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Antiques Roadshow 2012

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Antiques Roadshow 2012, My interactions with fans I meet in airports have changed dramatically since I became the host of Antiques Roadshow on PBS. When I hosted train-wreck reality shows like Fox’s Temptation Island or The Moment of Truth, I would get comments like, “Aren’t you Mark from that horrible show I love! OMG! (they actually say ‘OH EM GEE’) How many times have contestants punched you?” Or my favorite, which continues today and is completely unrelated to this topic, “Did you know there’s another guy with the same name as you?” Love that one. It’s awesome sharing a name with a movie star with washboard abs.

But now, as host of America’s beloved Roadshow for the past seven seasons, things have changed dramatically. People I meet don’t say hello. They don’t introduce themselves. They simply push up their shirtsleeves and announce, “My grandfather gave me this watch. What’s it worth?” And then they tell me they love me on The Bachelor. I guess I look like Chris Harrison. “Sorry, that’s not me. I have no idea who’s getting a rose this week, and more importantly, I don’t know how much your watch is worth either.”

Truth is, I know only a tiny bit more about antiques today than I did seven years ago when I started this journey. Many of the appraisers we feature on Roadshow are third-generation experts. The knowledge they’ve amassed can’t be learned in one lifetime. They are amazing. Kooky, but amazing. You see, when you spend so much time laser-focused on one area of collecting, other parts of your “social tapestry” can atrophy a bit. It makes for a colorful crowd around the bar at the end of a Roadshow tour stop filled with experts who’ve become my dearest friends and patient mentors. They’ve tried to teach me about antiques but what I’ve learned is about value.

The key factors that dictate value in the antiques and collectibles market are Authenticity, Rarity, Condition and Provenance. When old things are true, one of a kind, been cared for, and have a story to tell, they become priceless. If not, they become that chest of drawers with a cigarette burn on it that smells like mothballs you inherited from your grandmother. Sentimental, but not valuable.

On the road, the appraisers see the treasures. I see the people. I meet them on location where we shoot and in the local diners we visit. My Roadshow experience is filled with priceless personalities, not Rembrandts or Civil war muskets. Although muskets are awesome. Just saying. What I’ve learned is the four things that make antiques valuable hold true for people too.

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