Antique Appraisal Events

Mark F. Moran Appraisals of Antiques & Fine Art
N7326 Maple Ridge Trail
Iola, Wis. 54945
Visit my Facebook page here.

Appraisal visit in your home? 
See my calendar of events for a program in your area.

Next event:

  May 28, Kenosha, Wis., Public Library,
starting at 11 a.m.

Gary C. Klein/Sheboygan Press

The reviews are in!

"Our evening was a total success. I can't tell you how many compliments we received from both participants and observers alike. Many hoped that we would be having a similar event soon!"
Linda Goldsworthy, Three Lakes, Wis., Historical Society

My name is Mark F. Moran, author of dozens of antiques reference guides. I conduct community events that involve appraisal of antiques, collectibles and decorative arts in the Midwest.

More than 700 events and counting booked since 2011.

Since launching my Antique Appraisal Events in the summer of 2011, the response has been very gratifying. Libraries, historical societies, senior communities and financial planners from around the Midwest have embraced the concept, scheduling events and fundraisers. Institutions in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan have been very enthusiastic.

Sharon Cekada/Appleton Post Crescent

"Our Antiques Appraisal Event was a great success with the people from the Spooner Area.  We immediately booked Mark back for next year and hope to extend our event from an afternoon to a full day. Mark's knowledge of antiques is very impressive, but what makes the event is his genuine interest in the people he is working with and the stories they have to tell."
Jane Frankiewicz, Director, Spooner, Wis., Memorial Library

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.
Nice coverage of the events in Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine here.
Slideshow of the program in the Door County Advocatehere.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! The antiques & collectibles event at our library was wonderful. Lots of positive comments and many happy patrons. Thank you so much for coming to Kiel with this entertaining and educational program. It was a delight! Already patrons are asking if we'll do it again."
Julia Davis, Director, Kiel, Wis., Public Library

Here's the current schedule of events, updated 5/27/16. To register for a program, simply contact the host through the links below.
May 28, Kenosha, Wis., Public Library, starting at 11 a.m.
June 2, Saint Paul Public Library, Highland Park Community Center, starting at 4 p.m.
June 4, Peoria, Ill., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m. 
June 5, Antioch, Ill., Public Library District, starting at 1:30 p.m.
June 9, Cobb, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
June 11, Client-Appreciation Event, Prairie Du Sac, Wis.
June 12, R.H. Stafford Library, Woodbury, Minn., starting at 1:30 p.m.
June 13, Austin, Minn., Public Library and Hormel Historic Home
June 14, History Center of Olmsted County, Rochester, Minn., starting at TBD.
June 15, Pepin, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
June 16, G.E. Bleskacek Family Memorial Bloomer, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
June 17, Munising, Mich., Public Library, starting at 11 a.m.
June 18, Ishpeming, Mich., Carnegie Public Library, starting at 10:30 a.m. 
June 24, Baldwin, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
June 25, River Falls, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
June 26, Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, Ill., starting at 1 p.m. (Our 6th event!)
June 27, Woodstock, Ill., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.

"The Greendale Public Library Foundation had a very successful Antique Appraisal Event and it is all due to the skill of Mark Moran. This program is a winner of three levels: Mark is a knowledgeable appraiser, a delightful entertainer, and has wonderful people skills. Everyone who came got their money’s worth and asked when the library would do this program again. We look forward to making this an annual event at the library." 
Gary Warren Niebuhr, Director, Greendale Public Library

Thanks to Breanna Speth for shooting this fabulous video!

 Gary C. Klein/Sheboygan Press

A great video from the St. Paul Public Library here.
July 9, Verona, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m. (Our 5th event!)
July 16, Bremer County Historical Society and Museum, Waverly, Iowa, starting at 1 p.m.
July 20, Wildwood Library, Mahtomedi, Minn., starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 21, Dakota County Library, Pleasant Hill (Hastings, Minn.), starting at 4 p.m.
July 22, Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library, Hayward, Wis., starting at 4 p.m.
July 23, Oakdale, Minn., Library, starting at 1 p.m.
July 24, Trempealeau, Wis., County Fair, starting at noon.
July 28, Brevort Township Community Library, Moran, Mich., starting at 4 p.m.
July 29, Les Cheneaux Community Library, Cedarville, Mich., starting at noon.
July 30, Bayliss Public Library, Sault Ste Marie, Mich., starting at 10 a.m.

Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate

Thanks to Leslie Sauer of QCTV for this wonderful video!
Aug. 5, Rusk County Jr. Fair, Ladysmith, Wis., starting at 11 a.m.
Aug. 6, Ethel Everhard Memorial Library, Westfield, Wis. (Tentative)
Aug. 10, Poplar Creek Public Library, Streamwood, Ill., starting at 6 p.m.
Aug. 20, Algoma, Wis., Public Library, starting at 11 a.m.
Aug. 20, Black Creek, Wis., Village Library, starting at 5 p.m.
Aug. 22, Jacksonville, Ill., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Aug. 23, Keokuk, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 24, Quincy, Ill., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
Aug. 25, Galesburg, Ill., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
Aug. 27, Black River Falls, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.  
Aug. 28, La Crosse, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Thanks to Shannon Prather for the coverage in the StarTribune.
Sept. 9, Normal, Ill., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m. 
Sept. 10, Greenwood, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
Sept. 15, Apple Creek Campground, De Pere, Wis., starting at 4 p.m.
Sept. 17, Brown County Library, Green Bay, Wis., starting at 11 a.m.
Sept. 18, Eisenhower Public Library District, Harwood Heights, Ill., starting at 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 22-23, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, Mich., starting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 22, and at 1 p.m. on Sept. 23.
Sept. 24, Spooner, Wis., Memorial Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Sept. 25, Reedsburg, Wis., Public Library, starting at noon. 
Sept. 26, W.J. Niederkorn Public Library, Port Washington, Wis., starting at 5 p.m.
Sept. 27-29, A series of 6 events for the Great River Regional Library System, based in St. Cloud, Minn. Details coming soon.
Sept. 30, Friday Memorial Library, New Richmond, Wis., starting at 1 p.m.

 Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate
Oct. 1, Plum City, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 2Poplar Creek Public Library, Streamwood, Ill., starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 5, Senior Expo, Shopko Hall, Green Bay, Wis., starting at 8 a.m.
Oct. 8, Community Library, Salem, Wis., starting at 11 a.m.
Oct. 9, McHenry, Ill., Public Library District, starting at 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 15, Woodville, Wis., Public Library and Historical Society, starting at 10 a.m.
Oct. 16, Brickl Memorial Library, Dickeyville, Wis., starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 22, Slinger, Wis., Community Library, starting at 9:15 a.m.
Oct. 23, Madison, Wis., Public Library, Sequoya Branch, starting at 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 29, Muskego, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 5, Cannon Falls, Minn., Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Nov. 12, Luck, Wis., Public Library, starting at 3 p.m. (Our 6th event!)
Nov. 13, Menomonie, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m. (Our 6th event!)
Nov. 19, Columbus, Wis., Public Library, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 3, Stickney-Forest View Public Library, Stickney, Ill., starting at 11 a.m.
(Our 5th event!)
Dec. 10, Cedarburg, Wis., Public Library, starting at 12:30 p.m. (Tentative)

Booked for 2017

Jan. 14, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire, Wis., starting at 10:15 a.m. (Our 6th event!)
Jan. 29, Mazomanie, Wis., Free Library and Black Earth, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
March 30, Sun Prairie, Wis., Public Library, starting at 5 p.m.
April 8, Middleton, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m. (Our 6th event!)
April 24, Plymouth, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m. (Our 5th event!)
April 29, Taylor County Lions Maple Fest, Medford, Wis., starting at 12:30 p.m.
May 6, Berkeley, Ill., Public Library, start time TBD.
Sept. 22-24, Hale, Mich., Balloon Fest.

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

"Mark's vast knowledge of fine art, antiques and collectibles comes from decades of hard work, intense study and hands-on experience you cannot get from a computer. His travels have taken him from metropolitan hot-spots to tiny villages in Europe. I have worked with him at numerous appraisal events, large and small, and his down-to-earth approach and personable style add to his professionalism. A true gem in the business."
Mary P. Manion, Associate Director, Landmarks Gallery, Milwaukee

I realize every library, historical society or other organization has different needs and guidelines they must follow. Some prefer to use a presenter's fee without charging their patrons or membership, but many take advantage of the revenue-sharing formula I use, which returns money to the event host. Some also partner with local organizations during other community events, or with their own "Friends" group in fund-raising.

If you are weighing plans for community presentations, fundraisers or benefits, I hope you'll consider an Antique Appraisal Event, outlined below.

My events chronicled on Auction Central News, "Appraisal as Theater," here (scroll down to read).

"We are writing to thank you so very much for the most excellent Appraisal Event held here at the Forest Lodge Library on Oct. 7. We would enthusiastically recommend your services to anyone wishing to stage such an event at their library or community center. We found you to be most accommodating, very easy to work with, professional, knowledgeable and entertaining. I believe that every individual who brought an item to the event felt as though their item was given sufficient consideration and an honest appraisal. It was a pleasure working with you.
"We look forward to welcoming you back for another Antiques Appraisal Event in the spring. Interest in this event was high and folks are already talking about what they plan to bring to the next one!" 
Kristine Lendved, Director, Forest Lodge Library, Cable/Namakagon, Wis.

Have a question about your antiques? Email me

As the author or co-author of more than 25 book on antiques and collectibles (full list follows), and being a guest expert on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, I can offer a morning, afternoon or evening of education and entertainment for a select group of attendees. I say "select" because a basic event would be limited to 40 objects. This allows for a forum that can be completed easily in three hours. But when the event is a fundraiser, I'll stay as long as folks have things for me to look at, and an unlimited number of objects can be appraised.

Objects accepted for evaluation include:

Fine art, including paintings, drawings, prints and statuary.
Furniture (larger pieces may be viewed using images sent by email).
Ceramics, including figural pottery, vases, dishes, kitchenware and stoneware.
Glassware, including lighting, marbles and souvenir items.
Vintage photographs, including snapshots, tintypes, ambrotypes and daguerreotypes.
Advertising, including posters, lithographed tin, paper and figural objects.
Folk art, including carvings, quilts, weathervanes, windmill weights and "outsider" art.
Assorted toys, including dolls (bisque, composition and plastic), windups and mechanical banks.
Metalware, including iron, bronze, brass, pot metal, silver, silver plate.
Clocks, including mantel, hanging and figural.
Costume jewelry, including brooches, bracelets, earrings.
Musical instruments.
Sporting collectibles.

Excluded items: all weapons, including swords and knives (though folding knives with advertising are accepted); traps (like leg-hold); coins and paper money; Nazi memorabilia; fine jewelry, including precious gems; Beanie Babies.

"Hi Mark, I just wanted to let you know that the March 7th program 'What’s it Worth?' opened for registration yesterday morning at 10 a.m. and all 40 slots were filled by 6:30 p.m."
Lori Kreis, Adult Services Librarian, Hales Corners, Wis., Library

Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate

"We were thrilled to have Mark Moran's antique evaluation program come to DeForest for a recent Friends of the Library fundraising event.  Everyone was impressed with Mark's professionalism and thorough knowledge of the variety of treasures our audience brought to the program.  People appreciated the information about their items and enjoyed the positive way he talked about each piece, even if it turned out to be not as valuable as they had hoped.  Not only was it a fascinating and educational afternoon, but we were entertained by Mark's personable style of appraisal.  His friendliness and sense of humor made it a fun event for all.  We're looking forward to having him come back next year!"
Jane Henze, Adult Services, DeForest, Wis., Area Public Library

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

Questions about objects not covered here can be submitted to me in advance to determine if they are appropriate. Suggested categories for advance inquiry include, but are not limited to: Oriental, Native American and other tribal objects (African, Oceanic); ancient artifacts (Egyptian and other early cultures); fossils and minerals; automotive items; nautical and military-related objects; sports memorabilia (including baseball cards); records; antique tools and technological objects (typewriters, cameras, assorted machinery or instruments for scientific measure, like sextants, telescopes, microscopes, etc.). When in doubt, email inquiry can often address this.

Opinions of value are informal, and may not be used for insurance or charitable donation, which require a certified appraisal.

The presenter's fee for the basic 40-item event is $400. If a presenter's fee is not used, the cost would be $15 per item. Multiplied by 40, this equals $600. This is divided between myself ($400, which includes all my expenses) and the host organization ($200). Events with more than 40 items are also possible (and welcome!), using the same revenue-sharing formula, or a separate presenter's fee scale. These rates apply to travel within a 225-mile radius of Iola, Wis. For events farther away, a mileage charge and hotel accommodations may be required. Home visits can also help cover travel expenses.

A growing number of financial advisors and retirement consultants have begun using my antique appraisal program as a client-appreciation event. My list of hosts includes Baird & Co., UBS, Wells Fargo and Allianz.

The host receives:

An event agreement outlining all categories for appraisal;

A database for signing up those in attendance;

All promotional text, including a mug shot to distribute to local media, and I contact media outlets to promote the program;

Sample fliers from other programs, and suggestions on website promotion.

I am often asked to make house calls when I'm in a town for my events. These can be difficult to arrange on the spot, depending on travel time and the length of the program. My normal fee for a house call when I don't have to charge mileage is $75 an hour. When travel is required to visit a home more than 10 miles from the event site, the cost is $.50 a mile.

 Karie Angell Luc/Lake Zurich, Ill., Courier

If this sounds like a program you would be interested in hosting, please contact me at your earliest convenience.


Mark F. Moran Appraisals of Antiques & Fine Art
N7326 Maple Ridge Trail
Iola, Wis. 54945

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

"We filled our 40 time slots for appointments in no time at all, and our 3-hour event was a gratifying success.  No matter the monetary value of each item, Mark made each person feel that the  piece they brought in was special and interesting in some way.  He’s also very entertaining:  his witty remarks kept us smiling, and his sense of timing kept us in suspense as we waited for him to state the value of each piece.  We look forward to the possibility of inviting Mark for a future engagement."
Bess Arneson, Librarian, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire, Wis.

My assistant, Abbi Knutson, carefully removes a vintage fishing reel from it's bag.

As a dealer, I bought and sold antiques for more than 30 years, specializing in vintage folk art, Americana and fine art. I have been active as an appraiser of antiques and fine art for more than 20 years.

I served as contributing editor for Antique Trader magazine; as editor of Antique Review East magazine; as producer of Atlantique City, an antique show held in Atlantic City, N.J.; and as editorial director of F+W Media's Antiques Group. I'm certified in USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. 

I was also a newspaperman for 30 years, filling the roles of reporter, columnist, news editor and copy editor.

"Sunday was a wonderful day at the Elroy, Wis., Library. Mark Moran brought his Antiques Appraisal Event to our area and over 50 people made use of his expertise. 

"Mark viewed, and commented on a wide variety of antiques, collectibles and curiosities. All the while his banter entertained the appreciative participants. Both those who brought items and those who looked on learned something. 
"The items ranged from beer steins to a mother-of-pearl pacifier. There were pictures, vases, unidentified stuff from basements and attics. Mark told one lady not to feel bad about putting her mother-in-law’s ugly picture back into storage, and another that her little beaded purse was a gem. He pointed out that those little dings can cost you, but that ‘decorative value’ is important, too.
"Although there were no undiscovered Monets or Ming vases on show, everyone had a marvelous time, and went home richer for the experience. Thank you to Mark and the Friends of the Library for hosting this event."
Mary Waarvik, Librarian, Elroy, Wis.

To see some of my appraisals on Antiques Roadshow, click here.

To see my Web-exclusive Roadshow appraisal of a Disney animation cel, click here.

To read about some of my Roadshow adventures, click here and here

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

My books include:

"I had a blast watching the different items that were hidden in towels (since it was raining outside).  It was like watching treasure being revealed and in some cases, it really was treasure! You did a great job. One person told me that we should book you twice a year! Another gentleman was very excited that we had booked such a professional person. AND the most comments I received were that it looks like you definitely love what you do because it showed through in your interaction with each person. I thought those comments were the best. So thank you for helping to make it such a success."
Edith G. Craig, Public Relations Coordinator, DeKalb, Ill., Public Library

"My town responded enthusiastically to the Antiques Appraisal Event and we plan to do it again in 6 months or so!  Mark Moran was very pleasant to deal with and his knowledge of the subject matter should be obvious from his credentials. I want especially to pass on that I appreciated how respectful he was with the public about their treasures, whether they were worth anything monetarily or not (most aren't). People went away feeling satisfied and enriched by the stories they heard.  We are a small public library who can't afford many programs, and this one was definitely worth choosing."
Rebecca Dixen, Director, Baldwin, Wis., Public Library

The historical societies, libraries and other establishments I work with usually begin by contacting their membership, then open the event to the larger public if needed. This helps to keep down the cost of promotion. I provide all the promotional text and also contact the local media to arrange editorial coverage of the program. I also provide a sample database to use as a guide or a template for scheduling.

As to setup, I arrive ready to go, with appraiser's tools (magnifying glass, magnet, mini-light) my trusty MacBook Pro, and a 32" flat-screen monitor. All I need is a table (standard meeting-room size, 3x6' or so), a chair, wireless Internet access and a ready supply of water (talking for three hours can be a challenge). Seating for 30 or 40 allows for attendees to listen in. A microphone can help with this but is not required.

It's best to create a schedule of one-hour windows of time, figuring 12-14 people per hour (14 the first and second hours, 12 the third in case things run a bit long). That way, if attendee No. 5 Hour 2, for example, arrives a bit late, they can still get their appraisal in that window of time without waiting too long, and can listen in the meantime. And this means arrival times are staggered to avoid congestion.

"Everyone that brought items (to the Coleman-Pound Public Library event) had a great time and was wondering when we are going to do it again. Mark is very knowledgeable ... and he did 58 items in Coleman and was still done in the 3 hours."
Dorothy Kaminski, Branch Librarian, Coleman-Pound, Wis., Public Library

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

With a 40-item event, spending 4 minutes on each item works out to 160 minutes, or 2 hours and 40 minutes, plus two 10-minute breaks for me. Total: 3 hours. ... Typically, when someone is paying $15, I want them to feel they've gotten their money's worth.

I ask them what they know about the object, how they acquired it. Then I explain its history or intended use, details about the maker or country/region of origin, the era when it was made and any design influences. Then I note any condition issues, how this affects value and suggest how they can have an object repaired or restored, if desired. Finally I give my opinion of value. I can also try to answer questions about how they might sell it, if that's their goal. (As much as I'd like to sometimes, I never offer to buy or arrange a sale on a commission.) With all these details, you can see how 4 minutes per item flies by.

A side benefit to the host in Three Lakes, Wis., was that during the 10-minute breaks each hour, attendees got up to stretch and immediately flocked to the cash bar serving wine and soft drinks. Morning or midday events might offer coffee, soft drinks, pastries, chips ... hey, why not brats! Each setting is different, but if you have the equipment and staff to benefit further from an event, I hope you'll explore this.

Scene from my first "web-isode" on Antiques Roadshow in 2010.

"Mark Moran’s antique appraisal program was a success at our library. It was held on a Saturday afternoon and everyone in attendance walked away satisfied with their appraisal and interaction with Mark. He delivered everything he promised, and his professionalism exceeded our expectations.
"The program stayed within the time limits but no one felt rushed or slighted. He gave thorough descriptions and honest appraisals. Attendees who stayed said they ended up learning about others’ items and found that educational and entertaining. We will consider inviting Mark back to do a bigger program at our Central Library and possibly using his efforts as a fundraiser for our Friends group."
Clare Kindt, Kress Family Library Supervisor, Brown County Library, De Pere, Wis.

Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate

“The variety of 'treasures' people brought for Mark Moran to appraise was fascinating.  He looked at vases, prints, paintings, carvings, a really old convertible high chair . . .  He took equal care and concern with each person and item.  The Colonial-era powder horn was my favorite!  Mark was knowledgeable, personable and entertaining.”  
Michelle Hellmer, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Dubuque, Iowa, Adult Services Manager

“Mr. Moran's genuine interest in the objects as well as his knowledge of antiques and collectibles made this a very successful event.  He treated every object with respect, and the appraisals were given with good humor and authority. I was amazed at the items he was able to appraise: ceramics, glassware, vintage photographs, mandolins and even a piece of scrimshaw (that particular item turned out to be a replica). ”   
Amy Muchmore, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, Dubuque, Iowa, Adult Services Librarian

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.
Some of the wonderful fliers created for the appraisal events ...

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.
A few highlights from a wonderful (and long) program at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette, Mich.

Have a question about your antiques? Email me here.

Mark F. Moran Appraisals of Antiques & Fine Art 
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