Friday, August 20, 2010

Antiques Roadshow

Most everyone, especially those of you who are inclined to read a blog such as this one, is familiar with the PBS show ‘Antiques Roadshow’. This is basically a filmed appraisal fair where people can bring in their items and learn a little about them including their value. I was fortunate enough to attend one in Cincinnati, Ohio during the second year of production. Back then all you had to do was arrive early, get in line and hope the doors weren’t closed before you got a ticket. But with the hopes of confirming treasures over trash, PBS went to a sweepstakes format where you applied for tickets and only a specified number of tickets were awarded.

I have been in the antiques and collectibles profession for about 8 years, now. I have applied for tickets to the Antiques Roadshow every one of the past 8 years and was never selected, UNTIL NOW!

ars tickets

I finally got tickets for this year’s show in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 21. The ‘Roadshow’ is travelling to 6 cities this year, though none of then were in Georgia. I chose DC because I wanted to meet one of the appraisers, Ken Farmer. You’ll find out why in a moment.

When I tell my friends and co-workers that I am going to the Roadshow, invariably the first question is “What are you taking?” I have 2 tickets and each ticketholder can bring 2 items so here are the four items my wife, Shelley, and I are bringing (click on any picture to see a larger version):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         You’re probably still asking “Well,what are they!?!” Here we go:

Number 1 is a cane that was acquired at a family run estate sale in Marietta, GA by one of the owners of A Classy Flea. There are several different types of canes that are valuable to collectors. One type of cane has a secondary, hidden purpose. These canes often have something hidden within the handle or at the top of the shaft such as a flask, a dagger, or even a pistol. Another type of collectable canes are the presentation pieces, those that are made to commemorate a specific place, person or event. And then there are the folk art canes, those hand-carved pieces of artwork often done just for the enjoyment of the carver. This cane actually falls into 2 of the categories.


As you can see from the engraving on the knob, this cane was made for Tom McTaque of Deer Lodge, Montana. Who is that? He was the Superintendent of Prisons for the Territory of Montana before it became a state. He was also brought in after Montana achieved statehood to correct problems that arose after the state took over.

What is also interesting about this cane is the carvings down the shaft:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Please click on the image to see a larger view!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         More carvings moving down the cane.


…and even more carvings!

When it comes to folk art canes, the more collectable ones are those with figural elements, especially people and animals. This cane has 39 different carved figures.

The second item is:


a doll! Right after Shelley and I moved back to the Atlanta area we watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow where an old Indian doll was appraised. It was worth several thousand dollars. Shortly after seeing this episode, Shelley found this doll at a local garage sale.








We don’t know if this doll is genuine or if it is a reproduction made to look old. That’s one of the exiting times of the appraisal – when you get the expert’s opinion.

Let’s take a closer look at the third item:

A suitcase with 2 sets of latches and “Lemmon Pharmacal Co” printed on the front. Looks like a salesman’s case maybe…









Yes! A case of dummy pills showing the colors and sizes of the pills available for distribution. And below:


sample liquid drugs, as well. I only wish the case had been more complete with the samples. This case actually came from the office of Shelley’s Dad who spent his entire adult life in the pharmaceutical industry.

The last item was just purchased this week from a customer that came to the store wanting us to buy his excess furniture and accessories from a recent downsize. On his list was this item for $25 that I accepted, sight unseen:


a piano accordion in its original case. The bellows appear to be free of leaks and all of the keys and buttons work! This model has 120 bass buttons, one of the most intricate types of accordions available.


But I could find no reference to any accordion made by Riga or with a name of Orchester. I knew that the only way I could determine whether this is a $25 instrument or a $2500 one would be to take it to someone who was familiar with musical instruments. I still needed a fourth item for the Roadshow so on it goes.

I would love for my readers to leave comments guessing what you think the value of each item is. Next week, I will write a follow-up and let you know what I found out about each item!

Now, why did I choose Washington DC and how does Ken Farmer play into this. I have watched Ken give numerous appraisals on ARS and I really like his style. He owns an auction house in Radford, Virginia so I was pretty sure he would be there. But why Ken? A couple of years ago PBS filmed a special segment to show during an episode of Antiques Roadshow that featured Ken and his personal folk art cane collection! I have contacted Ken’s business and they have confirmed that he will be there. Though he is not working the folkart table at this show, he has asked me to bring it over to the furniture area for him to look at. I can’t wait!


  1. Congratulations on winning the tickets to attend Antique Roadshow. You are carrying some very unique and interesting items. I too will be waiting to see how much they are worth.

  2. It's so cool that you & Shelley will be part of Antiques Roadshow - Good Luck!!! When will this particular episode air on TV?

  3. That's awesome that you were able to get tickets. It is amazing what treasures we can find in this type of business!