Antique Roadshow Comes Town

So every once in awhile you get lucky and win tickets.  Well, this was my time.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  First off,the Antique Roadshow is a Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS) production where people bring out the “treasures and heirlooms” to find value and maybe be on the TV!  Some of you may think the Americans stole one of our shows! Yeah, we did.  But unlike the Idol or “got talent”, it’s a great concept.

So there are several ways to get a ticket, two are legal.  Enter an online drawing, like me.  Or donate about $300 during a telethon.  There are possibly a few who would sell their tickets…but the prices aren’t that high.  About two weeks out an envelope shows up with two tickets.  It’s a moment of shear happiness followed by what do I have of any real value.  Followed by questions of where is this and where is that?  

First thing is head for those family heirlooms.  Butterfly tray from World War II, this has to worth a fortune!  I mean, do you have any idea how many beautiful things got destroyed to make this? Ok maybe they wouldn’t have lived this long anyway.  But in the forties, killing the planet was fine.  So go online and see how rare it really is….damn they made millions of these!!  They are worth $50-$100, really?!  I’m still looking at working apparently.  Now it’s not worth breaking on the way there.

How about a christining gown from 1920?  Special item from a time of homespun things, right?  Well, there was no online ones…our big ticket.  

My Granddad’s pocket watch was another item.  It’s perfectly smooth, no detail case has a sheen of old silver.  And there an old watch chain, boxy links, bronze like color.  I look online only one similar with 12karat gold from 1900.  Maybe we got something between them!

Grandma had a thing called a jelly jar.  Glass dish with a stirrup handle that holds a small spoon.  It looks like depression glass, but then it says “Hong Kong” on the bottom.  I was told it was saved for me.  It might be the most valuable thing she had.  So I was told. There were also little glasses with a man made of several letter “O”.  These were fought over, and I obtained them from my mother when she decided to donate them! No one ever drank from them.  They sat on a shelf at Grandma’s for years.  These were special!  Ok, people we have a problem, online $10 a piece.  

Odd ball stuff.  A China doll from a bar that closed thirty years ago! It old enough to be real silk, new enough to have had a label.  No similar dolls online.  The gown was glued to bamboo base.  Her fan was embroidered.  But her neck was broke.  So she was a back up plan.  Carried in a box that once held detonators for dynamite.  The box was from the 1930’s.  

I put my treasures in said box.  My wife and I can get two appraisals each.  So Time to get in line.  The idea of free appraisals and a chance at TV is a popular thing.  


Cleveland has a new convention center. Its a big flat building with a nice shiny glass front. Like a box with a glass entrance. Inside are happy people. You have a time, like 1PM, 2PM, etc.

The line is typical cattle gates that snake you across a concrete floor. Now everyone has two items. You would think if a packed up this junk, treasures, I’d want someone ti see then right? I stuck up a conversion wuth a gentleman from Cincinnati. He had a silver serving dish and a nineteenth century German painting with no signature. I talked to a dozen people, only Teri talked about what they had. The rest wanted to know why the long lines were long. And a couple noticed me with a box that said “blasting caps” and wanted to know if it was empty. They appraise guns here, so the Kentucky long rifle was a little more intimidating then an empty box.

So long lines are because they gave you tickets for the appraisals. As you can see at the top, I had four lines to wait in. Each carefully guarded by a ticket puncher. I guess if I tried to sneak in twice for the same watch the value would change.


Once you have your ticket, you pick a line. There are ten different ones. They are like squid arms coming out of a square box of light. Ok think divine crustacean with long whiplike arms of people. Once your part of the arm is moved into the box. Several tables line the outside of the box. Behind each table is three or four experts to appraise your treasure. Sometimes they open up the internet and Google search. Other times they give explanations of what you have. And a value if it was sold in an antique shop. I even have a somewhat in focus estimate of a banjo taking place. It’s an illegal pic. But taken from Outside the of limit photo area.


So the gown was estimated at $75, but it assembled from pieces that were sold at a normal sure imported from Ireland. Some was hand sewn. The top was punched fabric and they sewed the holes like button holes but left round. The watch was worth $125 but ti fix it $125! The jelly jar was $20, sold at Kmart back in 1960’s. But the Kmart bag that was twenty plus years old was what we carried the gown in. The store is rare in some parts. But at least I’m not loading furniture back in car like sine people.

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