The original episode of the Antiques Roadshow debuted in 1977. For over three decades, experts have been determining the age and value of rare garage sale finds and family heirlooms. Although the show originated in Britain, an American version began airing in 1996 through a PBS affiliate, and a Canadian version followed in 2004.
The Roadshow experts possess a serious interest in the world of antiques and treat each find with respect and appreciation. The experts come from all backgrounds and occupations, including antiques dealers and professional appraisers. The Antiques Roadshow travels to various cities across North America and provide general evaluations online. Pictures must accompany online requests, along with a physical description and any historical information.
Antiques Roadshow torus begin in May of each year. Tickets are required but early purchases are advised due to overwhelming demand. The tour is quite popular, with approximately 2,000 people attending each show of the Canadian Antiques Roadshow. Each person attending the show is allowed to have two items appraised, some consuming several hours’ worth of an expert’s time.
Although they are quite skilled at what they do, even the experts are stumped every once in a while. Professional Maurice Doll was presented with an item referred to as “The Mysterious Horn”, a puzzle that has yet to be solved. Even though Mr. Doll had examined several other priming horns during the same episode, this one contained unique carvings of humans and animals. After a closer investigation, the experts revealed that the panels on the horn represented various stories, a couple of which stemmed from the Old Testament. There are still a few carvings that haven’t been interpreted. Mr. Doll speculates that the horn originated in the early- to mid-18th century.
The majority of requests revolve around furniture, toys, clocks, coins, medals, pictures and jewelry. People choose to have an item appraised for a variety of reasons, mainly to determine its fair market value. This type of value refers to the amount the item would be worth under general circumstances, such as divorce or estate matters. Another common type of appraisal is one requested for insurance purposes, which is quite different from fair market value. It deals specifically with replacement cost, often taking mark-ups and repairs into account. In almost all cases, the fair market value of an item is less than that of an insurance appraisal.
The Antiques Roadshow is a favorite with television viewers, collectors and antiques experts worldwide. Since its debut, the BBC Roadshow has visited over 420 locations and broadcast more than 500 shows.
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