Based on the popular BBC series running since 1979, the PBS Antiques Roadshow combines history with discovery. Each year, the show visits a handful of cities to appraise items brought in by viewers. Are these items worth a lot of money, more than the visitors expect? To be fair, this concept has been copied again since, with East Tennessee Public Television's Treasures In Your Attic, but WGBH/Boston, always the pioneer PBS station, will say their derivative came first.
Items appraised in Albuquerque (Part 1 of three) include an 1870s Navajo blanket and a marble lion from Tang Dynasty China (6th-9th centuries) that leaves appraiser Lark Mason Jr. choked up, but not speechless. "It's fantastic," he marvels. "It's among the finest examples of Chinese art I have ever seen on the 'Roadshow'." Also: host Dan Elias explores attractions along the "Turquoise Trail" between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Part 2. Items appraised in Albuquerque include a Revolutionary War-era canteen and a diary account of the war written by an ancester of the diary's owner; and a 1908 illustration by British children's book illustrator Arthur Rackham. Also: host Dan Elias visits New Mexico's Petroglyph National Park, where he finds 3000-year-old Pueblo carvings, and Ghost Ranch, near Albuquerque, where he examines dinosaur fossils.
Conclusion. Appraisals in Albuquerque include portrait miniatures with cases and engravings designed by Paul Revere; a 19th-century New England grandfather clock; and two landscapes by Hudson River School painter James Hope (1819-92). Also: host Dan Elias tours Albuquerque's Old Town.
A three-episode stint in Seattle begins. Items appraised include a 17th-century Japanese tea urn, an acetate of a recording by Seattle native Jimi Hendrix, an 1819 book its owner found in a dumpster and a baseball autographed by the 1951 New York Yankees. However, a non-Yankee also signed it and that normally decreases value "dramatically," says appraiser Simeon Lipman. But the non-Yankee was Marilyn Monroe, who, says Lipman, "is the exception to the rule." Also: host Dan Elias visits architect Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project museum.
Appraised in Seattle (Part 2): a lithograph of the famous 1949 Tom Kelly nude photo of Marilyn Monroe, inscribed by Monroe to the owner's father, who assisted Kelly during the photo session; a print depicting the Civil War prison at Andersonville, Ga., drawn by a prisoner; a complete set of Snow White and the Seven Drwarfs figurines; an 1820s clarinet; a landscape painted by Kansas artist artist Birger Sandzen (1871-1954), who was known as "the American Van Gogh"; and a set of autographed Babe Ruth photos. Also: a visit to the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art in Bellevue, Wash. Dan Elias hosts.
Conclusion. Items appraised at the Seattle Convention and Trade Center include a pair of Federal-era chairs attributed to Salem, Mass., cabinetmaker Samuel McIntyre; a vase fashioned by arts-and-crafts potter Fred Walrath (1871-1921); and objects from the squadron of pilot Jimmy Doolittle. Also: host Dan Elias visits the Center for Wooden Boats on Seattle's Lake Union.
A three-episode stint in Cleveland begins with a thumbnail history of the city, a tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a sampling of Civil War photos at the Western Reserve Historical Society. Items appraised at the Cleveland Convention Center include a sideboard and table from a house on Cleveland's "Millionaires Row," a watercolor of the city in 1851, a pair of 18th-century Scottish pistols, a gilded dance card from a 1909 ball, a birdwatching telescope made by Queen Victoria's opticians and a mesh purse embroidered with a portrait of Charlie Chaplin. It is, says appraiser Caroline Ashleigh, "the Rolls-Royce of beaded bags."
Appraised in Cleveland (Part 2 of three): an original framed photograph of the Goodyear blimp U.S.S. Akron's 1931 maiden voyage; an 18th-century maple tilt-top table; and glass and tiles from the Louis C. Tiffany estate in Oyster Bay, L.I. Also: host Dan Elias visits Lakeview Cemetary, which overlooks downtown Cleveland.
A three-week sojourn in Cleveland concludes. Items appraised range from a 1940 Roy Rogers movie poster (for "Young Buffalo Bill") to a Jacobean-style cupboard that was once owned by Ohio politico Mark Hanna, the "President maker" behind William McKinley. Then there's an item a woman bought for 50 cents. "We didn't know what it was," she admits to host Dan Elias. It turns out to be a clock to time racing homing pigeons, and it dates from 1902. Elias also visits Cleveland's Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum (Cleveland rivaled Detroit as an early automotive center), and appraisers Leigh and Leslie Keno trace the history of the Chevrolet Corvette.
Appraisers at the Kansas City Convention Center encounter a vase made for the Imperial household of China between 1736 and 1795; a wild collection of memorabilia, including a T-shirt with bullet holes, documenting the life and antics of Beat Generation writer William Burroughs; and an 1880s Pennsylvania dry sink, made of poplar and decorated with a fantastic painted-grain finish, estimated to be worth $8,000.
Part. 2. Appraised in Kansas City, Mo: A Czech blown-glass grape-arbor chandelier; a Dopey (from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs") animation cell autographed by Walt Disney; a gold box inset with diamonds and inscribed with the name of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico; and a Federal-period gaming table. Also: host Dan Elias relates the story of the Missouri River steamboat Arabia, which sank in 1856. It was found in 1988---a half-mile from where the Missouri flows today.
Items appraised in Kansas City (conclusion) include a 19th-century fish tank, a 1799 Italian majolica jug, an English stopwatch made by the same clockmaker who made Big Ben and a late 19th-century pressed-tin Coca-Cola advertising sign that proclaims "specific for headache." Then there's a gold-plated Roy Rogers holster set that was awarded to its owner as third prize in a 1957 write-in contest. She was disappointed that she didn't win the grand prize: a pony. But, as appraiser Noel Barrett tells her: "If you'd gotten the pony we wouldn't be here now."
Items appraised on the first of three programs from Hot Springs, Ark., range from a 19th-century Comanche cradle and an unfinished manuscript from Mark Twain's "Among the Indians" to two sets of Ringo Starr drumsticks and an 1868 marble relief by sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer. Then there's an old Playboy magazine---no, not that Playboy but a serious art magazine from the 1920s. Also: host Dan Elias offers a thumbnail history of Hot Springs, then takes the waters at a hotel on "Bathhouse Row."
Part 2. Items appraised in Hot Springs, Ark., include signed Ansel Adams photos, a painting by Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey and minutes from the Arkansas territorial legislature dating from the 1820s. Also: host Dan Elias and "Roadshow" jewelry experts mine for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark.
Conclusion. Appraisals in Hot Springs, Ark., include an English Regency writing secretary, a baseball autographed by the 1933 American League All-Star team and two early paintings by the German bauhaus artist-choreographer Oskar Schlemmer. Then there's a 1903 quilt depicting Arkansas, country by county. It is, says appraiser Beth Szescila, "a wonderful piece of Arkansas history."
Dan Elias winds up his tenure as series host with this three-episode stop in Charlotte. Items appraised range from comics to a Marc Chagall lithograph and a Mexican War sword. Away from the Charlotte Convention Center, Elias traces the city's history.
Items appraised in Charlotte, N.C. (Part 2) include a collection of wooden tools and folk-art objects evaluated by Mitchell Keno (brother of "Find" hosts Leigh and Leslie), as well as a turn-of-the-century dragonfly brooch and an early-19th-century chest of drawers that was made in North Carolina. Also: a quickie tour of Charlotte. Dan Elias hosts.
Dan Elias concludes his three-year stint as series host with the windup of this three-episode stop in Charlotte, N.C. Items include a baseball autographed by Ty Cobb and an 1882 Wedgwood fish service. Also: Elias tours the Carolina pottery collection at Charlotte's Mint Museum of Art.