Antiques Road Show

Terry Hurley
CU Camerman

PBS' spectacularly popular television program Antiques Road Show visits towns throughout the United States, allowing participants to bring in items for appraisal. Hopefuls arrive with every type of object, from family heirlooms and antiques hidden away in the attic to garage sale finds and flea market bargains, for experts to evaluate and perhaps proclaim priceless.

Antiques Road Show History

The American television program is based on Great Britain's long-running BBC show of the same name, while other countries, including Canada and Sweden, have their own versions. In the United States, the series began production in the summer of 1996. Back then, as the crew traveled from town to town, the producers had trouble finding guests, but over 1,000 people lined up in the last city to have their antiques appraised, a foreshadow of things to come. The program appeared on television early the following year and became a big hit.

About Antiques Road Show

Produced by WGBH Boston, Antiques Road Show and has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards. The program is currently hosted by Mark Walberg, while its executive producer is Marsha Bemko. Each year the show holds appraisal events in six cities throughout the country and presents a full season of new episodes.

Broadcast Schedule

To view the broadcast schedule in your area:

  • Visit the PBS Antiques Road Show website.
  • Point your cursor at the section On TV and click on Schedule.
  • Enter your zip code and follow the online instructions for you specific cable company or dish network.

Tickets to the Summer Tour

Tickets are available free of charge by mailing a postcard or through the online application. However, not everyone that applies for tickets is chosen to receive them. Selected applicants are chosen by a random drawing and receive two tickets to the show. To view the rules and regulations of ticket applications and all additional information regarding attending the show:

  • Visit the Antique Road Show website.
  • Click on the OnTour link.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Tour FAQ.

Attending the Show

  • Guests are allowed to bring two items for appraisal, as long as they can be carried and fit through the door.
  • Furniture is a different matter, with a photograph of the piece required beforehand for selection.
  • The show has become so large that there are long waits in lines, so care must be taken to properly pack antiques for transportation. According to their website, 70 to 80 appraisers in 20 categories see 500 people each hour.

What Goes On

In the auditorium where the program is videotaped, appraisers confer with the executive producer about objects they feel will be of interest. Only a small percentage of the many guests are selected to go in front of the camera, but not all of these make the final cut for broadcast.

For the videotaping, a specialist discusses the antique with the owner, then talks about the item and its worth. Chris Jussell, a previous host, wrote in one of the books from the television series that he is surprised how most guests are more interested in finding out their antique's history and how to take care of the item than its monetary worth. Likewise, the appraisers on the road get caught up in the excitement of what jaw-dropping treasure might be brought in next. Finally, no selling goes on at the show, but business cards are available as well as other information about the appraisers who participate.

Related to the Road Show

  • Antiques Road Show FYI: This informative television signoff visits auction houses and antique shows all over the United States.
  • Unique Antiques and Jackpot!: Two specials about highlights from previous seasons.
  • House Calls Sweepstakes: A contest where appraisers go to the winner's homes to evaluate their antiques.

Several books have been published by Antiques Road Show, including:

  • Antiques Road Show Primer: The Introductory Guide to Antiques and Collectibles from the Most-Watched Series on PBS by Carol Prisant
  • Antiques Road Show 20th Century Collectibles: The Complete Guide to Collecting 20th-Century Toys, Glassware, Costume Jewelry, Memorabilia, Ceramics & More from the Most-Watched Series on PBS by Carol Prisant
  • The Antiques Road Show: A Celebration of the First 21 Years by Fiona Malcolm. This is from the British show.

It is interesting to note that most people use the misspelled Antiques Road Show when searching for additional information about this popular, long-running show.

A Learning Experience

Whether you are an avid collector of antiques or have one or two pieces that you simply treasure, watching the Antiques Road Show offers a way to learn more about many of the items from yesteryear. Who knows, you may even be chosen to bring one of your special treasures into the show to find out its monetary value.

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Antiques Road Show