Elyse Luray is a professional appraiser who began her career at Christie's fine art auction house and moved on to your TV set as a personality on Antiques Roadshow, HGTV's Endless Yard Sale, and PBS's popular History Detectives, which just completed its seventh season. It's her job to take a seemingly worthless object and do the homework it takes to identify it as a treasure, either in financial terms or for the story it has to tell.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Jason Cochran, WalletPop's editor-at-large, Luray explains the hard work of determining the provenance of your possessions, which is the first step to determining their value. She also goes into depth about how the production team behind History Detectives turns such research into gripping TV entertainment.
So what's happening to the antiques market in the recession? More to the point, what can you do to investigate the hidden stories behind your belongings without a PBS film crew, and will knowing those stories necessarily help you fetch more money for them when they go to market? Can the average person be their own History Detective and do the legwork necessary to reveal the tale behind the stuff in their attic, and is the economy making that more difficult to do?
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