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"Cash in the Attic"

HDTV’s Luke returns
to Madison for appraisal event

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2007) – Don’t throw away that dusty little table sitting in the shed or that old ceramic vase decorated in chartreuse and orange flowers that’s been in the attic for decades. Both of those items may be priceless treasures waiting to be discovered.

Tim Luke

Photo provided

Expert appraiser Tim Luke will
discuss the changing values of
collectibles when he speaks at
the Lanier Mansion event.

That’s exactly what expert appraiser Tim Luke, from the popular HDTV cable network series “Cash in the Attic,” will discuss when he speaks at the Lanier Mansion at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7. After the discussion, Luke will conduct a short auction, during which attendees will be able to bid on a variety of donated items, including the opportunity to have a private “Cash in the Attic” experience with him in their own home on Sunday, Sept. 9. Guests will also be able to bid on a chance to sit with Luke during a 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appraisal Day Program on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the mansion and observe the appraisal process.
The admission fee for the Friday evening discussion will be $10, which includes a wine and cheese reception which precedes the event at 6:30 p.m.
At the Appraisal Day Program, participants will be able to bring up to four items, excluding guns, knives, coins, stamps and fine jewelry, and have them appraised. The cost to get each item appraised is $10, and the appraisals will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.
Later that evening, Luke will be the honored guest of the “Black and White Gala,” a fundraiser that will be held on the Lanier Mansion grounds. Proceeds from the “Cash in the Attic” programs and the Gala will benefit the Lanier Mansion Foundation.
Luke, in an August telephone interview, said he loved visiting Madison last year. “Madison is a wonderful slice of Americana and we really enjoyed our visit,” he said. “From the restaurants to the hospitality of the people, everything was just great.”
Luke, who grew up in Ohio but currently resides in Hobe Sound, Fla., said he stumbled into the business of appraising. “My father is a pack rat, so it’s simply in my genes,” he said.
He went to work at the famous Christie’s Auction House in New York City, where he received his training. He was the director of the collectibles department thee and oversaw sales of animation art, Hollywood posters, entertainment memorabilia, sports collectibles and comic art.
During his time at Christie’s, Luke was part of many high profile sales including the first-ever Pez dispenser sale, the first-ever all G.I. Joe sale, which brought in a record $5,750 for one of the action figures, and the amazing $640,500 sale of a Honus Wagner baseball card.
During the Friday night talk, Luke plans to discuss how the collectible and antiques markets work. “I want to help people to understand how the value of these items can change,” he explained.
He compared the changing values of collectibles to changes in the stock and housing markets. “Most people don’t understand that the value of these items can go up and down, just like housing and stock prices.”
“Tim is a very entertaining guy, and he will present another fast-paced and enjoyable program this year,” said Lanier Mansion site manager Gerry Reilly.
Reilly was the key figure in getting “Cash in the Attic” and Luke to come to Madison. Before coming to Madison to work at Lanier, Reilly worked in Wheeling, W.V., for 20 years at Oglebay Mansion and Museum. When he left there, the person who took over for him knew Luke. Reilly became acquainted with Luke through that contact and convinced him to come to Madison for a show.
“I met him and talked about Madison, and he agreed to do it,” said Reilly.
This will be the second consecutive year for the show at the Lanier Mansion. At last year’s appraisals, an unusual church Bible from the 1700s was appraised at $10,000. “Usually family Bibles are not worth that kind of money, but this one was extremely unusual,” said Reilly.
Most of the other items brought to be appraised were decorative ceramics and glass, artwork and a few pieces of furniture. “There were some that were disappointed because they though they really had something,” said Reilly. “Then there were others that were pleasantly surprised.”
Luke said that most of the time, if people genuinely don’t know whether they have something valuable, they are grateful for his appraisal. However, many times the people who think they have something really priceless can be disappointed to find their item is worthless.

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