event. Now that's what I call a rare object. Unfortunately, he only had the left boot mold. The right one had already sold online. Left moon boot value: $10,000.
Kansas City, Mo.: A woman named Joan purchased an ugly drawing of an eagle with a Picasso signature on it that she and the estate sale organizer thought was a print. Joan bought the print at the estate sale for $2.50. It wasn't a print but actually an original, signed Picasso drawing worth $50,000.
Akron, Ohio: A woman named Ginger purchased a very old sock monkey at an estate sale. She didn't like it when I told her my evaluation of it. I said, "If you can smell it, you can't sell it." Value: Smelly!
Glastonbury, Conn.: An original campaign button from George Washington's campaign in the form of a brass car coat button. The piece was dug up from the ground while its owner was doing some light gardening. He dug up an object from the Revolutionary war period worth $2,200.
Virginia Beach, Va.: A few strong members of a military family struggled to bring their object to my appraisal event. It took three big guys to lift it. Why? Because the object they asked me to appraise was a giant piece of reinforced concrete covered in graffiti. It was a piece of the Berlin Wall ... priceless!