By TRICIA HILL
Many people have items around their homes that they don’t really know what they’re used for. However, they keep them because they may have a family history behind them or maybe they hope someday to find out the history behind it. Boscobel community members will have the opportunity to find out what those miscellaneous objects are and what they’re worth when antiques appraiser Mark Moran visits the Boscobel Hildebrand Memorial Library on Friday, May 8 starting at 5 p.m.
“After talking with Robin for several years, I am excited that we were finally able to find the perfect date,” Moran said, referring to Boscobel Head Librarian Robin Orlandi.
Moran’s interest in antiques started in the 1970’s when he began his collection. As he was collecting items he became intrigued and decided to become an antiques dealer part time in the 1980’s. After he learned more about antiques and how to look them over to get an accurate appraisal, he decided to start writing books on the subject. Moran published his first book in the 1990’s and has currently published 27 books.
Prior to Moran’s antiques business he was a newspaperman for many years. He served as a reporter, columnist, news editor, and copy editor. He has also served as a contributing editor for Antique Trader Magazine, editor of the Antique Review East Magazine, producer of Alantique City, and the editorial director of F&W Media’s Antique Group.
“I have acquired a lot of knowledge in 40 years, which serves me now in this career,” Moran said.
Moran launched his Antique Appraisal Events business in the summer of 2011 and so far he has booked more than 550 events. His events are usually hosted at libraries, historical societies, senior communities and other organizations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.
Some of the objects that Moran evaluates include fine art, furniture, ceramics, vintage photos, advertising, musical instruments, books, folk art, assorted toys, metal ware, clocks, costume jewelry and sporting collections. Items that Moran will not appraise include weapons, traps, coins, paper money, Nazi memorabilia, fine jewelry, and Beanie Babies. However, if a customer has folding knives that have advertising on them they will be accepted for appraisal. If a guest is inquiring about an object that is not listed, they are welcome to contact Moran in advance to determine if he will be able to appraise their item.
When Moran sets up for his events, he brings all of his appraiser’s tools with him, including magnifying glass, magnet, mini-light, his MacBook Pro, and a 32” flat-screen monitor. The host will have to provide him with wireless Internet so he can search the net for any information he needs to search for on the object he is appraising. He then uses the screen so the audience can see what he is searching for on the computer.
With a 40-item event, Moran plans about three hours total. This gives him about four minutes on each item and allows him two, 10-minute breaks.
“Typically, when someone is paying $15, I want them to feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth,” Moran said.
When appraising an object, the first concern Moran has is what they know about the object and how they acquired it. He then explains the object’s history, intended use, details about the maker, the country/region of origin, the era when it was made and any design influences. Then he explains any condition issues and how that affects the value. If the guest is interested, Moran offers suggestions on how to repair/restore the item. Moran’s final step is to give his opinion of value and answer questions about how they might sell the object if interested.
“As much as I’d like to sometimes, I never offer to buy or arrange a sale on a commission,” Moran said.
If for some reason a guest at the event is unable to attend the event but has an item they would like to be appraised, they are more than welcome to request a house call in advance. This can be done by contacting the host of the event and having them make arrangements with Moran.
Moran charges $75 an hour for house calls and he will appraise an unlimited amount of objects in that time frame. If the appointment is booked through the host of the event, they will receive a 10 percent commission on all fees generated from the referral.
Community members, who are planning to attend the antique appraisal event May 8 at the Boscobel Library, are asked to pre-register for the event at the library. It is also required to pay a $15 per item fee to help raise money for the library building improvement project.
If interested in learning more about Moran and his appraisal business, feel free to view his website at www.markfmoran.com or his Facebook page at http://facebook.com/Markfmoran. He can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (715) 281-5060.