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Appraisal show coming to Hinckley

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 9:47 a.m. CDT

HINCKLEY – Have you ever wondered about that old vase you keep in the basement, the one that used to belong to your grandmother? Or the painting you found in the attic when you moved into your house? Are they really as old as the family thinks? More important, perhaps, are they worth anything?

Now here’s your chance to find out.

An Antique Appraisal Event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Hinckley Community Building. Co-hosted by the Hinckley Public Library and the Hinckley Historical Society, the event will feature Mark Moran, who has appraised antiques for more than 30 years and has appeared on “Antiques Roadshow.”

“We wanted to do something with the historical society,” library director Heather Shlah said. “We thought it is ‘very library,’ and the theme seemed to work.”

 Although the appraisals and the event are free, anyone interested in having an item appraised must register in advance by calling the library at 815-286-3220.

According to Shlah, Moran will take up to 40 items and will appraise each one in front of the crowd.

“It’s definitely for entertainment value,” she said.

Moran said he will share stories and anecdotes with the audience with the appraisals.

“It’s really performance art,” he said. “An audience is always welcome, even if they don’t have something. They can expect to be entertained and learn something. People have so much fun at the shows.”

Moran, who lives in Iola, Wis., created his antique appraisal events in January of 2011 when he was laid off from the publishing company for which he wrote 27 antiques books. Essentially traveling throughout the Midwest – including a scheduled stop at the DeKalb Library on Dec. 4 – he said he works almost every day except his wedding anniversary.

“We’ll celebrate our 40th anniversary next year,” he said.

Moran, who specializes in fine art and Americana, said he sees a lot of the same items, but with a lot of variety.

“Part of the challenge for me is to walk into a room and then enlighten their owners with their works,” he said, noting that he only spends about four minutes with each item.

After years of experience, Moran, who is equipped with a computer, said he can usually tell right away what an item is worth. However, there are times when he has to do more research. In those cases, he said he is happy to follow up with owners after the program.

Sometimes people are more interested in learning the history of an item which has been in the family a long time than its real value.

“I see one amazingly cool thing at every program,” he said. “I have more fun than anyone else at the show.”

There are certain items he won’t evaluate, including weapons, fine jewelry or any currency.

Shlah said a light dinner and refreshments will be provided with the program.

“The more the merrier,” she said.

Moran said he will also be available for house calls that day if anyone would like a private appraisal of “big things, fragile things or just a lot of things.” The in-home sessions cost $75 an hour.

To register for a private appraisal, either call the library at 815-286-3220 or Moran at 715-281-5060.

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