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Valuable finds? l

Antiques appraiser Luke
to appear at Lanier Mansion

Fundraising event includes
dinner party on the lawn

By Kristi Whitehill
Contributing Writer

(September 2008) – The second annual fundraising event for the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site on Sept. 5-6 will feature a lecture and appraisals offered by Tim Luke of HDTV’s “Cash in the Attic” show. Luke’s vast experience in the antique business includes public television’s “Antiques Roadshow” and serving as the director of the Collectibles Department for Christie’s Auction House in New York City, N.Y.
Luke writes for several publications and has also written and edited more than a few books. He has appeared on “The Today Show,” “The View,” “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” CNN, Lifetime Television, and the Discovery Channel. Luke resides in Florida, where he co-owns an auction and appraisal business, TreasureQuest Appraisal Group Inc.

Gerry Reilly, Tim Luke and Greg Strahm

Photo provided

From left, Lanier Mansion curator
Gerry Reilly poses with Tim Luke
and Greg Strahm, both of TreasureQuest Appraisal Group Inc. of Hobe Sound, Fla.,
pose at the 2007 Black and White Party.

Luke will be at the wine-and-cheese reception in the Old Masonic Building on Friday, Sept. 5. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Following the wine-and-cheese event will be a presentation, “Turning Trash into Cash.” Luke will give advice on recognizing valuable items in our own attics, which is also great advice for garage sales and estate sales.
An example of the information given is advice on commemorative pieces. Luke advises to steer clear of most commemorative pieces.
“They have no value because they can be reproduced and are not limited,” Luke said. “What makes pieces valuable are items such as a brick from the Berlin Wall because it is an original piece; it is real. All others are manufactured. Never collect for investment purchases.”
He also said that included in the presentation will be what people go through behind the scenes of his television shows.
Included in the Friday night activities is an auction, hosted by Luke, of donated items from area businesses. The highlight of the auction is the opportunity to bid on a private in-home appraisal with Luke following Sunday. Tickets are $10 for the presentation and are on sale at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center Gift Shop or at the door.
The appraisal day lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. The appraisal fee is $10 per item or three items for $25 (excluding guns, knives, coins, stamps and fine jewelry), with a limit of four items per person. If the item is too large to haul in, a picture with the exact dimensions can be used. Waiting attendees will be able to watch videos of “Cash in the Attic.”
Luke narrated stories of unusual items that the owners did not think were worth much.
“What people think are not valuable are in fact valuable,” Luke said.
While working on an estate action, he found a painting that was not even on the inventory. The owner had the bought the painting when the artist was little known, and the owner did not think much about the painting. He was just storing it in an upstairs closet. When the artist died, the price of the painting went up to $100,000.
A set of six hard plastic Madison dolls that a woman was given by her father fetched $75,000. These dolls were called mystery portrait dolls and were the only known set of all six in one collection.
A group of pottery jugs that Luke said “looked like a craft project gone wrong”
brought more than $10,000. The only reason the owner thought it might be worth something was because it was signed “Turner.”
A steiff German Teddy Bear, which had belonged to the person’s mother, was in excellent condition from 1910-1915 and sold for $7,500.
Last year in Madison after Luke had said that family Bibles are not worth much, a rare German church Bible was appraised at $7,000.
Not only does Luke appraise the items, he also gives advice on where to sell them and offers places to get the best possible price. He can also put you in touch with a buyer.
Luke warns that some treasure may have “much sentimental value more than monetary value.” However, if your item has value, Luke will disperse the “information to take it from the attic to the bank.”
Later that Saturday, Luke will be a guest of the “Black and White Gala,” a fundraiser that will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the north lawn of the Lanier Mansion grounds. Fun, formal or crazy dress is the proper attire for the gala.
“We want people to have fun so they are encouraged to wear any combination of black and white clothing,” said Gerry Reilly event organizer. “Some people tell me they will wear tuxes; others say they will wear T-shirts and jeans; and still others say they will create their own imaginative outfit.”
A prize will be given for the most creative black and white outfit.
The admission of $30 per person includes substantial hors d’oeuvres and two complimentary drink tickets. A cash bar for beer and wine will also be available.
Entertainment will be provided by the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet from New Albany, Ind. They will play popular jazz favorites from the 20th century. Aebersold is an internationally known saxophonist and authority on jazz education and improvisation. Aebersold also plays the piano, bass and banjo.

• Proceeds from the event benefit the Lanier Mansion Foundation. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Visitors Center or by calling (812) 273-0556.

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