As I promised, here is my take on the June 7th ANTIQUE ROADSHOW in Palm Springs. First of all, I must admit it was very exciting pulling into the convention center parking lot and seeing the people with all sorts of things. They talked with each other as they made their way to the convention center, all hoping their items would be highly valued treasures. I walked with one couple and the lady explained she was tired from not sleeping because she couldn't stop thinking about how valuable her item might be . . . but then as we crossed the street, her husband seemed to put it all in perspective . . . "hope your old vase is worth something, I'll see you later because my jackpot is waiting at the Spa Casino," That immediately got me thinking, 'yep, they were going to two very different venues, yet both hoping to hit it big.'
If you read my previous blogs, you know how deeply disappointed I was when I nor 12 of my friends weren't picked for free tickets. I whined about it in my blog, questioned the ticket process and showcased my attitude of 'sour grapes' . . . Then a few days later Judy Matthews, a senior executive from the ANTIQUE ROADSHOW read my blog and invited me to attend as a 'media' guest. It came with all the privileges of a ticket (allowing me to bring items) plus it provided some 'special privileges,' an escort that would get me around, including interviewing appraisers, access to the production process, and "NO WAITING IN LINES." This was an amazing opportunity, but they really shouldn't have rewarded a whiner <wink>.. I was shocked at the size of the huge holding areas where the public had to wait for hours . . . the lines were endless and this was only 8 a.m.
My escort ask what I wanted to do first and I decided to get an appraisal on a matted piece of textile marked 18th Century that had come from the Loretta Young estate. The textile was marked with Bianchini Ferier - France. Possibly it could be an original work coming from the world renowned, fashion design and print house in Lyon, France, that has a pedigree of over a Hundred years. The BIANCHINI FERIER house supplied such Couturiers as Dior, and Channel to name but a few. The design department employed a large number of top artists, including the famous Roul Duffy. The original Ferier designs were sold off at CHRISTIES of London in 2001, and I thought that this signed and matted design might be valuable. Also Loretta Young was married to the famous French born Jean Louis Berthault of Paris, France, who Studied Decorative Arts, Paris; became a famous designer and moved to New York in early 1930s; worked for Hattie Carnegie's fashion for seven years; named head designer of Columbia Pictures in Hollywood in 1943; moved to Universal in 1958; in 1961, became free-lance designer for films and was nominated for 13 or 14 Academy Awards. So I approached the TEXTILE appraiser, I gave NO INFORMATION on my item and she quickly looked at it and said, "I don't think this is anything much but a nice decorative design" . . . I then pointed out the famed 'Bianchini Ferier' label / signature . . . And she said, "hmmm, I never heard of them" . . . Then she confessed she was not a textile expert and knew little about such textiles as her speciality was rugs and blankets. She explained that they did not have a textile appraiser (like I needed) at this venue. After I gave a brief history of the item and I pulled out my CHRISTIE'S of London program (over 400 pages from the July 27, 2001 famed auction that was 100 % dedicated to the BIANCHINI FERIER COLLECTION). She did say, 'surely you might have something.' My appraisal was over,THAT WAS IT, my big anticipated moment was over and I knew more about the item than they did . . . However, in all fairness, I did appreciate her honesty in stating that she had no expertise in the area.
Next I went to the DECORATIVE area where I had two miniature portraits appraised. I really appreciated the time and quality of that appraisal. The frame was carefully taken a part and history was given to me on the paintings and the painter. The appraisal was more than I had imagined from $ 1,500 to $ 3,000. I too was like so many others I had seen on the show proclaiming, "really, wow, I didn't know" . . .
The last item I had appraised was a piece of early Haviland china . . . This was signed on the back C. Weber 1904 and was hand painted. The appraiser stated it would have been more valuable in it's original state. Even though it was signed and dated, the appraiser explained that without the exact information about the painter that she could not determine it's value. I had a few other items, but I felt I had over used my 'special media pass' and shouldn't take up any more time. The ANTIQUE ROADSHOW staff were wonderful. It was great talking to all the 'key' appraisers that I had seen on the show. They are very organized in their procedures and it's amazing how the live production is made while the huge appraisal process is going on around them. I must admit, had I not had a 'media pass,' I don't believe that I would have stuck it out waiting in the huge holding areas. That is not to say that it's not worth it . . . but rather, I am good for about an hour in most cases. I recommend that they provide large screens that show the appraisal and production area. It would allow the attendee to immediately become connected to the process and it could educate them on what to do when they arrive in the show area. I think it would be great watching the 'live action' while waiting.
The outcomes of my 'appraisal experience' was satisfying. I really enjoyed watching others learn about their items. My overall impression of the ANTIQUE ROADSHOW was great and just as exciting as I imagined from watching the show. Surely my anticipation of finding out about my treasures was the highlight. Now that it's over and all that anticipation of 'what if' is gone. . . I'm left with good memories of a great experience. However, I have always believed that my imagination and anticipation about anything is much better than the reality . . . Now when I watch the show I'll have lost a little of the fun I got out of imaging what it would be like to attend. . . But make no mistake, the ANTIQUE ROADSHOW still remains one of my favorite shows!