From the AT Staff: 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?

Television, 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 property.”

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 Roadshow.

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