New Orleans Appraiser Brings End to Dispute Over Robert Penn Warren House, Sending Contents to Auction

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David J. Goldberg, President of the Appraisal Group USA, valued the contents of the Robert Penn Warren House in Prairieville, LA, at more than $200,000. The antiques and fine art are part of a 3-day auction starting Friday, September 11th at Crescent City Auction Gallery.

David J. Goldberg at work appraising

"It is often the appraiser's job to help bring swift resolution to legal disputes where the parties cannot agree." - David J. Goldberg

In a move that amplifies the role of the appraiser, David J. Goldberg,President of the Appraisal Group USA, expedited the resolution of a 7-year legal battle over the historic contents of a famous mansion with Pulitzer Prize winning ties. More than 300 antiques and works of art from Twin Oaks in Pairieville, LA - better known as the Robert Penn Warren House - are featured in a 3-day auction that begins Friday, September 11th at Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans.

Mr. Goldberg, a noted antiques and arts appraiser with a reputation for surfacing antiques and art treasures with a market values as high as $1.1M, explained. “It is often the job of an appraiser to help settle disputes over personal property when parties cannot agree. In this case, I was able to bring a conclusion to a long and expensive process.”

In the spring of 2015, Mr. Goldberg was asked by attorneys for his professional opinion on the antiques and art in Twin Oaks. It was his opinion that the properties be valued and sold. He appraised more than 1,200 antiques and works of art purchased by the most recent owners, bringing in a fair market value of about $200,000.

“The real issue, he said, "was finding a venue where they could achieve a price that was commensurate with value and somewhat related to the price paid. “

He called upon Adam Lambert, President of Crescent City Auction Gallery, one of New Orleans’ finest houses. Mr. Lambert’s first impression was, “You don’t see estates like this any more; maybe once every ten years, at best. The people who lived there were true collectors.”

Twin Oaks was built in the late 19th century by a German cypress baron. It is surrounded by twenty-five live oaks that are hundreds of years old. Robert Penn Warren, the Pulitizer Prize winning author and poet lived there while writing the best selling novel “All the King’s Men.” Mr. Warren, however, never owned Twin Oaks.

The contents of Twin Oaks will be sold in an auction that includes items descended in the family of Paul Capedeville, Mayor of New Orleans 1900-1904. They will account for about a quarter of the anticipated $1.2 million auction gross.

With its future now more secure than it has been in nearly a decade, the sale of the contents may well close this chapter of Twin Oaks' story. As for David J. Goldberg, he will attend the sale at Crescent City Auctions just as he has attended sales of his successful appraisals at Coeur d’Alene in Idaho where a previously mis-valued painting by Albert Bierstadt commanded $107,000 for its owner and just as he did at Sotheby’s in December 2014 when a client’s long-unnoticed French art deco desk and chair made $1.1 million.

Crescent City Auction Gallery is located at 1330 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans. The contents of the Robert Penn Warren House can viewed at

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Gina Kolbe
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