Pittsburgh appraiser to attend ‘What’s It Worth’ fair in Tarentum
If you have something around the house and wonder what it’s worth, appraiser Kurt Shaw will let you know.
Shaw, a former art critic at the Tribune-Review for 16 years, will be at the Allegheny-Kiski Valley Heritage Museum’s “What’s It Worth” Appraisal Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Shaw contacted Allegheny-Kiski Valley Historical Society board President Jim Thomas about hosting the event, where people can bring an item or a photo of something if it’s too large to carry to get an appraisal.
Shaw, 51, is known for his work on KDKA’s “Hidden Treasures.” The Mt. Washington resident, who has an office in Robinson, is a certified member of International Fine Art Appraisers and the American Alliance of Museums.
“Doing these appraisal events is really fun,” said Shaw, who also will come to a person’s home to appraise items. “I get to meet so many people from all walks of life.”
He usually travels within a 100-mile radius and said it’s a good business because more and more older people are downsizing, moving into apartments or assisted-living situations and their children often don’t want a lot of the items.
“I love what I do,” said Shaw, who has appraised a desk worth $3,000 and a coffee table valued at $5,000. “I have discovered items in people’s homes, some items worth tens of thousands of dollars.”
He’s been in the appraisal business since 2002 when a Tribune-Review reader asked him the value of a painting. It was done by famous painter Henry Koerner, an artist from Vienna, Austria, who was known as a magical realist for creating works with a realistic view of the modern world while adding magical elements.
It was worth $24,000.
Shaw said the thought of doing this for a living intrigued him. Many of the guests at an art gallery he owned for 12 years in Downtown Pittsburgh would ask him for his opinions so, through his love of art and antiques, he thought it would be an interesting profession.
He has worked with banks, law firms, trust and estate professionals, heirs and private clients.
There are some challenges.
“It can be difficult at times because people have an expectation of the value of something,” he said. “And when you have to tell them it’s not worth what they thought it might be worth, that’s hard to do.”
Shaw will appraise art and furniture. He tells people to take a few photos of the furniture, including the insides of drawers or the underneath section of a table so he can see how the merchandise was constructed.
He will tell them the current market value and the price it will sell for at auction or what it would sell for at a consignment shop. He will advise them if they might be better off selling the item on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
The only items he doesn’t appraise are coins, comic books and stamps.
“We all have a lot of things we wonder what they are worth,” said the historical society’s Thomas. “People have watched shows like the ‘Antique Roadshow’ and ‘Hidden Treasures.’ I have a few things I am going to bring. I think people will enjoy finding out what things are worth. If people like it, I will want him to come back again.”
Admission is $5, but members of the historical society get in free.
Appraisals are $5 per item, with a limit of two per person.
The Allegheny-Kiski Valley Heritage Museum is located at 224 E. Seventh Ave., Tarentum.
Details: 724-224-7666 or akvhs.org.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .