Seattle, Wash.: 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 around 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.
Mount Carmel: 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.
Shown is Dr. Lori presenting an appraisal event in St. Louis, Mo.
State College: A gentleman in his 90s whose family had links to the Plymouth, 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: 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, between 50 and 30 B.C.
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!
I have been appraising people's stuff at a rate of approximately 20,000 objects a year, for years. And, once a guy from Wisconsin recognized me from TV and came running towards me in the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, holding up his cell phone with a photo of a vase on it for me to appraise. Everybody's got something.
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.