Have you ever watched Antiques Roadshow on PBS? Given all the new shows on TV about trash to treasure, I’m sure you have. At least once. It’s the grand-daddy of reality TV. And truly full of many characters.
A few years ago I got tickets to go to the Antiques Roadshow bonanza in Los Angeles. Given that every person who enters MUST have, yes, MUST in all caps, something, I had to convince my friend to scour her apartment for hidden treasures. She’s not a pirate, but she obliged. See, the rule is no something antique-y, no entry! And they have people checking your loot or giving you the boot.
I knew exactly what I wanted to take. Years prior I obtained a picture book of photos, The Face of Arizona, by Senator Barry Goldwater. He was an avid photographer, focusing mainly on Native Americans. The book I have is oversized, with a linen cover. There is an inscription in it and it is signed by Senator Goldwater.
Having met Senator Goldwater when I was in undergrad, and knowing his love of the Native American people, I was overjoyed to see his photography up close. But I didn’t know much about the book, nor the person to whom it was inscribed. I took it to the Arizona archives and the autograph was confirmed as authentic. The inscription, the archivist had no clue. He suggested it was probably someone who had been a significant contributor to Senator Goldwater’s campaign.
So when I had a chance to go to Antiques Roadshow I knew I would take my Goldwater book. I convinced my friend to fly to Los Angeles with me and go to the show. We get to the airport for our day trip and I’m schlepping this GIANT book. Seriously, the book is like 18-inches by 24-inches. It’s a gorgeous book but not your average airplane reading. My friend, on the other hand, had this tiny bag in her purse. She brought two hummel figurines.
Two Hummels! And I have this ginormous book! At least everything is manageable because we’re pretty sure this will be a long day. We get to the LA Convention Center and there are a bazillion people there with all kinds of hootenanny. Giant furniture, awkward swords, quilts, dolls, freaky things galore!
We finally get up to the front – it only took two or so hours. Before smartphones and iPods and iPads, how did we survive? We’re told we need to go to two different areas because our items are different. So first to the book people.
One look at my huge book and the appraiser has a blank stare on his face. I knew immediately, my brush with the Keno brothers wasn’t going to happen. This appraiser guy had no clue. My first tip-off was when he wasn’t sure who the author was. Well, duh! It’s Barry Goldwater. Senator-dude from Arizona! He flipped pages, made some noises and closed the book. He turned to the woman sitting next to him who suggested maybe I look up the book online.
OK, let’s talk about this ‘online’ part. If it were today, I’d have a ton of information about this book. But back then, in 2006, the information superhighway was more like Route 66 and less like the 8-lane raceway we know today. Back then you could Google to your hearts content but there wasn’t as much info out there as there is today.
So, my book is appraised at “ImNotSure” dollars and the appraiser now knows who Barry Goldwater is. I grab my book, sad that what I have isn’t some prized historical piece that will get me on to taping a segment. Instead, I have a giant book with amazing, unique, historically-significant, and rare images signed by the late, great Barry Goldwater himself.
With book in hand, we’re off to the Hummel appraiser. My friend only brought them because she had to have something. They belonged to her mom so she figured she should have them looked at. Evidently there are books (and now websites) where you can easily find the value of Hummel figurines. Two minutes later, she’s told her figures are nice and worth a few bucks. Our brush with Antiques Roadshow fame was not to be. Not even one of the ‘sucker segments’. Now we only wished that these Hummels were the fakeist of fake reproductions of the most rare Hummels so we could still get on TV. Alsas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Luckily we were out before noon and headed to Venice Beach for lunch and people watching. It was a beautiful day, we had lunch by the beach and dinner at LAX at Encounter. That funky restaurant in the middle of all the parking. Our view was great, the food was good and the best part was we watched the beautiful sun set over airplanes arriving and departing. It was like we were in the movies.
I still have the book, my friend still has the Hummels and we had a great time going to the Antiques Roadshow. It was a fun day-trip to LA and look at the other side of a popular television show.
Have you ever been on TV or gone to a taping of a TV show? I’m sure there is some cool story, so why not share!