Sunday, July 11, 2010

Antiques Roadshow


I was at the Antiques Roadshow yesterday, when they visited Miami Beach.  I'd gotten the tickets in their online ticket lottery a few months ago, and couldn't believe how lucky I was to get them.  After all, I'd been watching the show for years, like a lot of other people, and I'm definitely a fan.

I had never wanted to go to a TV show taping before, but this is different.  Like everyone else in America, I have treasures that I believe might be worth considerably more than I paid for them.  And, no hope is more ardent than that of the person who wishes to be on camera staring incredulously at the appraiser, as he tells her that her doodad is worth hundreds of thousands ("and I only paid $50 for it ten years ago!").

So, off I  went with the reluctant Roger.  We had a solid hour's drive to get there, then the presumed hassle of parking, etc. etc.  Well, despite the horrors of driving down here (and of course, we ran into two bad accidents on the way there), we made it on time, and got to park in the lot literally right in front of the Convention Center.  But once inside, the line(s) was treacherous.  Not being one of those people who habitually gets in lines to wait hours (days...) for things like those who are crazy about a new electronic gadget or who want the "ungetable" concert ticket, I was woefully unprepared for what awaited us.

First, a horribly long line to be seen by a generalist who sees your things and determines which appraisers should see your items.  Appropriate tickets are given for individual experts (Militaria, Jewelry, Paintings, Books, Textiles, etc.).  You then get in line to see the appropriate appraiser(s).  It is perhaps no surprise that the majority of people there had paintings with them - or posters - or antique maps - or etchings - or prints.  These were the longest lines.

The books appraiser had no one.  I showed her my 1880 French book and was unhappy to hear her say that she could find no mention of it in her search - although the author she did find.  Before going to the show, I had done a quick Google search myself and found the author and this book....That was a disappointment, I must say; she hadn't tried very hard...

Next, I got in line at the "Textiles" desk where I'd been told to take my vintage costume jewelry piece (don't ask).  When the appraiser saw me, she said "what, costume jewelry?"  Then she proceeded to ask me what I knew about the piece - much in the fashion of a bad "fortune" teller....She knew nothing about it and parroted back what I'd told her. More disappointment.

Then back went Roger and I to the line for paintings.  It was horrible.  In conversation with the two gentlemen front and back of me, I could tell that I wasn't the only one who was discouraged by the wait.... we'd now been there a few hours,  inching our way from line to line, but I couldn't stand any longer.

I reluctantly told Roger we should go.  My so-called treasures would have to wait for another day for an appraisal.  So close and yet so far.  I estimate that I would have gotten to see the appraiser in about two more hours' time...and that was just too long to wait.

Oh, and Mark Walberg, the host of Antiques Roadshow?  There he was standing quite close to us and being taped amongst the crowd.  He looked very nice, well-groomed, and slight.  He smiled, made eye-contact, and seemed like a very nice fellow.  The production people all around were busy bees and you can tell they work hard at all the behind-the-scenes details that make the show a success.

I can't wait to the Miami Beach show when it airs next year.  Perhaps I'll catch a glimpse of Roger and me looking befuddled and tired.

'Til next time.

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