One of my favorite shows I produced a handful of times while working with Maury Povich was called “Found Money” – stories of people who came to own extraordinarily valuable items in unusual ways.

How much is this oil painting by John Wayne Gacy worth?

Last year, I told you about a man who found one of the world’s first flat maps at a Salvation Army, worth tens of millions of dollars.

Another gentleman we featured bought a beat up trunk for $20 at a New York City flea market filled with costumes and textiles.  When Joe Betesh took the trunk home, he found three notebooks at the bottom of the box.

Reading through the books and with a little research he realized he owned the diaries of Madonna’s best friend in the early 1980’s, Marty Burgurne.  In the books, in-between the personal and very salacious details about his adventures with Madonna, were the lyrics for the song “Everybody,” choreography for the superstar’s first music video, “Holiday” and other amazing pieces of music history.

The beat-up notebooks eventually sold for around $400,000 after Madonna declined to purchase them.

What do you have in your trunk?  Coastal Habitat for Humanity’s resale store, the ReStore, has gathered some of the foremost regionally recognized antique and collectable experts – with 130 years of total industry experience – for “It’s Worth What!” an antique and collectable appraisal event.

The event offers you an opportunity to learn the value of “that piece you have been wondering about.”

I spoke with one of the wonderful experts who will be on-hand for the event, Rose Myer, owner of Shore Antiques Center in Allenhurst and 20-year veteran of the fine art and antique world.

Chris and Rose Myer, Shore Antiques Center in Allenhurst

TBP:  So what’s hot right now in the world of collectibles?

Rose:  The major trend right now is metals.  Sterling silver is $35 an ounce and people are finding out what the value is of pieces that have been sitting around for decades.

TBP:  How has the collectable business changed over the past twenty years you have been in it?

Rose:  Today, buyers are looking into the more recent past like the mid-century.  Early pieces related to cartoons, fast food, amusement parks.  In many ways these items have become as important as handmade rugs and Victorian chairs.  The new generation is bringing their own nostalgia and interest into the market.

TBP:  How does something “get appraised”?  Should I book my flight to Saint Bart’s now or wait until you actually look at the painting I want you to tell me will fetch one million bucks?

Rose:  When people call me for an appraisal I ask them to bring anything associated with the piece regardless how small or insignificant.  Then, I start by looking at the biggies – size, origin, condition – and go down the list from there.  After that, I start splitting hairs, like was it made in 1864 or 65.

There are so many variables that affect an item’s value that can surprise the average person.  So many cultural distinctions to many different audiences that equal value.  It’s really worth the time an effort to bring your piece to this event and find out what something is worth.

TBP:  And you have gathered six talented experts that cover every sub-sector of the industry:  Ken and Tara from Ken’s Antiques, Jack Schwartz, Lori Zimmerman, Chris Myer and yourself.

You say that your experts “love to be stumped”.  Anyone who stumps an expert will win a prize at the ReStore event.

“It’s Worth What!” Appraisal Event at the ReStore, 917 Third Ave, Asbury Park.  Friday, June 17, 6 pm to 9 pm. $15 for two appraisals.  Refreshments and prizes for “stumping the experts.”