Antique Appraisal Events

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

Antique appraisal visit in your home?
See my calendar of events below 
for a program in your area.

Next Event, Nov. 1:

Brainerd, Minn., Public Library

starting at 2:30 p.m.

The reviews are in!

"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

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 1,000 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, Indiana, 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 Advocate, here.

"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 10/21/19. To register for a program, simply contact the host through the links below.

Booked for 2019

Nov. 1, Brainerd, Minn., Public Library, starting at 2:30 p.m. (2nd event)
Nov. 2, Cannon Falls, Minn., Library, starting at 1 p.m. (7th event)
Nov. 9, Waukesha, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Nov. 16, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, starting at 10:15 a.m. (9th event)
Dec. 21, Cedarburg, Wis., Public Library, starting at 12:30 p.m. (6th event)

End of 2019 Events ... Thank You.

"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.

Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate

Thanks to Leslie Sauer of QCTV for this wonderful video!

"Mark – I just looked over the evaluations and you got glowing reviews. People had a wonderful afternoon and want more of Mark Moran! Thanks."
Barbara Halligan, Hardwood Creek Public Library, Forest Lake, Minn.

Thanks to Shannon Prather for the coverage in the StarTribune

Booked for 2020

Jan. 25, Black Earth, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Feb. 1, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., starting at 10 a.m.
Feb. 22, Marathon County Public Library, Wausau, Wis., starting at 1:30 p.m.
March 21, Hales Corners, Wis., Library, starting at 1:30 p.m.
March 29, Quincy, Ill., Mall, starting at 1 p.m.
March 30, Red Wing, Minn., Area Seniors, starting at 4 p.m.
April 6, Kiel, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
April 13, Hampton, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
April 14, Traer, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 3:30 p.m.
April 15, Knoxville, Iowa, Public Library, start time TBD.
April 16, Vinton, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 11 a.m.
April 16, Marion, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 5 p.m.
April 18, Black River Falls, Wis., Public Library, starting at 9 a.m.
May 8, Middleton, Wis., Public Library, starting at 6 p.m.
May 9, Whitefish Bay, Wis., Public Library, starting at noon.
May 14, G.E. Bleskacek Family Memorial Library, Bloomer, Wis., starting at 4 p.m.
May 15, Rice Lake, Wis., Public Library, starting at 5:30 p.m.
June 6, Community Library, Salem, Wis., starting at 10 a.m.
June 11, Northbrook, Ill., Public Library, starting at 5:45 p.m.
June 12, Normal, Ill., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
June 13, Peoria, Ill., Public Library, North Branch, starting at 1 p.m.
June 14, Antioch, Ill., Public Library District, starting at 1:30 p.m. 
July 16, Drummond Island, Mich., Library, starting at 3 p.m.
July 17, Les Cheneaux Community Library, Cedarville., Mich., starting at 2:30 p.m.
July 18, Bayliss Public Library, Sault Ste Marie, Mich., starting at 10 a.m.
July 19, Phelps, Wis., Historical Museum, starting at 1 p.m. at the Big Sand Lake Club.
Aug. 15, Marshalltown, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Aug. 16, Spirit Lake, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 1 p.m.
Aug. 17, Spencer, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
Aug. 18, Keokuk, Iowa, Public Library, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 19, Quincy, Ill., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m. 
Sept. 10, Thomas St. Angelo Public Library, Cumberland, Wis., starting at 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 11, Luck, Wis., Public Library, starting at 4 p.m.
Sept. 19, Brown County Library, Green Bay, Wis., starting at 10 a.m.
Oct. 9, Friday Memorial Library, New Richmond, Wis., starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 10, Woodville, Wis., Historical Society, starting at 10 a.m.
Oct. 17, Muskego, Wis., Public Library, starting at 10 a.m.
Nov. 6, Red Wing, Minn., Area Seniors, starting at 2 p.m.
Nov. 7, Cannon Falls, Minn., Library, starting at 1 p.m. 
Nov. 8, Menomonie, Wis., Public Library, starting at 1 p.m. 

End of 2020 Events ... Thank You.

 Tina Gohr/Door County Advocate

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 each library, historical society or senior community 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.

"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 formerly 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 3 hours. But if 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 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.
Antique and vintage lighting of all kinds.
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.

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; 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.

My pal William and I at a 2018 event in Cannon Falls, Minn.

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) and the host organization ($200). Events with more than 40 items are also possible (and welcome!), using the same revenue-sharing formula, or a separate presenter's fee scale. These rates apply to travel within a 225-mile radius of Iola, Wis. For events farther away, a mileage charge ($.50/mile) 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.

When booking a program, the host receives:

An event agreement outlining all categories for appraisal;

A database for signing up those in attendance;

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

Sample fliers from other programs, and suggestions on promotions.

I am often asked to make house calls when I'm in a town for my events. These can be arranged directly with me in advance, by phone or email, and scheduled around the appraisal 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 location more than 10 miles from the event site, the cost is $.50 per 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. 
Tina M. Gohr Photography

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.

Here's a link to my Roadshow appraisal of Alberto Vargas playing cards.

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 lanyard or clip-on 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.

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 their treasure, 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

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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