Sunday, July 25, 2010

Antiques Roadtrip

Meet the first million-dollar evaluation found at the Antiques Roadshow.

Our experience was somewhat less exciting, but interesting, informative, and entertaining nonetheless. Mike and I set out yesterday for a day trip down to Biloxi, Mississippi, where I had won free tickets in a lottery to participate in a filming of the popular PBS show. The day did not disappoint.

The reality of the Roadshow is very different from our expectations. First, we stood in line for the "triage area," where somebody would look at our stuff and give us a ticket for the next level. Then we would go stand in line outside this complex, behind which they were actually filming:
THEN we would go stand in line within the blue panels where the cameras and lights were set up (don't pick your nose or your underwear!). Then, after a couple of hours, somebody would cursorily look at our stuff and give us a 2-minute chat about it without really telling us anything we didn't already know.

It was a lot like socialized healthcare.

But the real fun was in the Southern experience of chatting with the people who were standing in line around us and having the chance to see their treasures. The day was a grown-up show and tell. We saw everything from porcelain to muskets to a hand-carved coconut shell somebody's great-grandfather made while a prisoner of the Civil War in the Customs House in New Orleans. We heard sordid and juicy stories of love lost and family found. We made new friends and expanded our horizons.

I wonder if it's the same up in New York.

Our first stop was to check out a Marie Hull oil painting of a pot of flowers with a Chinese figurine that Mom loaned me for the trip. That line was relatively short, but the "expert" made up for that with her snootiness, "Ah, another Marie Hull. That's the fourth one I've seen today. I like the ones with birds better...."

I considered showing her a bird of my own.

Then we took Mike's American Indian corn grinding stones to American Artifacts. That evaluator was really very nice, giving us helpful information about how we could find a local artifact association in the same region where the stones were found (Georgia and South Carolina) to better date them and perhaps even tie them to a tribe. Though it's doubtful that we'll do that, it's an idea of which we hadn't thought. He also suggested that we let our child take them to show and tell because they were excellent examples of everyday life of the Indians. And they weren't likely to break.

Next we stood in line for Asian art to have Mike's hand-blown glass net floats checked out. I was excited about meeting Lark Mason, who was very nice, and though Mike's floats weren't worth a lot of money, Lark was intrigued by one that was an oblong shape: he seemed to think it was actually a pastry roller. But Mike corrected him, relating the fact that he found it on the beach of Okinawa, still wound up in its original net. Lark did make the point that they will probably increase in value, as those floats are no longer used and have been replaced with plastic parts.

Last but not least, we stood in line for TWO HOURS to have my KPM porcelain plaque evaluated. Once finally at the front of the line, Mark Moran was nice enough to have a look. He didn't tell me anything about it that I didn't already know, but he was very complimentary, saying that the value of KPM comes from the artistry and beauty of the piece, that one of the figures looked a lot like me, and that it was a remarkably beautiful piece. Toward the end of our conversation, he said it was the "nicest piece he had seen all day," but fortunately he did not want to put me on TV. We were finally able to head home around 4:30 - we had arrived at 11!

Do the math: 5 1/2 hours of standing in line and 6 hours of driving for 8 minutes of evaluations. But you know what? We really enjoyed every minute of it. We were able to meet people that we had watched on TV for years, and now we are intimately familiar with the entire process.

And who knows? Maybe we'll be the people in the background picking our noses when the show airs in January.

Well damn indeed.

Photos courtesy of NYDailyNews, GulfLive.


Anonymous said...

Love that show! Sounds like a good experience. Miss you!



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