Any press is good press, right?

Can you remember a week where antiques and collectibles dominated the headlines as they did the week of June 21-27?

AT 7-15 Bradley_Eric.jpgTelevision, newspapers, blogs and the Internet were buzzing about major
news stories that involved the value – or perceived value – of antiques
and collectibles. First, Michael Jackson’s untimely death took his fan
base and the rest of the world by surprise. Talk quickly changed from
what killed the King of Pop to what will become of his estate –
including his three children and millions of dollars worth of
investments he made in antiques and collectibles. Jackson was a
well-known collector and accumulator of fine antiques and show biz
memorabilia. Scenes of Jackson practically emptying a Las Vegas
antiques shop in a seven-figure shopping spree was rehashed in news
reports following his death. The Associated Press reported Jackson’s
estate owns about $20 million worth of antiques, old cars and “other

Does even the most experienced dealer or collector even realize what
$20 million worth of antiques and vintage cars would look like? Imagine
your favorite mega-antiques show and estimate the retail value of
everything on the floor. You would have to include part of the building
itself to reach $20 million.

Jackson liked owning unusual things – but he also made some shrewd
investments such as the catalog of songs by The Beatles, among others,
which is purportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Time will
tell if his fans are just as shrewd after scouring the Web in the days
after his death to buy all manner of Jackson collectibles.

The second big story was dramatically smaller in dollars compared to
Jackson’s estate, but it may create a comfy nest egg for its owner.
Antiques Roadshow stopped in Raleigh, N.C., on June 27 as part of its
2009 taping season.

Appraiser James Callahan noticed something worthy of more attention in
one woman’s collection of Chinese jade carvings. He put the
collection’s value at about $1.07 million, a record discovery in the
13-year history of the American version of the British TV hit. The
owner’s father purchased the collection during the 1930s and ’40s while
stationed by the military in China. Taylor expected the set to be worth
about $10,000. The collection includes four pieces of Chinese jade and
celadon from the Chien Lung Dynasty (1736-1795). Special marks on the
bottom of a large bowl indicate it was carved for an emperor.

Antiques Roadshow appraisers review about 18,000 items at each stop.
Show producers told media outlets that about 34,000 people applied for
tickets to the taping but only 6,400 were picked. The $1.07 million
appraisal will be shown on Jan. 4 as part of a new season of Antiques

If there truly is no such thing as bad press, let’s hope the week’s
events – both fortunate and unfortunate – encourages a new generation
to look at antiques and collectibles in a different light.

Eric Bradley



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