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.
There's something new among the antiques as this PBS perennial opens its season with a three-week stint in Chicago: "Good Morning America"'s Lara Spencer signs on as host. Items appraised include a "spectacular" 19th-century articulated Japanese iron crayfish; a copy of the Beatles' "Yesterday and Today" album with its original "butcher" cover; a copy of "King Lear" with notes by its original owner---John Barrymore---scribbled in margins; an 1881 John LaFarge drawing; and a portrait of 18th-century Harvard president John Holyoke and a chair he owned. In addition, Spencer takes appraiser Simeon Lipman to a ballgame at Chicago's Comiskey Park, where they stop at souvenir stands in search of "future collectibles."
Part 2 of three. Appraised in Chicago: an 18th-century map of Virginia and Maryland and an 1871 map of Chicago that highlights the burned areas of the city; an 18th-century Irish silver sauce boat; an 1880s "aesthetic-movement" table; Tiffany stained glass from the men's grill at Chicago's Marshall Field department store. Then there's a Russian bodice ornament with a value that pleasantly surprises its owner---so much so that she kisses the appraiser who gave her the good news. Meanwhile, host Lara Spencer learns the difference between "toy" and "model" trains during a visit to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry
Appraised in Chicago (conclusion): an 1820s classical-revival secretary; a Grant Wood painting; an 1822 U.S. atlas; a trombone owned by a member of the John Philip Sousa band; an 1850s Tiffany gold necklace; and a "presentation piece" (photos) honoring the 1908 Chicago Cubs---the last Cubs team to win a World Series. Also: host Lara Spencer asks "Roadshow" attendees at the Chicago Navy Pier to define the French phrase "sang de boeuf."
The "Roadshow" rolls into San Francisco for three shows (taped in August 2003). In the opener, host Lara Spencer checks out porcelain all over town. At the Moscone Center, items appraised include an 1850 vase, a print from a post-office mural depicting the city's 1934 longshoremen's strike; jewelry made during the Gold Rush years; an 1890 Ute doll cradle; a Maynard Dixon painting; and a baseball signed by the 1933 San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. One signee: Joe DiMaggio, who hit in 61 straight games that year
Appraised in San Francisco (Part 2 of three): an Ansel Adams California-mission photograph; a pair of English silver perfume bottles from the 1680s; a Bowie knife; and some surprisingly valuable Crackerjack postcards (and a Christmas card with a picture of Santa Claus in a mauve suit). In addition, appraiser Leila Dunbar on what to look for in autographed baseballs; appraiser Barry Weber on jewelry markings; and a number of appraisers on items brought into the "Roadshow" that aren't valuable ("at least in money," says host Lara Spencer).
Conclusion. Appraised in San Francisco: paintings by California artists; a 1950s ceramic jug designed by Pablo Picasso; a collection of 1940s signed movie-star photos; an 1840s Viennese wall clock; and a 1920s azure-cut diamond ring. In addition, appraiser Kerry Shrives explains the difference between auction, retail and insurance values; and host Lara Spencer and appraiser Gary Sohmers check out psychedelic rock posters in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, "the epicenter," says Sohmers, "of the counterculture of the 1960s."
Beginning a three-episode stint in Oklahoma. Among the items appraised: survey maps of 1870s Oklahoma; an early-20th-century Marquetry vase designed by Emile Galle; a Civil War-era medical "bleeder"; a 1937 Martin guitar; and "gal leg" spurs that were once owned by a desperado. In addition, host Lara Spencer visits the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; and antiques dealer Wendell Garrett discusses museum "deaccessioning."
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW headed west to Oklahoma's capital, where host Lara Spencer and Part 2. Items appraised in Oklahoma City include an 1801 Lewis and Clark "peace medallion"; paintings of Geronimo and a bison; European Art-Deco travel posters; sketches of Tallulah Bankhead, Leslie Howard and Amelia Earhart; and Oglala Sioux family heirlooms. Also: appraiser Beth Szescila tells host Lara Spencer what to look for when assessing quilts; appraiser Nicholas Dawes discusses floral-decorated porcelain.
Appraised in Oklahoma City (conclusion): 1960s San Francisco rock-concert handbills; a mother-and-child sculpture by a grandson of Brigham Young; an 1805 English cruet set; an 1890s Zuni Indian jar; a drum from Zachary Taylor's 1848 presidential campaign; and plates from the first newspaper published in Oklahoma (in 1889). Also: host Lara Spencer surveys Hopi dolls at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and asks "Roadshow" attendees the meaning of the word "antimacassar."
Items appraised in Savannah in the first of three episodes include a French and Indian War powder horn, a 1730s shoe buckle given to its owner's ancestor by James Oglethorpe, the founder of the Georgia colony, and World War I records from Camp Hancock, Ga., where seven Baseball Hall of Famers (including Ty Cobb) were stationed. In addition, appraiser David Rago discusses brown-glaze pottery with host Lara Spencer, and Spencer goes antiquing in Savannah with appraiser Richard Wright. She brings home a basket.
The site: Savannah, Ga. Part 2 of three. Items appraised include an African-themed quilt made by a slave around 1830; a Coca-Cola music lighter from the 1950s that plays "Dixie" (and was controversial because of it); a statuette of the Egyptian god Osiris dating from about 300 BC; an 18th-century Chinese lacquer box; and an early 19th-century French "tremblant" pin. In addition, "Find!" hosts Leigh and Leslie Keno visit Savannah furniture maker Greg Guenther; appraiser David Lackey tells host Lara Spencer how to guage the age of porcelain; and appraiser Noel Barrett tells Spencer what to look for in cast-iron toys.
In the last of three shows from Savannah, items appraised include a Newcomb pottery chocolate set, a bronze birdbath and a Swiss automaton watch. Also: host Lara Spencer surveys Savannah ironwork with appraiser Carolyn Remmey