Is it trash or treasure?

Burton E. Moore III, director of The Audubon Gallery, talks Tuesday about how to restore original J.J. Audubon artwork at his gallery on King Street. The Audubon works seen here are 'Great Tern' and 'White-Headed Eagle.'

The Antiques Roadshow had given the Kentucky couple bad news: Their old print was not an original Audubon — too small.

But when they took it to the Audubon Gallery on King Street, the guys took the print out of the frame and found that its expansive border had just been folded to allow it to fit in a smaller frame.

The upshot: it was real, and worth about $18,000.

"It took us a while to convince them," Burton E. Moore III, director of the Audubon Gallery recalls, "because they had been told it wasn't."

On Saturday, the gallery is holding a print appraisal fair to deliver what could be more good news to local folks who have always wondered if that old painting, print or photograph is real, or just a dime-store copy.

Moore, and Joel Oppenheimer, co-owner of the gallery and another in Chicago, will be on hand to give people appraisals on paintings, sporting arts, heirloom documents and photographs. And they will offer estimates on restoring family treasures, a process they always do for free, but one that usually takes weeks and involves shipping the art to Chicago.

It's an offer likely to prove popular around here. Lois Howard, co-owner of Charleston Antique Mall, says there is no shortage of folks in town who are trying to determine the value of their family treasures. "We get it all the time," Howard said. "Everybody wants to know what something's worth."

For Moore, the idea of inviting people in for immediate appraisals is more than good business. It's kind of fun, like prowling through a flea market looking for lost treasures. Open the doors, and there's no telling what rarity might get carried in.

"You never know what's in grandma's attic," he said.

Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or bhicks@post