My Trip to Antiques Roadshow

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A few months ago, a friend mentioned she saw Antiques Roadshow, the long-running PBS favorite of antique lovers everywhere, was coming to Northwest Arkansas.

I had missed the news, so was really glad she told me about it. Going to a taping of Antiques Roadshow has been a bucket-list item of mine for a long time– here was my chance!

Later that day, I went online and entered the ticket lottery. I don’t have a lot of luck with things like this, so you can imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later, I got an email saying I won tickets!

Today I am sharing my experience attending Antiques Roadshow here with you all:  how it works, my tips for going, and what I learned about my items.

How to Get Tickets to Antiques Roadshow

Tickets to Antiques Roadshow are awarded through an online lottery system.

I have only entered the lottery this one time and won a pair of tickets. However, some people I’ve talked with said they have tried for years to get tickets and have never won.  So my best suggestion is to try as often as you can, you just never know!

The first step is to head to the Antiques Roadshow website and look at the calendar of shows for the year to see if any are local to your area (or if you can travel to one).

The 2024 dates are already closed, so check early in 2025 for dates next year.

Each show has a deadline for entering the ticket drawing. Follow the online prompts to enter for the shows you may want to try and attend.

Be sure to use an active email you regularly check for your entry. If you win, your tickets will be sent to that email.

There is also an option to enter a ticket lottery on the Antiques Roadshow Instagram feed. Watch for specific posts where you can enter early in the year.

How Many Tickets Can I Win?

If you are selected in the lottery, you will win 2 tickets.  If multiple people in your house enter the lottery, only one person can win tickets.

You can share your extra ticket though with whoever you like! 

If you’re willing to pay, some local PBS stations will offer a few guaranteed tickets you can purchase for a “donation.” Check with your local station’s websites to see if those may be available.

What if I don’t win tickets in the lottery?

While at the Roadshow, I met a fellow antiques lover, Mikki, who is a regular viewer of my YouTube channel.

She didn’t win tickets in the lottery, but learned she could volunteer at the show and bring an item to be appraised. She also was able to meet several of the appraisers and see behind-the-scenes, which is so fun!

Another gentleman I spoke to said he had been trying to win tickets for 20 years with no luck. He also gained admission to this Roadshow as a volunteer.

From what I can tell, the volunteers are coordinated by the local PBS station for each Antiques Roadshow event and also by the venue.  If you want to sign up as a volunteer, I would check with those places online to find information.

What Items Can I Bring to Antiques Roadshow?

Each ticket holder is allowed to bring 2 items to be appraised, and every person who comes with a ticket must bring at least one item.

So for my friend and I, that meant two items for me and two items for her. But she decided she didn’t have anything she wanted to have appraised, so I gave her 2 of my items to bring. 

You don’t have to own the item you bring for appraisal, but if they decide to film an item, the owner must be present.

So for my 4 items, I brought an old oil painting, a collection of medals from WW1 and WW2, a pair of old Eagle Scout medals and an antique Japanese painted ewer vase.

Any item that you think may have age or be collectible, you are welcome to bring!

There are a few restrictions, mainly with handguns, knives, paper currency, and stock certificates. You can check the full list of prohibited or restricted items at the Antiques Roadshow FAQ page

If you have a group of related items, they may consider those a collection and treat it like 1 item That’s what was done with my WW1 and WW2 medals. 

What to Expect When you Arrive at the Roadshow

Your ticket has an entry time, mine was 8:00 am.  You are asked to arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before your entry time, so we showed up at 7:45.

There were people everywhere carrying items, or pulling carts loaded with their treasures. We even saw a few people with larger furniture on dollies.  

There are no helpers for loading or unloading items, and depending on your venue, you may have to go up and down stairs or use elevators to get to different floors.

I honestly think bringing a big piece of furniture is risky, given you don’t know where you will have to haul it. I stuck with small items I could easily carry.

After our tickets were scanned, we were sent to our first line. Here, we showed our items to a Roadshow employee and were given a map of the event. The employee classified each item, and our event map was stamped with the classification.  

So for my 4 items, I had to attend the Artwork area, the Pottery area, the Militaria area, and general Collectibles area.

These were all located at different places around the venue, so with our trusty map to guide us, we took off to our first stop, which was Artwork.

Once we got to the main Artwork area, the sorting began again. There was a table for paintings, one for sculpture, drawing, etc. Volunteers helped point me to the right line to have my painting appraised.

When I reached the front of the line, I showed the appraiser my painting and told him the story of where I found it.  He shared some info and asked me a few more questions, then gave me an estimated value. 

Every appraiser I talked with was very friendly and knowledgeable! And they all seemed genuinely interested in what I brought.

trip to Antiques Roadshow

I was honestly surprised at this point with how short the lines were to see the actual appraisers! For each item, I only ever had one person in front of me in line.

It went much quicker than I expected; at times I even felt a bit rushed.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken my time and moved through the appraising lines a little slower. Asked more questions of the appraisers, visited more with other people attending and looked at the treasures they were bringing. 

But since I really didn’t know what to expect, I just went with the flow and moved from line to line.  Before I knew it, all 4 of my items had been appraised and we were done. 

In total, we were at the event for about an hour.  

What about getting filmed for the TV show?

Throughout our time at the event, camera crews roamed around and videoed people walking and standing in line with their items.  

In the original sorting line, the lady in front of me was carrying a large wooden castle-looking thing, and a cameraman came and pulled her out of the line.  I’m guessing her item looked interesting enough from afar to be pulled for a quick feature on camera!

None of my items were selected to be featured in a TV appraisal, but I do know someone who had her item selected.

She said that when she approached the appraising table with her item, the appraiser stepped away for a minute and came back with a producer. The producer asked her about her item, and then they stepped away again to discuss whether or not to film.

While the producer was away, she was instructed not to look up her item online or try to learn any more information; they wanted her reaction on screen to be genuine. 

So you can know when you watch the show that the surprise you see on someone’s face is real! On camera, this is the first time their item is really discussed at length and a value is given.

After talking with her, my guess is appraisers and producers are looking for truly unique items they don’t often encounter or items of really high value. 

But I guess that’s the fun of the Roadshow–you never really know if what you have is a true treasure! 

How Valuable Are the Items I Brought?

I thought it would be fun to share the appraisals and information I received for my items!

1. German Oil Painting

cropped-german-art-oil-painting-1-of-1.jpg

I purchased this painting for $20 in a field at Canton First Monday Trade Days probably 8 or 9 years ago. The lady I bought it from said it was her mother-in-law’s, and she had brought it with her when she emigrated from Germany in the 1980’s.

The painting was signed by the artist F. Haupt. I found a few other examples online of art by the same artist and they all look like these Bavarian mountain scenes.

Here is what the appraiser said:

These Bavarian landscape paintings were very common in early postwar years and are essentially souvenir pieces.  There are a lot like this one out there!

While the painting is a real oil, the artist has not had a work auctioned by a major auction house.  The frame is original but has some damage (thanks to one of my cats!), but he said the frames are often broken and don’t contribute much to the value.

Appraised Value $100-$200. Old, but not rare or famous.

 

2. Japanese Painted Ewer Vase

My mom handed this piece down to me a few years back, and she got it from her grandmother who received it as a gift from a friend in 1921. We knew it was old, but not much more than that.

Here is what the appraiser said:

This is an example of a pre-WW1 hand-painted Japanese porcelain piece. His best estimate was that it was made in the late 1800’s or as late as 1910.  The applique technique is called moriage.

Most pieces from pre WW1 Japan are stamped “Nippon,” which essentially means Japan. This piece is actually stamped “Japan,” which is more rare to see and could cause some appraisers to date it later than WW1.

Appraised value $50.  Thirty years ago, appraised value $150. The market for these pieces has declined.

3. Collection of WW1 and WW2 Medals and Bars

My dad gave me a box of a few things recently from my great aunt.  He had helped settle her estate and found some older items in her home he thought may have some family history.

One of the things I found in the items he gave me was a small leather box filled with a variety of military pins and medals.

I knew my great uncle had been in WW2 as a member of the US military, but what I also found in the box were British military medals, which confused me a bit.

After a little digging, I learned the British medals were from my great-grandfather; he served in the British Royal Navy in WW1! My dad did not know this information, so it was a real discovery for us both. 

I was hopeful the appraiser at the Roadshow could help me determine what items were from which family member and war.

Here is what the appraiser said:

The trio of medals were given to all members who served in any branch of the British military during WW1. They are engraved with my great-grandfather’s name and company, and if I dig around some more online I could possibly find out more info on his service.

Also included was a pin given to my great-grandfather after he was discharged.  The appraiser said men of “fighting age” in Britian during WW1 wore these pins as proof of military service after discharge. It was a way of avoiding being scorned for dodging the service, or as the appraiser said “it kept him from having a drink thrown in his face at the local pub.”

The remaining pins and bars are all from my great Uncle and his service with the US military during WW2.  

Appraised value is $200 for the trio of WW1 medals and roughly $50 for all the remaining items.

4. Vintage Eagle Scout Pins and Presentation Case

These old Eagle Scout pins were also in the mix of items my dad gave me recently.  When I first pulled them out, I assumed they must have belonged to my great uncle, along with the WW2 pins and badges.

Here is what the appraiser said:

Turns out neither of these pins belonged to my great uncle, because the timing isn’t right!

These pins are both from the 1930’s, and one of them happens to be one of the rarest and most collectible Eagle scout pins out there!

The Robbins company manufactured Eagle Scout pins from 1920 to 1978. Over these 58 years of production, the pin designs underwent many iterations, and each now has a different collectible value.

A new pin with a very intricate design was made for a brief four-month period in 1930. This pin is called the Robbins 2a pin, and not many are around. 

The appraiser was really excited to see this pin and took it to another appraiser to confirm it was in fact a Robbins 2a. He was also excited I had the original presentation box, which is in excellent condition.

The other Eagle scout pin is also from the 1930’s, but is a less collectible design.

Appraised Value is $1200 for the Robbins 2a pin with box, and $100 for the second pin

Final Thoughts on my Trip to the Roadshow

I really did so enjoy my time attending Antiques Roadshow! If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely take my time more at the show and enjoy the experience more instead of rushing through it.

It seems like winning tickets in the lottery is pretty rare, so this may turn out to be my only time to attend. But I’m glad I learned about the opportunity to volunteer at a Roadshow! And I hope that was a helpful tip to pass along to you all.

I am glad to have learned more about the items I brought, especially the collection of WW1 and WW2 medals. I am a bit bummed my painting isn’t worth more, but I still count it as a treasured find!

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me today and if you’ve ever been to an Antiques Roadshow, I would love to hear your story!

Jennifer

Friday 24th of May 2024

I love that you got to go to the Antiques Roadshow! I have been following your journey since you were a dealer at the Antique Company Mall in Mckinney. In fact you-unknowingly-inspired me to become a dealer at the same mall when I took your bootcamp online. I love it there and have learned a lot from you over the last several years. Thank you!

Melanie Alexander

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

Thanks for sharing that Jennifer! I love the ACM, really miss being there. Hope your business is going well!

Julie

Friday 24th of May 2024

I loved reading about your adventure. It sounds like an amazing time. I will have to look the show up and see when they are near East Texas as I have several items I would love to get appraised. The oil painting you found in Canton is beautiful. Don't you just love Canton? Take care.

Melanie Alexander

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

I do love Canton, miss going! Need to plan a trip down in the fall.

Rebecca Wilson

Friday 24th of May 2024

Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like it was fun and educational. Will have to take a look at the website and see if they’re coming my way any time soon.

Melanie Alexander

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

For sure do! You just never know :)

Teddi B

Friday 24th of May 2024

Being an Antiques Roadshow fan, I really enjoyed this article. I have unsuccessfully tried to get tickets in the past, so it was fun to read about your experience. Thank you for documenting and sharing some tips. Very exciting to hear about the worth and background of your items!

Melanie Alexander

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

You're so welcome! Maybe if they come your way you could try the volunteer route if you aren't selected for the ticket lottery.

Gina Campbell

Friday 24th of May 2024

I love your content, but it was almost impossible to read with all the ads making the text jump up and down!

Melanie Alexander

Wednesday 29th of May 2024

I appreciate your feedback Gina :) The ads we have are pretty much standard now across all blogs, and they pay for the blog to be free to all readers :)

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