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Cash in the Attic!

September 5, 2010
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Interested in history and antiques? Wondering how much your old household items are worth? Oglebay Institute is welcoming internationally-known appraiser Tim Luke back to Wheeling for two "Cash in the Attic" appraisal events Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17-18.

Recognized as one of the appraisers on HGTV's "Cash in the Attic," Luke is set to join Julien's Auctions in October as the auctioneer for the first American pop culture auction in Asia, which will feature items from the life and career of Michael Jackson, including stage-worn costumes, original paintings, handwritten notes and a rare black Swarovski crystal glove worn by the "King of Pop." Other major highlights of the auction include a burgundy velvet ball gown worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and property from Madonna, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee and other iconic legends whose popularity spans all continents.

"We are thrilled to have Tim in Wheeling for these special events. Anyone interested in history, pop culture and antiques as well as anyone looking to have an interesting and entertaining weekend will want to attend," Oglebay Institute Museums director Christin Byrum said.

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Luke will be joined by Greg Strahm, who is also an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. Luke and Strahm are the owners of TreasureQuest Appraisal Group in Florida. Known as "the appraisal guys," these two expert appraisers will give guests an inside look at the world of antiques and prized items.

Guests also will have the opportunity to bid on a personal "Cash in the Attic" experience.

Sponsored by Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Friday's appraisal event will take place at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay Park. Saturday's event is hosted by Cabela's and will take place in the store at The Highlands.

Details of the events are as follows:

The event features a cocktail party at the Mansion Museum with a "mini-auction" and a game show, where guests will have the opportunity to play "The Price is Right," guessing how much recent auction items are worth. Audience members will be chosen randomly to participate in the game along with area celebrity contestants.

The "mini-auction" will benefit the Museums of Oglebay Institute and will include items such as an Amish quilt donated by the appraisers, an opportunity to have brunch with Luke and Strahm and "Ladies Who Lunch," a luncheon for six people prepared by Strahm, who is also a trained chef. Reservations requested. Institute members receive a discount on the admission price.

Guests can take items to Cabela's at The Highlands for a verbal appraisal by Luke and Strahm. They will comment on the value and significance of the item, giving detailed information about its history. Appraisal fees are charged by the item, with a limit of eight items a person. There is cost for appraisals.

Luke and Strahm will provide expert consultation and advise to guests at the events.

"It is very important to find out information about old items in your possession," Luke said. "This weekend at Oglebay Institute gives the public the opportunity to speak with professionals to find out the value of items, how to insure them, how to sell them and how to restore them."

Since his visit to Oglebay Institute last year, Luke has appraised and sold some interesting items, including a chair associated with the late Marilyn Monroe.

"It was the chair she used for her final photo shoot before she died," Luke said. "Several photos of her in the chair appeared in Life Magazine. The chair's estimated value was $2,000-$4,000, and it sold for $35,000."

Luke also sold a George Nakashima cocktail table, estimated at $20,000-$30,000, for $27,000. Nakashima was a Japanese-American woodworker, architect and furniture maker, who was a leading innovator of 20th-century furniture design and considered one of the fathers of the American craft movement.

In October, Luke will join Julien's Auctions as the auctioneer for the American pop culture auction in Macau, China.

Prior to his career in television, Luke was the director of the collectibles department at Christie's Auction House in New York. He is a published author and has appeared on "The Today Show" and is a regular guest on "The View." One of Luke's career highlights was appraising some of Barbara Walter's most prized possessions. He also has shared his expertise on "Antiques Roadshow."

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