After spending several weekends in a row traveling for work, it was a welcome break to travel to Georgia for a special outing with Mom. She had entered a ticket lottery and picked up two tickets for the Antiques Roadshow in Atlanta, making all our friends extremely jealous. Cool right?
We’ve watched Antiques Roadshow for years, and obviously, all the most expensive items appear on the TV show. Really, we should have known better. The whole reason Mom ever wanted to go was because of the typewriter desk she has. It’s big and beautiful with a rolltop “door,” three drawers at the bottom, and a pull out tray to set the typewriter on when it’s in use. I can remember this desk sitting in the corner of various rooms in every house we’ve lived in. For a long time, Mom didn’t even know what it was until one day she got the Google search right. With these tickets, we finally had the opportunity to learn a little more about this piece, but it suddenly looked a lot bigger once it was strapped onto the dolly. Cringing at the thought of carting the thing around, we decided against bringing the desk, opting to bring smaller things around the house that we were interested in learning about, believing we’d have more fun with less to carry.
I guess we thought there would be tables of cool stuff to look at and the appraisers would have lots of interesting things to say about the pieces we brought. Not so.
Upon arrival to Roadshow we stood in a long, long line for 2 hours, oogling the cool stuff within our range and rolling eyes at the annoying couple standing behind us. The dude was the kind of guy that thought sarcastic jokes about anything and everything made him look cool and funny, but after 2 hours, it really just made him look like an ass. We pondered a good accidental gig to the stomach with a runaway elbow or a stray stomp to his big toe.
Anyway, after making it through the master line, we were directed, based on the items we had with us, to stand in one or more of 22 other lines. We headed to the pottery/porcelain line first since we had two such items. Of course, the pottery/porcelain line was one of the longest in the room. The painting/drawing line was the longest of all. Unless you think you’ve got an original Mona Lisa in your possession, don’t ever bring a painting to the Roadshow.
So we stand in each line to make it to the great “inner circle” where the appraisers sit and wait to ooh and ah at your treasures, or scoff at the cheap crap you thought was special. This inner circle is also where the show is filmed. But you’re shoveled in and out of there so fast you don’t really get to see much of the stuff, much less watch any of the filming. And for god’s sake don’t step on the forbidden blue film set carpet!!
Our appraiser in the pottery/porcelain line thought our snow-white naked hat pin holder lady was “very pretty,” but he informed us it wasn’t actually a hat pin holder, more likely a straight pin holder. Mom’s kept hat pins in her for years, and being that the saleswoman at the antique store where she was purchased assured her the naked hat pin lady was “a real treasure,” we were a little surprised to find she was only worth $5-$10 bones. The two painted moose-head pitchers packed a similar punch. One looked like a knock-off of the other. He said they were “in the same family” (uhh, duh) and only worth $15-$20 apiece.
On to the Glass line. The most stunning piece we brought was a fluted, hand-painted pitcher and matching drinking glass from which my Great-Great Grandfather presumably drank his beer. The Roadshow gods must have been annoyed we left the typewriter desk at home, because we got “Cranky Guy” as our appraiser in the glass line. He snatched that sparkling pitcher from my mom’s fingers and said “Well it’s Victorian.” Gesturing to her other hand he sneered, “and what have you got there?”
Mom: “The matching glass.”
Cranky Guy: “It’s probably $100-$150.”
Looking away from us disinterested, Mom persisted “How old is it?” Cranky Guy: “About 100 years old.” Next! And that was it. Mean ol’ Cranky Guy.
On to the final line, the Toy line. I had brought my Great-Grandfather Alfred’s hand-rolled clay marbles he played with as a child. The toy line only had one appraiser, Noel, who is a favorite personality from the show. We stood in Noel’s line for some time because he had become totally enthralled with a child’s piano. But Noel liked my marbles. The lady before me had marbles too, but they were the common kind you can get out of a 25 cent prize machine at Applebee’s. I grinned when I stepped up, saying, “I brought marbles too.”
Noel: “Now, these are actually old. Probably 110-120 years old. I always like it when people bring in marbles, because I lost mine a long time ago.”
Haha, yes, Noel, you are much better than Cranky Guy. The marbles weren’t very expensive, maybe a dollar apiece, and I had fourteen of them.
In grand total, we walked out with an optimistic $214 value for our whole collection. Save Cranky Guy, we learned a little bit about the stuff we brought, but we basically did Roadshow wrong. The point is to find out how much money the item in your hot little hands is worth, not learn interesting historical info about it. Mr. Noel summed it up well when he said to me: “It’s not about old, it’s about value.”
Fair enough, Roadshow. You’re on! We’re going to enter every freaking ticket lottery we find (within a distance we are willing to travel). We’re going to haul in that damn keyboard desk, we’ll stand in your organized lines, and we’ll show Cranky Guy what’s what!!
At any rate, we had a good time, and we really like the items we brought in, which now we know a tiny bit more about. The show airs early next year, so watch for us in the background!