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Hidden Treasures Event Returns to Pittsburgh

Treasures aren’t always strings of pearls or gold doubloons — sometimes, they’re toilets.

1,500 people are expected to attend the sixth annual “Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures” event at the Heinz History Center Sunday.

Visitors can bring up to two items and to be examined by a team of more than 40 appraisers, including experts from Christie’s, the world’s largest fine art auction house. The appraisers will evaluate the historical importance and possible monetary worth of the items.

Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center, said almost anything of value can be appraised.

“We’ve had people bring everything from porcelain toilets made here in Pittsburgh before the turn of the century to impressionist paintings worth $150,000,” he said. “There’s artwork, there’s militaria, there’s all kinds of manuscripts and books.”

Professional conservators from the History Center and the Smithsonian Institution will also be on hand to offer tips and tricks on how to preserve antiques and heirlooms.

“You can learn so much just by looking at an object and reading it like a book,” Masich said. “Sometimes the oral history, the family tradition fills in the voids in our historical items. For me, it’s all about the history, not so much the price tag.”

Maisch said the city is rich with historical items and interesting information.

“Pittsburghers love to discover hidden stories,” he said. “And that’s what we find at Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures, that there’s a story behind everything every object — a story that reveals something interesting about our neighbors.”

The Hidden Treasures event is free for museum members and is included in the price of admission for non-members.

And by the way, all items must be able to fit through the museum door and carried by their owner.

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."