First-Ever D.C. 'Antiques Roadshow' Confirms Its Disciples
“I’ve been living for this since January,” said Lorraine Burns of Arlington, who had requested tickets for “Antiques Roadshow,” which set up camp for the first time ever in D.C. at the Walter Washington Convention Center Aug. 21. The show, approaching its 15th year on PBS, has attained cult-like status with TV viewers and owners of family heirlooms which they believe might be worth big bucks. Its D.C. inauguration fetched 23,000 requests for 5,000 tickets, a record for this year. The show, which took to the road in San Diego, ended its taping here. (Its new season begins January.)
“Antiques Roadshow” prompted Patricia Erickson of Charlotte, N.C., to visit the nation’s capital for the first time ever, too, making a family vacation of it. Citing the show’s broadcast time, Erickson said, “Don’t call me between 8 and 9 on Monday nights.”
Then, Burns and Erickson met appraiser J. Michael Flanigan, and you’d think they had seen Bono or Sting or President Obama. The Keno brothers were nearby, walking out of the taping circle to visit those waiting in the long lines. Again, rock stars. These guys appraise old wooden furniture — with passion, admittedly.
We finally got a chance to show two old family pieces — one in the metalworks line and the other in the paintings line. (Generalist appraisers at the end of the long, initial line hand out tickets which categorize the piece, whether it be furniture, a toy or a sword, and send their patient cult followers to another line.) The longest line was for Asian arts. We were told about the guy with a bearskin rug, supposedly belonging to Bette Davis’s daughter. Which line is that one?
Kerry Shrives of Boston’s Skinner, Inc., looked over a bronze statuette, called “the freed slave” by our family, and smiled, “About $300, maybe a little more.” Then, David Weiss of Philadelphia’s Freeman’s Auctioneers pondered an oil painting of the English Lake District, struggling to see the signature on the lower right just under the frame. An inner frame blocked his complete view. Nevertheless, Weiss declared,”It’s a wonderful 19th-century painting, perhaps worth $1,500.” (O.K., that’s cool. Now, do you realize the appeal of this TV show?)
We also saw Sally Davidson of Clyde’s Restaurants being interviewed on camera about her Japanese filigree bowl. Ask her, or wait until next year to learn its value.
Upon our exit, we saw an abandoned cracked figurine on the sidewalk. A couple wheeled past with a Victorian-style baby buggy. “50 bucks? You’re kidding me, right?” Many are called, but few are chosen.