Spring is a traditional season for getting rid of your old, unused stuff. But it's hard, sometimes, to decide what to keep and what to let go.
If you want to know whether your antique heirlooms and collectible curiosities are authentic or as valuable as you think they are, appraisal expert Henry Rinker will be at the Central Kentucky Home, Garden and Flower Show next weekend.
The former star of HGTV's Collector Inspector series and the current host of the radio call-in show Whatcha Got? will tell attendees about the background and estimated value of two treasures they bring in for no additional cost beyond show admission. (If an object is too large or fragile to be transported, Rinker suggests bringing detailed photographs instead.)
To prevent long lines, numbers will be handed out to those seeking appraisals in order of arrival.
Rinker understands the mind of a collector. When he was growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, he says, relatives would say, "It's too good to throw out" and "I'll never know when I'll need it" while storing household items and furniture in barns and attics. Later, his first apartment was furnished with many of those very things.
An innate curiosity kept him learning about the objects in our lives, studying the material goods of our culture, while amassing a broad expertise and familiarity.
"I love what I do," he says. "By looking at the things people bring in, I get to enjoy Christmas every day. It's like unwrapping and playing with them, but mostly I love the stories attached to them. Objects are inanimate, but the stories make them come alive with dreams and wonder."
This appreciation appears to be catching, as more young people are starting to collect older things, including functional pieces, furniture and art, he said, and there is a renaissance of excitement about these finds.
"They're looking for stuff they grew up with, including music and clothes from their eras, as well as furnishings they remember from their parents' homes," he says.
How can Rinker identify and price items on the spot?
"My brain is my backup," he says.
Having lived through decades filled with these household items and having written many books on collectibles, Rinker moves easily from discussing topics as diverse as the origin of the Shmoo in the Li'l Abner comic strip created by Al Capp in the late 1940s to the upcoming issue of a new postage stamp honoring Charlton Heston.
Rinker is a member of the U.S. Postal Service's Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, which evaluates subjects for new stamp issues. You can find out more about him at his website, Harryrinker.com.
Also at the show, you can find a wide range of exhibitors with ideas to inspire home improvements. Housewarmings builds outdoor spaces that include casual furniture, fountains and outdoor kitchens. Nature's Expressions will present a landscaped display with water features and stonework. And you can find indoor kitchen vignettes from Hager Cabinets.
You can explore the latest trends and services for gardens, landscaping, kitchens, baths, remodeling, flooring, windows, paint, pools, spas and home security.
Have you dreamed of starting an aquarium? Brett Raymer and Wayde King from Animal Planet's Tanked! will share some of their adventures in building custom-designed tanks.
The listings for all of the seminars can be found at CKYhomeshow.com.
Susan Smith-Durisek is a master gardener and writer from Lexington. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog: Gardening.bloginky.com.