Recently in Minneapolis, MN, a Superman comic book was discovered in wall insulation of a home. It sold for only $175,000. Only $175,00, you ask? Yes, only $175,000 because the rare comic book that the family discovered was Action Comics No. 1featuring the super hero’s first appearance and that comic book typically sells for over $2 million. Why did the comic book which had been hiding for more than 70 years inside a wall only bring $175,000? The easy answer is because the family members were fighting over it and during the fight one of them ripped the cover off of the highly valuable collectible. The owner tore the cover of the comic book during a fight with his wife’s aunt. Fighting over objects–art, antiques, heirlooms, collectibles–is common. Poor condition reduces value. The owner found it among insulation in a house that he was cleaning out. Thus, the condition of the comic book was downgraded to a 1.5 on a 10 point scale. The same comic book, Action Comics No. 1, in excellent condition rating a 9 on the 10 point scale by appraisers, brought home $2.1 million in 2011. There are less than 100 known copies of Action Comics No. 1 which was published in 1938.
All over the country, for decades, I help families settle disputes over valuable art, antiques, and collectibles in their homes. I deal with know-it-all brothers in law, nervous aunts, fighting sisters, nosey neighbors, business partners, and the list goes on. People who are cleaning out houses of deceased relatives or trying to figure out how to save a dying antiques or auction business are regularly faced with the issue of figuring out what items—everything from artwork to furniture and jewelry to china—are really worth in the market.
Both sides have their own opinions about what’s valuable and what’s not. People disagree—loudly—over how to get the money out of an heirloom. I have watched 50 year old sisters come to blows over a $10 ceramic cow creamer that they both contend was promised to them in their aunt’s will. I have watched brothers climb atop a barn in the blinding snow to retrieve a weathervane that might be valuable. I have refereed screaming matches between business partners who don’t realize that the financial problems of their resale business was based on something neither of them thought about–until I showed up. And, that is only the beginning of the arguments that I have seen.
Long established family feuds flair up during times of turmoil. I am there to stop the madness. As an appraiser and an expert, I am skilled in how to deal with the real problems, settle the disputes and appraise the valuables. I move the family through the junk, emphasize the real antiques and valuable objects and take on the personal and emotional issues.
I have been conducting in home appraisals for nearly 20 years. I shared the necessary tools with families, co-workers, museum professionals, auction house owners, and others in order to find the money and keep the peace. If you want to know what your items are worth, consider an in-home or in-business appraisal with me. Call me for a house call… the Appraisal Doctor!
Award-winning TV personality and Ph.D. antiques appraiser from Discovery channel, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events and conducts appraisal visits worldwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Auction Kings on Discovery channel. Visit DrLoriV.com, Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.