History lovers dream of digging through the attic and uncovering some hidden artifact worth millions of dollars but in reality the chances are pretty slim that grandma's old violin is a stradivarius or that painting is a rare collectors item. The mere possibility of owning a valuable piece of history draws people into the hunt and brings people together at the filming of The Antiques Roadshow. People line up to get a family heirloom appraised in hopes of it being a hidden treasure in their own homes. Usually it ends in disappointment but sometimes their prized possession is found to be the real thing and is worth way more than anyone anticipated.
The most common possessions taken to the Antiques Roadshow are family bibles, old paintings and china tea cups that usually aren't worth much. The average object appraised is only worth about $100 but since the shows debut in 1979 many happy people have left with life changing appraisals. Since most of the objects have been in the family for generations, many people who receive the big appraisals don't cash in on the deal. Most choose to keep their antiques and loan them to a museum.
The Antiques Roadshow has been around much longer than most shows currently on air and like many popular TV shows has been the inspiration of copy cats like American Pickers and Pawn Stars. There were rough patches during the years but it has always managed to bounce back. In 1997, experts were charged with faking their appraisal of a confederate sword. They were banned from the show as a result and Russ Pritchard was later found guilty of cheating his clients and went to prison. George Juno also plead guilty to federal criminal charges. The show bounced back and even in Washington D.C. got 23,000 applications for tickets and only 6,400 tickets were available. It was the most applications in the shows history.
10 Rare Victorian Brooch: $18,500
9 Rare Edgar Allen Poe Daguerreotype: $50,000
8 18th century Prussian Plate: $185,000
7 Seymour Card Table: $250,000
At a Roadshow stop in New Jersey in 1997 two experts, Leigh and Leslie Keno appraised a regular looking card table the guest purchased at a yard sale for only $25. It was discovered as being a rare 18th century piece worth $200,000 to $250,000. Back in 1997 it was the most valuable Antiques Roadshow find in the American version of the show. recently the table sold at an auction at Sotheby's for over half a million dollars.
6 Navajo Chief's Blanket: $350,000-$500,000
5 Peanuts Comic Strip: $450,000
4 Oil Painting by Clyfford Still: $500,000
3 Anthony van Dyck Painting: $673,000
2 Jade Bowls: $1.07 Million
1 Rhino Horn Teacups: $1.5 Million
At the filming of The Antiques Roadshow in July 2011, an Oklahoma man broke the shows record with a set of Chinese teacups made from the horn of a rhinoceros. The teacups were from the 17th or 18th century and valued at between $1 million and $1.5 million breaking the previous Roadshow record for most valuable artifacts. They were purchased in the 1970's for a cheap price and he had no idea the true value of the set of five cups. The appraiser Lark Mason identified the cups. The episode aired in 2012 in the 16th season of the U.S. version of the show.
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