KNOXVILLE — If you’ve ever wondered what great-grandma’s vase or your vintage wind-up toy might be worth, the Knoxville Public Library has the man for you.
Antiques appraiser Mark Moran will be at the library from 1-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, to appraise most anything people haul in. Fans of “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS will find the program entertaining, too, Moran said.
“Folks bring in their treasures, we talk about their history and their usage, age and then we try to figure out the value,” Moran told the Journal-Express.
The library is signing up people seeking appraisals. Moran will visit with up to 40 people. There is a charge for each item he appraises.
Moran travels six midwestern states and has 137 events booked this year. He picks up stories along the way and enjoys sharing them during his events.
“Every program I do, I see something fascinating and wonderful, and something that I have never seen before,” he said “I am always learning as well. I see wonderful paintings, folk art, Americana, toys, advertising, clocks ceramics and glassware.”
He said a recent event in Madison, Wis., shows what makes his work worthwhile.
“A lady brought in this print that she had purchased the previous day at a yard sale for five dollars and I recognized it instantly as the work of an artist named Gustave Baumann,” Moran said.
Baumann was a German-American artist who created wood block prints in New Mexico in the 1930s. A copy of the same print that the woman brought to Moran had sold at an auction the previous day for $13,500, Moran said.
“And she’d paid five bucks for it. I told her she had to sit down before I told her what it was worth,” Moran said.
The woman’s reaction was refreshing because she did not care about the value. She just bought the picture and was going to hang it back on the wall and enjoy looking at it, Moran said.
“That is the kind of reaction I like to hear, because it should not just be dollars and cents,” Moran said. “These are beautifully designed and created objects and it’s not just a source of income or money.”
Moran said the enjoys telling people about the history, use and value of their objects.
“That is the best part of my job,” he said.
Moran also will make house calls to people in the area whose items are too big, fragile, or numerous to bring to the library.
For more information, or to make an appointment, stop by the library at 213 E. Montgomery St. or call (641) 828-0585.