Blog by Dr. Lori

3 Pickers Find Valuables

by Dr. Lori Verderame
3 Pickers Find Valuables

Valuable stuff is still out there to find at thrift stores like Goodwill, flea markets, and even at your neighbor’s curb. People like you bring this valuable stuff to my events all across the country, have me review it online from photos, or ask me to visit your home after you have gone picking for antiques. Valuable finds will continue since there are people who incorrectly research antiques on the internet, are wealthy enough to throw away valuables, or are simply just plain lazy not to be bothered. Read three real life stories below of items I have identified and valued for pickers who found valuable pieces. How could someone overlook these? Would you?

1. Gone with the Wind book

Gone with the Wind book

This is a great story. I met Bob in South Carolina at one of my events with his copy of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. He was shopping at a flea market and found the book there. Of course, you’d never think the book was of any value because aren't flea market sellers supposed to know what they are selling? It’s Gone with the Wind. Wouldn’t you at least look it up online? Well, you can still find these treasures at flea markets since people don't always bother looking through or researching their inventory. Bob’s book was worth 21,000 dollars. First edition books are typically more valuable than later editions and they don't have to be signed to have value. Read more about old books or just have me identify your old book and value it from photos.

2. Robert Han Nong painting

Robert Han Nong painting

I met January and her husband in Seattle, WA. They asked me to identify and value a painting by well-known artist Robert Han Nong at one of my events at the Seattle Home Show. With my Ph.D. in art history, it was easy for me to identify, but that is the hardest part of appraising an item. January and her husband didn’t know what they had at all. Neither did the person who donated the painting to Goodwill nor did the Goodwill store staff that sold it. So, lots of folks lost out on this—Goodwill and the painting's original owner. Why didn’t they know or find out? Paintings are still valuable with no signature. Use my tips about the back of paintings and watch video to see what clues I reveal about paintings so you can discover that valuable find. Value of this Robert Han Nong painting is 7,500 dollars. This couple only paid 20 dollars for it. Good for January and her hubby.

3. Keith Haring lithograph

Keith Haring lithograph

David and Honie invited me to their home for an in home appraisal in Florida. They watch my instructional videos on my website. They keep their eyes open for stuff and picked this signed lithograph by Keith Haring right from the curbside trash. I showed them how to spot marks on a print and explained why an unsigned piece is still valuable. Haring's works are selling well now. I have seen similar lithographs sell for 3,000 dollars. How could anybody place that much money on the curb? Or, did the original owner not bother to have it correctly identified? Can you afford to make a 3,000 dollar mistake? Not bad for David and Honie picking around in the trash.

In these three examples, at least four people (three original owners and the Goodwill store), missed a total of over 30,000 dollars in stuff. Keep looking, valuables are out there. Will you be the one who finds it or the one who makes the big mistake and throws it away? With my appraisal options, there is no reason to miss this stuff when picking up items or cleaning out your house.

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