Friday, May 6, 2011

Antiques: The clips you don't see on TV!

For some quirky reason, I really enjoy watching the Antique Road Show on Public Television. I think it's especially cool when someone has something they either inherited or purchased for next to nothing, and it turns out it's worth tens of thousands of dollars.

I understand that hundreds of people come through the gates for every one that makes it onto the show, and I'm sure that the majority of "treasures" the experts appraise turn out to be essentially worthless. In fact, I'd like to see a few of the duds featured - I think it might be fun.

I remember when Rebekah and I were getting ready for our wedding. We told her mother we didn't want to register for fine china. She laughed and said choosing a pattern was our only defense against tacky, tasteless vases and worse. She told us that some people feel compelled to buy china for wedding gifts; so we might as well pick out something we could tolerate.

So we complied, and ended up with enough to seat eight... plus a few hideous "heirloom items" that we re-gifted as soon as possible.

Those are the "treasures" that tend to show up at the Antique Road Show...
  • Expert: "So what do we have here?"  
  • Hopeful: "Well I'm not exactly sure. But it's been in my family for several generations."
  • Expert: "I believe it was manufactured in Europe in the late 19th Century..."
  • Hopeful (excited): "Really? Is it unique?"
  • Expert: "Unfortunately, no."
  • Hopeful: "How valuable is it?"
  • Expert: "Well, it was a piece of garbage when they made it, and it hasn't improved any since then. This piece is not only ugly and impractical, it's entirely worthless."
  • Hopeful: "But it first belonged to my great-great grandmother - it always goes to the eldest daughter."
  • Expert: "Do you have documentation?"
  • Hopeful: "Yes (rummages), here are the photographs and letters."
  • Expert: "We call this 'provenance' in the business."
  • Hopeful; "That's good, right?"
  • Expert: "Well, in this case it simply proves your family have demonstrated consistently poor taste over three centuries."
  • Hopeful: "So what do you recommend?"
  • Expert: "I've conferred with some of my colleagues extensively about your collection, and especially about the provenance. Let me ask this - do you have any siblings?"
  • Hopeful: "No, I'm an only child."
  • Expert: "That's good. We'd like to recommend - if it's not too late - that you don't have any children. But we'd like to thank you for appearing on this special addition of the Road Show."
It's been a week full with serious postings and disturbing headlines. Theology, eschatology, international terrorism, mayhem, judgment, hell, people behaving badly, politics....

I simply couldn't be that serious today. Well, at least that's my excuse!

Have a great weekend - DEREK!

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