Joseph Wareikis, of Atlantic City, talks with Richard Cervantes from Freeman's Auctioneers & Appraisers about his knives at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on Saturday. 'What's It Worth' continues today.

Eileen Pegut bought a box of Danish china at an estate sale several months ago, and she learned Saturday that the purchase was well worth the investment.

An appraiser at the “What’s it Worth” event at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort told Pegut two of the pieces each were worth $100 and another piece was worth $50.

Not bad for a box of five items she bought for $25.

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“I did pretty good,” Pegut said of the china, which she also learned was a common pattern bought by tourists.

The event, which began Saturday and runs today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., brought appraisers and experts from Philadelphia auction house Freeman’s to the Taj Mahal. Organizers modeled the free event, which allows visitors to bring up to two pieces for a verbal appraisal, after the PBS show “Antiques Roadshow.”

“Appraisal events have been very popular on TV, so bringing something like this to Trump Taj Mahal brings that experience to life,” said Kathleen McSweeney, Trump Entertainment Resorts senior vice president of marketing.

Freeman’s also brought pieces from several of its upcoming auctions for a display, including two original Bert Stern photographs of the famed last sitting of Marilyn Monroe, a painting by Fairfield Porter and a document signed by Thomas Jefferson.

“This is a way to show (visitors) some of the things we sell at our auctions,” said Tara Theune Davis, Freeman’s senior vice president of marketing. “We brought a little bit of everything.”

About half of the people coming to the event had made a reservation, with others just showing up, Theune Davis said.

Pegut, 32, was drawn to the event from where she lives in Middletown, Monmouth County, because she is a big fan of “Antiques Roadshow.” When she heard an ad on the radio, Pegut said, she decided to come for the weekend.

Joseph Wareikis, of Atlantic City, said he passed ads for the event every time he went to play poker. So he brought two large knives for appraisal. While the appraisers said they were not experts in weapons — Theune Davis said the auction house does not work with weapons such as antique guns, knives or swords — three separate appraisers gave Wareikis’ knives a shot.

One, a Japanese piece in moderate condition was valued at about $400 — Wareikis said he bought the piece more than 40 years ago for $100.

But another knife, with a carved steer handle and a showy silver blade, stumped two appraisers before Wareikis got an answer. The piece, which he bought for $200 from a Delaware County, Pa., mall more than 40 years ago, was worth maybe $100.

Wareikis seemed disappointed because he saw a similar piece appraised much higher on TV. “Oh well,” he said. “I still think it’s worth more.”

Contact Sarah Watson:


@acpresssarah on Twitter

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More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.

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