Bernie McManus describes his work as an independent personal property appraiser as each job being “like Christmas morning.” He embarks on every project with wonder and excitement, not knowing what he might find. If he is lucky he will come across a great treasure. He notes that he has come across pieces that one might find in a museum. To have the opportunity to actually touch and hold what would normally be locked behind a glass case is one of the best opportunities he can imagine.
Mr. McManus’ journey to becoming an appraiser seems nothing short of destiny. As a child Mr. McManus recalls the enjoyment of visiting all the, what were then called, “junk shops” in town which was where one would deposit their used possessions for resale. While in high school Mr. McManus went to work for a bank in the computer department. He notes that this was back when computers were merely over glorified giant calculators. Nevertheless, he recalls the job as fascinating, however, one cannot help but notice his recollection and enthusiasm with regard to the architecture and details of the building in which the bank was located. From there he heeded the calling of Uncle Sam and joined the Army acting as an Army Security Agent aka Intelligence. The war brought him to Korea where he spent one year and acquired his love for oriental antiques. When he completed his service he wondered what he would do with his college studies of history. Then while shopping for his parents’ anniversary gift in an antique store all his journeys up to that point seemed to come together. Mr. McManus became the proprietor of his own antique and rare book shop.
For the past nearly 40 years Mr. McManus has enjoyed appraising antiques, fine art and household contents. He explains that a lot of his work comes from attorneys who call him for appraisals of estates or for division of assets. He believes that the best advertising is word of mouth. Therefore, he is conscientious of his reputation and upholds Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice of The Appraisal Foundation of Washington DC, which has been authorized by the US Congress. Additionally, he continues to take seminars offered at institutions such as the Gemological Institute and various museums in order to be assured he is current is his profession as well as to expand his certification whenever possible.
In conjunction with his appraisal practice, Mr. McManus sells real estate out of the Realty Executives office in Woodbury. This just seemed like a natural transition so that he could not only appraise and assist with the sale of contents within the estate, he could also assist with the sale of the house itself. His next goal is to become a certified real estate appraiser, thereby, offering a one stop shopping package to his clients.
Mr. McManus takes time out of his busy schedule to give back to the community as well as offering his expertise to those who are interested in antiques and appraisal. He is an adjunct professor at CW Post College Division of Long Island University where he teaches period and style. He is a founding member, two times past president and current vice president of the Woodbury Business Association. He was also a founding member of the Woodbury Antiques Dealers Association where he coined Woodbury as the Antique Capital of Connecticut, which has since been copyrighted. He has been the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodbury Library, sits on the Board of Directors of the Woodbury Community Services Council, is president of the Board of Directors of the Woodbury Interfaith Elderly Housing Corporation (Spruce Bank Farm), and is treasurer of the Friends of the Woodbury Senior Center. He describes his work for these organizations as challenging and sometimes frustrating, but feels it is important to stay involved, as well as recognizing the advantages of connections acquired through this work.
Mr. McManus’ career has afforded him an existence that he might not have imagined as a young kid peering through the window of a junk shop. He has had the opportunity to meet famous and interesting people, travel to exotic places and handle precious pieces. He finds further enjoyment by indulging in the theatre in his spare time, and admits that he keeps a storage space allocated to those must have pieces that he comes across for his own personal collection.
For further information regarding Bernie McManus contact him at (203) 263-3407 or e-mail him at BFMll@sbcglobal.net.