Every year for the past few years, our entire RoofTop Antiques crew has signed up in an attempt to obtain tickets to the Antiques Roadshow tour. If you aren’t aware of how it all works, the Roadshow has an application process at the beginning of every year. You apply for tickets to the tour stop in the city nearest you, and pray that you are one of the randomly selected ticket recipients. If you are chosen to attend the event, you will receive two tickets. This year, my dad and I were both randomly selected! We ended up with a total of 4 tickets to the tour stop in Omaha, Nebraska on June 27th.
Each ticket allows entry for one person and each person may bring two items. We started the brainstorming process back in April and created a list of possible items to take along. We want to be very careful with our selections, and may make changes to our item choices at the last minute. Participating in the Roadshow is a fairly rare opportunity. You spend the day in the presence of some of the world’s best antique appraisers in every category imaginable. Those appraisers take the time to view your items and present you with as much information as possible. The last thing we want (especially as members of a business RoofTop ANTIQUES) is to stand in front of one of those appraisers with a dud. We would like to show them something that they have never seen before, or at least something that sparks their interest.
We have no real desire to be on television, but we probably would not decline if the opportunity arose. Our true hope is to make connections with appraisers, collectors and fellow sellers and fans. Having the right items on hand could help us make more solid connections. So what are we bringing? Here is our Top 8 list of thus far:
Costa Rican Lidded Bowl
This bowl was an estate sale find. The seller was an educator who traveled all over the world. What makes this bowl most interesting is the hand-written note we found on the inside:
This small bowl was given to Elizabeth at 7:00 am by a High School Costa Rican. He had attended
an active meeting with his brother the night before. It inspired him because of his problem solving & creativity. Therefore, he wanted Elizabeth to have this tiny bowl which he had found digging in the mountains. It is over 1,000 years old.
The problem? We have absolutely no idea if the bowl is truly that old. If it was, it would obviously be an incredible find.
Blacksmith Oil on Canvas Painting
This painting is a personal favorite of mine. It was purchased at the same estate sale as the Costa Rican bowl. It is an oil painting on canvas. It appears to be signed, but it is very faint and illegible. The metal frame stretcher corners on the back of this piece bear a patent year of 1885. Not knowing the name of the artist makes it difficult to impossible to research this painting.
JMW Turner Print
This print has eluded me for over a year. It is a print of a piece painted by Joseph Mallord William Turner. The original painting is an oil on canvas titled Dido and Aeneas, which was first exhibited in 1814. Just to get you in the same mindset in which I currently reside, I will tell you that one of JMW Turner’s original paintings sold at Sotheby’s in 2013 for $4,562,500. This is not an original painting, but that number is still intriguing, no?
Back to our print - the engraving used to create this print was beautifully made by J.T. Willmore, a well-known printmaker. Willmore created engravings of many of Turner’s paintings. This piece, though, is different. Most prints created by Willmore had the name of the original artist printed in the lower left-hand corner, but this piece is pencil signed “Turner”. After hours of research, I have been unable to find anything else like this. Could our print truly bear the signature of JMW Turner? Or will we end up feeling silly for taking a $30 print with a fake signature to Antiques Roadshow?
My favorite thing about this print is probably the story behind its acquisition: my dad bought it straight off of the bathroom wall at an antique mall.
Perry Nature Prints
This is a collection 395 of bird and nature prints. They are all copyright pre-1900 making them true-blue antiques. The prints are lovely and have a photographic quality. We believe that these were originally marketed to schools and libraries and used to interest children in the outdoors. We have been unable to find another collection of these prints elsewhere, so we do not know if our set is complete or missing pieces.
This is a fantastic collection of 22 watercolor paintings signed “Bimson”. The set came from the estate sale of an avid collector of 18th and 19th century artwork. We have been unable to find any information about an artist bearing the name Bimson. I am secretly hoping that these paintings aren’t worth much so I can buy them and take them home. I. Love. Them.
If nothing else, this item would offer some entertainment value to the sometimes slow day in the life of an appraiser. These are composite sketches of suspected criminals from the Reno Police Department. The sketches were created by well known composite artist, Harlan Embrey (1924-1997). Embry was highly regarded in his trade, and was often “loaned out” to other jurisdictions and agencies. He spent time working for various police departments and sheriff’s offices, as well as for the FBI and DEA. Each drawing includes the corresponding case number. At least one case was extremely high profile, and even has a cult like following to this day (see more about the Keddie Murders here).
Flora Baker Painting
This is simply a lovely painting that we are interested in learning more about. It is a framed watercolor with a Black Americana theme. It is signed by artist Flora Baker and dated 1868.
Civil War Letters
For the grand finale, we present a project that we have worked on off and on for over a year. On a rainy day in April of 2014, we acquired a collection of 116 letters written during the Civil War. We knew that we had something special, but we didn’t know just how special until we began to read. The letters were all written to Elizabeth (Lee) Smith primarily by a man named Jasper Newton Smith. As we read, we were greeted with fascinating tales of battle and war strategy. We were gleefully surprised to also find a love story unfolding between a Union soldier and a woman back home.
The letters detail Elizabeth and Jasper’s courtship, which leads to their marriage in the middle of the war. The letters share the struggles of life on the move in a war-torn country. We read of the capture and assumed death of Jasper, only to be reunited with his words and the story of his survival. These letters have captured our attention and our hearts, and we cannot wait to share more about them with you.
Will these 8 items be heading to Antiques Roadshow in 2 short days? Let us know what you think. Which item is your favorite? Or, if you had the opportunity to visit the Roadshow, what items would you bring?
To read about our first two appraisals, you can read the post here.
We continued sharing our appraisals in the next post, found here.
If you are interested in hearing more, this post details our beloved collection of Civil War letters and the assessment we received at the Roadshow.
You can read this post detailing the most exciting moment of our time spent at Antiques Roadshow. I like to call it the "that time we almost made it on TV but they didn't want us to get arrested" story.
You can also read what we learned from our trip to Antiques Roadshow in this post.
Frankly, I am not fond of monkeys. They affect me the way spiders and snakes affect other people. The flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” and the rogue monkeys in Robin Williams’s “Jumanji” were menacing to me, and I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to see them.