Groupies, prepare to get your antique on.
Just like the Rolling Stones, the appraisers featured on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” have avid fans who flock to wherever their favorite antiques experts are touring, says Marsha Bemko, executive producer of the show.
This Saturday, they’re coming to Baton Rouge, where the show will film three episodes for season 18, which launches next January.
The popular Keno brothers, Leigh and Leslie, will be on hand, as will the pony-tailed Noel Barrett and Asian art expert Jim Callahan.
“Oh, (Callahan) has an enormous amount of groupies,” Bemko says. “Any age, any gender, they all have groupies.”
Between 5,000 and 6,000 people are expected for the day-long event at the River Center. There are no more tickets, which were all distributed by the local PBS affiliate Louisiana Public Broadcasting. But show host Mark L. Walberg, some of the appraisers and show producers will be at a LPB fundraiser social tonight.
Lucky ones who did get a free ticket for the Saturday sessions will have a chance to have two of their treasured items assessed by the appraisers, and be given a dollar value on each piece.
Those familiar with the show know that, sometimes, the appraisals can be surprising, even shocking.
In 2011 in Tulsa, Okla., five rhinoceros horn cups were estimated to be worth a “Roadshow” record $1 million-$1.5 million.
But the show has only hit the seven-figure mark once.
“Most of what we see, and I’m going to be generous, is worth less than $500,” Bemko says. “Unless you bring a real puzzler, you’ll leave knowing more than when you came in. We’ll put their expectations into place and that’s it. Chances are they can expect not to retire based on what they hear the value of their object is.
“I know most people bring their treasured items,” she adds, “and they won’t sell them no matter what they hear, no matter what it’s worth.”
As for what kind of items ticket-holders should bring to have appraised, Bemko says it should be something you’re really curious about. But don’t, the producers warn, bring stamps, fossils, bicycles or cars. Or explosives.
“This is a chance to be in the room with 70 of the country’s top experts,” Bemko says, adding this advice: “Don’t try to impress them so they’ll pitch your item for TV because it’s so great, because these are people who sell five-, six-, seven-figure objects in their everyday life.”
Bemko says she’s hoping to see a lot of treasures from Louisiana that will surprise and teach her about things she doesn’t know.
“I imagine we’ll see a lot of Civil War items, a lot of southern made items. We’ll see things from your surrounding states as well. But stuff has feet and we know that when families migrate, whether they’re migrating west or another direction, they’ll take their best things with them. So you will see Boston furniture in Baton Rouge, and you’ll see Baton Rouge items in Boston,” she says.
“We never pick a location based on thinking there will be great antiques in that city. We always find great things,” Bemko adds.
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