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Valuable assets

TV’s ‘Cash in the Attic’ appraiser Luke
to make stop in Madison

By Michella M. Marino
Contributing Writer

(September 2006) – Madison, Ind.’s homes, buildings and storefronts are full of history. It is likely that if their owners would be willing to check, some of this history has made its way into their attics as well. For some local residents, this history can soon be turned into cash.

Tim Luke

Photo provided

Tim Luke
inspecting an antique

On Sept. 8-9, the Lanier Mansion Foundation will play host to a two-day event featuring Tim Luke, the appraiser from Home and Garden TV’s “Cash in the Attic” show. This popular show airs on HGTV at 8 p.m. Monday nights. Luke is a former appraiser from PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.”
According to a press release for the event, the Friday night program will be held at the Lanier-Madison Visitor Center, 601 E. First St., beginning at 7:30 p.m. This portion of the event will consist of Luke taking the public behind the scenes of the “Cash in the Attic” show. Gerry Reilly, the new director of the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, said that Luke will be presenting clips, bloopers, and funny parts of the show along with discussing the makings of “Cash in the Attic” in general.
Luke said he plans on demonstrating to people how the families on the show raise funds for their home improvements, too. “The show is a lot of hard work, but the viewer can be doing it himself," Luke said by telephone from his Florida home.
The lecture will show this, he said. It will show what goes into it because it’s not all the glamour it appears to be.” After the “Behind the Scenes” part of the program, an auction of donated items will take place, which includes the opportunity to bid on a “Cash in the Attic” experience in the top bidder’s own home by Luke. The items to be auctioned were donated by the Lanier Mansion Gift Shop, The Attic, Folk Art by May, Bizarre Ladies Uppity Gifts, The Garden Gate, Barbara Kiffmeyer, and Binzer’s Custom Framing.
The actual appraisal part of the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at the same location. Luke will be available to the public to appraise antiques and collectibles, excluding guns, knives, coins, stamps, and fine jewelry.
The appraisals will be performed on a first come, first serve basis. Cost for an appraisal is $10 per item with a limit of four items per person. The program will not be televised, but all proceeds will benefit the Lanier Mansion Foundation. The sponsors of the event include Woodburn-Kyle & Co., A Sister’s Attic, Flint Painting & Repairs, John & Crystal Fulton, Lumber Mill Antique Mall, MainSource Bank, Main Street Antiques and Collectibles Mall, River Valley Financial Bank, Local Harvest Market and MPS Printing.
Luke has been involved with and interested in antiques and collectibles since he was a small child.
“Honestly, my dad’s a pack rat,” he admitted. “I come from a long line of hoarders.”
His great aunt was a collector of mechanical banks, and from her collection he learned to be more selective in what to collect and to throw away. After college, Luke went to live in New York City and worked at Christie’s Inc. Auction House, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, and New York, New York, where he picked up a lot of his education on antiques and appraisals. He has learned most of his antique education in what he refers to as “the school of life,” but he is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. That required much class work on the various legal aspects of appraising items.

Tim Luke

Tim Luke

Luke was an appraiser on the popular PBS program “Antiques Roadshow” for its first nine seasons, and he found it “exciting from the very beginning.” Luke believed it appealed to the viewer, as does his new show, because “it’s easily understandable, everyday stuff.”
Aside from his television career, Luke has authored two books titled, "Insider’s Guide to American Toys and Games" and "Toys from An American Childhood." From his experience with the books, Luke is now able to call himself a “generalist,” meaning he knows “a little bit about a lot of things.”
Writing his two books gave him a lot of background on various areas of items people have. He has recently been working on a weekly column for Scripps-Howard Newspapers which will be coming out in October. In addition, Luke is an auctioneer and also co-owns the Treasure Quest Appraisal Group Inc. in Hobe Sound, Fla., with business partner Greg Strahm.
Luke obviously stays very busy but keeps everything in check with good scheduling and organization skills. The diversity of his work, even if it can be hectic, is very satisfying. “I enjoy the mixture. I like the variety because different skills are required. I can focus on writing for three days and then walk away and do something different. It’s a rejuvenation and regeneration to do this. I keep things in moderation and then don’t get burnt out.”
Although, Luke grew up in the Cleveland area, and has traveled to Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, this will be his first trip to Madison. Luke said that he has done research online about Madison and loves this part of the country, so he’s looking forward to visiting.
“I’m always impressed and surprised at the things people bring to be appraised. There’s such a diversity of items and stories that come with them. I’m looking forward to hearing them.”

• For more information on the “Cash in the Attic” event, please contact the Lanier Mansion Foundation at (812) 265-3526.

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