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'Trash or Treasure' event in Lindenhurst raises money for church charity

Certified Appraiser Eddie Costello takes a close look

Certified Appraiser Eddie Costello takes a close look at a Victorian cheese knife at "Trash or Treasure -- An Antiques Road Show Experience" at Saint Boniface's Episcopal Church in Lindenhurst. (April 14, 2013) Credit: Ursula Moore

Anne Allen’s husband Leonard died seven years ago. He was an avid book collector.

Since his death, Allen wondered about the research books he collected over the years. She was always curious if they had any value.

“My husband never told me how much he spent on the books,” said the 87-year-old Northport resident. “He was a police officer in Manhattan and he was always going into the bookstores there.”

She carried a bag filled with six books, including one called Historical Researches Into Politics, Intercourse and Trade of the Principal Nations of Antiquity by A.H.L. Heeren, originally published in the mid-1800s.

She was pleased when she learned of the books’ value from certified appraiser Eddie Costello -- ranging from $50 to $100 each.

“Now, I have an idea of their worth,” she said. “I don’t want to sell them, I was just curious about the value.”

Costello, of Massapequa Park, evaluated objects and explained worth for hours on Sunday at the third annual “Trash or Treasure – An Antiques Road Show Experience” at Saint Boniface's Episcopal Church in Lindenhurst.

“This event is considered an insurance appraisal and that means if an item is lost, stolen or in a fire, how much will it cost to replace it,” said the 80-year-old appraiser. “The sole purpose of an insurance appraisal is not to sell the item.”

Entry was $15 and all participants were able to get one item appraised. The event raised $600 for the Boniface Episcopal Church Serve Program, which helps returning veterans by providing them with basic necessities such as bottled water, individual sized snacks and drinks, and toiletries.

Boniface church member Debbie Richberg, 62, of West Babylon, thought it would be a great idea to bring the event to the church after seeing how popular it was on television.

“Everybody loves the Antique Roadshow and I love how Eddie explains and dispels a lot of myths about appraisals,” Richberg said. “A lot of people think if they have china in their home, that it is always valuable and many times, that isn’t true.”

Costello said his expertise lies in “everything except currency, coins and stamps.” A retired AT&T executive in Manhattan, Costello admitted he began appraising as a hobby.

“I love it. I have seen it all,” he said. “One time a woman brought in a Tiffany lamp. Her husband was a sanitation worker in Manhattan and he pulled it out of the garbage. It was appraised at $17,000.”

Often examining items with a magnifying glass, Costello found value in quite a few of the 40 items he perused. Linda Bolt, of North Babylon, brought in her daughter-in-law’s hand-cut crystal vase. It was appraised at $100.

“She got it from her grandfather,” Bolt said. “It has been in her family for 30 years.”

The Rev. Paul Lai, of Boniface church, was elated to see all the finds people arrived with at the church.

"This is wonderful. They want to find out if their stuff is trash or treasure,” he said.

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