Appraiser shows how to tell valuable from the old |

Appraiser shows how to tell valuable from the old

Jo Rafferty
Nevada Appeal News Service

Shannon Litz/Appeal News Service Dee Perino has lots of books about antiques for her appraisal business in Cheshire Antiques in Gardnerville. Perino's latest venture is teaching Saturday classes. The class, on how to be an antique detective, is designed to keep people from getting ripped off.

As a child, Dee Perino collected many types of memorabilia. After college and working as a psychiatric nurse, Perino decided to go back to her first love.

For the last 26 years she has been both an antique store owner and an appraiser.

Perino’s latest venture is teaching Saturday classes at Gardnerville’s Cheshire Antiques, where she has set up an appraisal office. The class, on how to be an antique detective, is designed to keep people from getting ripped off.

“If you like the looks and it pleases you and goes with your interior, why not?” asked Perino. “Just so you know that’s what it is.”

Topics to be covered are: Everything you need to know about pressed and cut glass, art glass, exploring the field of ceramics, in-depth with pottery and exploring avenues of types of porcelain – but Perino said she’s open for suggestions.

“I ask (the students), ‘What do you want to know?’ I’ll give a class on it,” said Perino.

Recommended Stories For You

To make it easier for students, Perino’s classes have no tests and students don’t take notes. She gives handouts that supply the same information she teaches.

Perino has taught antique classes at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The walls of Perino’s office at the back of the store are lined with bookshelves containing Perino’s collection of books on antiques. Pictures of family and articles about her business hang on the walls behind her. Her wooden front door with beveled glass has been on every office she’s had since she left Peoria, where she owned the antique store, “Abe’s Old Hat,” for 20 years.

Perino has a long list of accomplishments. She is a freelance writer for Antique Trader, Antique Journal, Spinning Wheel and other antique publications. She was an antique appraiser for the Illinois Antique Center for 10 years. She conducts appraisal clinics for museums, libraries, historical societies and others. She has been a member of the Appraisers Association of America since 1972, and a member of the International Society of Appraisers since 1990. She was listed in the “Who’s Who” in art and antiques since 1972. She was also an appraiser for Caterpillar Tractor Company in Illinois for 10 years. She is a registered nurse by profession with a post graduate in psychiatry.

After being asked many questions about antiques over the years, Perino saw the need for classes. She enjoys helping others and saving them money, sometimes thousands, by letting them know if antiques are real or copies. She brings examples to her classes to show her students what to look for.

“It’s just a learning experience,” said Perino. “If you’re out there buying antiques, I can help you avoid some of the mistakes.”

Perino said the process of learning about antiques is never ending.

“I continue to learn,” she said. “It’s just something you can’t master.”

Since Perino became an appraiser she is no longer in the antique buying-and-selling business. She said she feels this is a conflict of interest, since she is usually the one telling people how much their items are worth.

“I don’t feel comfortable buying and selling antiques,” said Perino. “You’re the expert, and they don’t know.”

Perino cited an example of how much a good appraiser can save someone.

When she moved from Las Vegas to her historic house in Carson City earlier this year, one of the movers had dropped her antique “Gone With the Wind” lamp. The moving company insisted that the lamp was a whale oil lamp, and offered her $485 to cover its replacement. Perino researched it and presented the insurance company with evidence that it was indeed a lamp named for the 1939 movie. Although she said it was worth more, she accepted a check for $1,200 to cover the cost of the lamp.

Since Perino was 4 years old she has collected everything from Lincoln memorabilia, to signed first-edition books by authors like Pearl Buck and Carl Sandburg. Her latest endeavor is collecting Nevada first editions pertaining to mining.

“Sometimes the information is better, more detailed, in some of these old books,” said Perino.

Perino’s antique classes will take place 9:30-11 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 10 through Oct. 8. The cost is $48. To register, call Perino at 782-6640 in Gardnerville, or (775) 884-4132 in Carson City.

She is available for appraisals 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Cheshire Antiques, 1423 Highway 395, across from Sharkey’s Casino, in Gardnerville. Other days she gives appraisals by appointment in Carson City.

She offers a free appraisal clinic the first Tuesday of every month. Customers can bring two items, and should call Cheshire Antiques, 782-9117, at least a day in advance to be placed on the list.

If you go

What: Antique classes

When: 9:30-11 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 10 through Oct. 8.

Where: Cheshire Antiques, 1423 Highway 395, across from Sharkey’s Casino, in Gardnerville.

Cost: $48

Call: Perino at 884-4132 in Carson City or 782-6640 in Gardnerville to register.

– Contact reporter Jo Rafferty at or 782-5121, ext. 213.