As a contributing writer for AuctionBytes-Update, I was lucky enough to attend the PBS "Antiques Roadshow" (officially called Chubb's Antiques Roadshow) last weekend in San Francisco. This was the final stop in the 2003 Roadshow tour. This event will result in three, one-hour episodes to be aired sometime in 2004.
It was a beautiful day in San Francisco, not like the cold, winter summer days Mark Twain wrote about. Upon approaching Moscone Center, the sidewalks were filled with dollies and luggage carts as lucky Roadshow ticket holders "wheeled" their family heirlooms, flea market finds, and thrift store treasures in for appraisal. According to KQED , the host PBS station, 6,000 tickets were issued based on a postcard lottery.
When entering the convention center, KQED staff provided attendees with a summary of event logistics along with some warnings and restrictions. These included a "no item - no entry" and two item rule, as well as a prohibition against buying or selling at the event.
Lines were formed based on six entrance times. Before entering the production area, attendees were given tickets to identify the appropriate appraisal table queue. Between my husband Tom and I, we visited four tables: clocks & watches, collectibles, glass, and arms & militaria.
Clocks & Watches: I brought in a gold, ladies pocket watch purchased in 1997 for around $200. The 1920's Omega watch was appraised at $100. Oh well, it's still a pretty watch and a nice memento from visiting San Diego when my nephew was born.
Collectibles: My second appraisal turned out better. I showed a record album titled "Stephen from the Great Western Tour," to Gary Sohmers from Wex Rex Collectibles http://www.allcollectors.com. Gary's appraisal was between $50-60. Not bad for a $2 thrift store purchase! Per Gary, "Stephen" was a type of cult leader who toured the country with The Farm Band in the early 70's. This item appeals to psychedelic era collectors.
Glass: During a recent trip to Wyoming, Tom shipped to California a stemware glass to take into the Roadshow. He was disappointed that his grandmother's stemware (service of 12) pattern could not be identified. The item was described as some type of Depression glass, valued at $15 per stem. While in line, Tom witnessed one of the Roadshow treasure discoveries with owner and item being whisked away to the "green room" (actually surrounded by blue curtains) to prepare for taping. The item was a Tiffany lamp and shade, 2' in diameter. Tom wasn't sure if the appraisal value was $4 to $6K or $46K. We'll be watching the Roadshow next year to find out for sure.
Firearms & Militaria: Tom's early 1900's English made pistol, with bone handle and Sheffield blade, was appraised at between $1,000 - $1,500. This was one of many items from a 1960's storage locker purchase. The pistol value would have been around $3,000 if a worm hadn't eaten its way through part of the handle. Condition, condition, condition!!
Attending the Antiques Roadshow was a great adventure. It was fun to see the appraisers I recognized from TV. I also caught a glimpse of the new host, Lara Spenser, taping a segment. It was fascinating to watch people in line, holding their treasures, waiting for an appraisal. Every item had a story, and every owner was hoping to hit a jackpot or to learn more about family history.
See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/roadshow for more information on Chubb's Antiques Roadshow.
**Thanks to Tom Shaugnessy of PowerCET Corporation http://www.powercet.com for providing pictures of the event.**