Learn historical, monetary value of items at Cooper-Siegel’s appraisal fair | TribLIVE.com
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Tawnya Panizzi

From crumpled baseball cards to pristine porcelain, treasure hunters can learn the value of items stashed away in their own closets.

Art expert Kurt Shaw will be on hand from 1 to 4 p.m. March 16 at Cooper-Siegel Community Library to take a peek at old, unique and peculiar items.

The Art & Collectibles Appraisal Fair is expected to draw coins, books, furniture, jewelry, paintings, toys and more.

“One of the most unique things someone has ever brought to me was an early 20th century shadowbox diorama that was handmade in Greece,” said Shaw, an art and antiques expert who is a regular guest on TV’s popular “Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures.”

The family heirloom included a painted wooden battleship with cotton puffs of smoke spewing from the stacks, he said.

It was handed down through generations, and some on-the-spot research revealed it was made to commemorate the 1913 Battle of Lemnos during the Balkan Wars.

“The young lady who brought it was surprised to learn it was worth $675,” Shaw said.

Residents are encouraged to scour their basements and attics, or anywhere in between, and bring items with them to learn their historical significance or value.

Cost is $10 per item in advance or $12 per item at the door. There is a limit of five items per person.

Proceeds benefit library programs.

Library Executive Director Jill McConnell said this first-ever appraisal fair has been met with positive reaction. There are dozens of items in line to be looked at, she said.

“One of our staff members is bringing an antique bottle capper to be appraised,” McConnell said. “We think this is an event that people will find interesting and could serve as an impetus to get a jump start on their spring cleaning.”

Shaw, a certified member of International Fine Art Appraisers, previously owned an art gallery on Liberty Avenue, Downtown.

Beyond the off-chance of striking it rich, Shaw said, many people simply want to know more about the items sitting around their house.

“Oftentimes, they are bringing things that they have had in their family for a long time, and the items already have a sentimental value of their own,” he said. “If it is something of considerable value, they are usually shocked.”

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