So, as this is my blog, nothing is really "off-topic", but this is probably the most OT thing I've ever shared here. My wife is a big fan of Antiques Roadshow. I enjoy watching it too, although it isn't something I mind her watching without me. A month or so ago she discovered they were doing a taping in Baton Rouge (about an hour or so away from us) and she decided to get tickets. Here's what I experienced.

First off, tickets to Antiques Roadshow are typically only available in a lottery. We found out that eight thousand people signed up for the lottery and only two thousand pairs of tickets were given out. My wife, being the typically smart person she is, went for a VIP option they offered which gave us access to a cocktail party the night before and guaranteed tickets to the event. I'm not really a cocktail party kinda guy but it was a nice event and we got some great information about the show, how the process the next day would work, and had a chance for Q and A with the producer. (Or director. I forget.) Anyway, it gave me a chance to dress up which I don't do often. ;)

My wife and I...

On the day of the event, we showed up around 10 AM. It opened earlier that day, but typically folks come in, get their stuff appraised, and don't really hang out. (At least that's what we did.) You are responsible for handling your own stuff, so you'll see a lot of carts and folks trucking out large paintings, furniture, etc. Our items (more on them in a sec) were pretty small so we used a cart to carry them plus some foldable chairs.

You start off in triage where you describe/show your items and are given a piece of paper that tells you what category your item fits in. These categories range from stuff like jewelry, watches, paintings, toys, sports, etc.

Triage tent.

Once you have your items categorized, you then enter the event properly. The taping was at the incredibly lovely LSU Rural Life Museum and held along a tree-covered path. That along with the unusually nice weather we had made for a great day.

Shot of the path

At this point, you find the area for the category of the item you wish to appraise first and get in line. The lines were mostly not too bad. For three of our items, it was less than a ten-minute wait. For one item it was a good hour and a half. The actual process is fairly quick. The night before at the cocktail party it was explained as such.

  • The appraiser will tell you about your item.
  • They will give you an approximate value.
  • If the appraiser thinks your item is cool, they'll flag an Antiques Roadshow production person.
  • If that person thinks your item is cool, then you get brought over for an in-depth review on camera.

Here's a shot from our first appraisal:

Appraiser looking at our item.

So, did we have something worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Not even close. ;) We appraised four things that I'll do a horrible job describing:

  • The first was a painting from my wife's grandmother. The appraiser was able to identify the artist and we've reached out to them via email to confirm. The estimated value was up to 500 dollars.
  • The second item was a small wooden box. It was roughly a hundred years old, maybe worth three to four hundred dollars. We weren't able to find out who manufactured it though.
  • The next item was some decorative eggs. The appraiser had a good laugh and said they were basically worthless unless sold together as a collection.
  • And lastly, an opal ring from the 70s. Or so we thought. It turned out to be a "fopal", or fake opal. Technically a thin slice of opal with some glass and a colored backing to make it look like a full opal stone. It was worth maybe a hundred dollars, but we both had a great laugh at that.

One of the best things though was just seeing all the stuff other folks brought. Everyone was open to talking about their items and we saw some really cool stuff there. None of our stuff "made the cut" for an on-air in-depth review, but we enjoyed it tremendously. We did do the parting shots video (that's not the real name I believe) so there's a chance we'll make the show when it airs (which won't be till next year).

It was absolutely a cool experience and I definitely recommend it to others if you have the chance!

Photo by sue hughes on Unsplash