By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
“My great great-grandfather’s Civil War silver tea pot was only worth $70, but we had a wonderful time at Antiques Roadshow.”
That could have been filmed in the feedback booth at the Antiques Roadshow (AR) in Omaha this past weekend. However, Gary and I didn’t get that far.
We had a great experience at the show, held Saturday at the Omaha Centurylink Center. We are avid spectators of the show, which is on NET every Monday night, sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Omaha was one of the sites AR was visiting this summer, with the actual show to be aired in 2016.
With tickets in sweaty hands and four items to be appraised nestled in a bag, we entered the Center at 8 a.m. Friendly volunteers from around the state guided us through the initial ticket process.
When we showed our items, tickets were issued for the pertinent appraisal lines. For example, “silver,” “Native American,” “furniture.”
Gary and I had thought long and hard about what we were taking. We focused on items that had provenance and a story behind them.
Our first item, an oil painting by Robert Gilder, was met with a smile by appraiser Betty Krulik of Betty Krulik Fine Art, Ltd. of New York. She had been told that she’d see a lot of his work, as he was an Omaha native.
Unfortunately, our oil, a wedding present to my parents in 1953, was valued at only $130, as Gilder isn’t a widely-known artist.
I need to back up. Inside the Center a gigantic circle of wall was set up, with many “lanes” leading inside. The appraisers were situated around the wall inside. You get in the pertinent lane, and volunteers guide you to the correct appraiser.
In the meantime, those people lucky enough to be chosen for filmed interviews are led into the middle of the circle and the lights are turned on, while we lesser folk circulate around them in the background.
For that purpose, Gary and I both wore bright yellow shirts, hoping to be picked out in the background of the show sometime in 2016.
Bummer. We tried, but couldn’t get in back of those being interviewed. We kept being shunted back outside the circle to stand in yet another line.
Our third line was “silver.” That’s where we were told by Kelly Wright of Freeman’s that my great great-grandfather’s tea pot would have been worth more if it was in a set.
On to the “jewelry” line. That was nice. My great-aunt’s diamond and platinum bar pin had doubled in value from its 1976 appraisal. Nice, but we were expecting it.
Appraiser Jill Burgum of Heritage Auctions told us not to break it up.
The real gem of the day was in “folk art.” We had a wooden paddle-type thing from Gary’s grandmother, but we didn’t know what it was. The date was etched in it—1806.
Turns out, one of those handsome Keno twin brothers told us it was used in Norway to turn wool into something like seam tape, which was then used in clothing.
Although he told us it wasn’t worth anything, it was worth something in sentiment. Gary’s ancestors had brought it over from Norway in the 1880s.
I think we’ll keep it.
Oh, while we were waiting in the “folk art” line, we discovered that the lady beside us knew my cousin from North Platte—they’d been in a book club and P.E.O. together.
The lady behind us, dragging a Norwegian wooden trunk, actually lives in Newman Grove, where Gary’s from. She knows most of his relatives.
We had planned to spend the whole day at the Roadshow, but due to the efficient organization of the event, we were out the door in two and one-half hours, still clutching our prizes.
On our way out, we stopped to pick up a free t-shirt and to chat with other people in the freebee line.
I think that was the most fun—seeing what people were bringing, talking with them, enjoying their excitement and discovering that it was a small world after all.
That and finding out what that wooden paddle is that has been hanging on our wall for 20 years!
Check one thing off the bucket list!