Readers’ Letters: Serious Collectors Side with Antiques Roadshow

Dear Editor,

We were extremely pleased to read Judy Matthew’s letter in rebuttal to Ed. Rogan’s critical tome regarding his unpleasant “Antiques Roadshow” ‘experiences.’

My wife and I have been serious collectors for nearly 50 years and have sold enough antiques to support our habit of buying more to improve our own collection. Over the years in the past, we have had the good fortune to win tickets which allowed us to attend three different Roadshows in Bismarck, N.D., Milwaukee and most recently last summer in Billings, Mont.

Contrary to Mr. Rogan’s experience, we have always been extremely satisfied with every aspect of Roadshow’s operations. We have been treated with endless respect and politeness by every appraiser and each member of their volunteer staff.

Since we usually stay a few days in each show’s location, our main goals in attending Roadshows are entertainment and education, not only about our antiques, but also regarding the cities in which the events are held. For example the North Dakota State Museum in Bismarck is well worth visiting. We also marveled at the crew’s ability to pull off the Billings event without a hitch immediately following the devastating tornado less than a week before.

 There can always be differing opinions regarding appraisals, particularly of unique items because appraising is not an exact science. Nor can every appraiser be an expert in everything. At times we have presented some rather common items such as samplers, jewelry, carvings and a 1679 watch … which we took in an effort to verify our own assessments via some expert opinions.

On the other hand, three items we took did present challenges for that particular appraiser. But in every case it was handled very well by summoning additional expertise from their peers. In one case, the Kenos actually took an exquisitely carved Scandinavian Porridge Container (ambar) and walked it around the hall until they found an appraiser with Norwegian expertise; after which they returned it with an estimated value of $5,000. In two other cases items were “group” assessed at $15,000 – $20,000 “and possibly more with a positive attribution.”

Twice we’ve declined to be on Roadshow because we attend them for knowledge, education and entertainment and not to “get on TV” as Mr. Rogan apparently was. Our goals were not to become “movie stars” and for security reasons, in today’s world, to identify where we’re located.

I have always been amazed by the attention and time the appraisers spent with us in spite of having lines of folks at their tables. And I was further impressed as I watched Noel Barrett very gently let an elderly lady down as he explained that her highly coveted rocking horse was a reproduction import. It was a masterful display of compassion!

Keep up the good work Roadshow!

Name withheld by request
Northern Minnesota

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