If you read our last blog post, you know that we took a trip to Omaha this past weekend for Antiques Roadshow. If you didn’t read the post (you can still find it here!), I discussed the items we were planning on bringing and gave a bit of the background story for each.
We headed to Nebraska on Friday. Our hotel was located in downtown Omaha, less than a mile from the CenturyLink Center where the Roadshow would be held the next day. As a side note, if you haven’t ever visited Omaha, you should! We enjoyed exploring the pedestrian-friendly city, eating at a local diner and walking through various parks. We also spent time at the Henry Doorly Zoo, which holds the well-earned title of “World’s Best Zoo”. We will be back, Omaha!
We headed to the CenturyLink Center at 8 AM, carrying our 8 items. We headed through the doors and stood in our first line. More than 5,000 people would stand in line that day carrying their own items, with the hopes that at least one was a hidden treasure. I spent most of my time in line peeking at the items being carried by others. I spotted a lot of interesting items, including a giant, old Havana Cigar display case which, at the moment, housed someone’s banana. I also talked a bit with the couple standing behind me. I took their picture so they could send it to their daughter - she was a true fan of the show, and had wanted to fly in to attend with one of her parents.
The first line took us to a table where specific tickets were given for each item. For example, our prints each received “Prints and Posters” tickets and our Civil War letters received an “Arms and Militaria” ticket. We would then take those tickets and stand in a specific line for each item. At the end of each line would be an appraiser to whom your item(s) in that category would be presented. When that appraisal was complete, you would move on to another line for another item.
Our first appraisal happened to be the absolute best moment of the day, so I am going to have to save it for last. So sorry.
Our second and third item landed me in the Prints and Posters line, where I stood for almost an hour. Thankfully, I stood next to an Air Force retiree who introduced himself to me. His name was James, and he had traveled with his wife to Omaha from Minnesota, just for Antiques Roadshow. This was their sixth time attending a Roadshow event! He told me all about their items, as well as items that had been appraised on previous shows. James and his wife have been collectors for many years, and he spoke of his desire to thin out their collection. He was eager to contact me after the show, and I was thrilled to hand out my very first business card.
After my hour in line, I made it to the table where I met Laura Ten Eyck, who runs the prints and maps gallery at the well-known Argosy Bookstore in Manhattan. Ten minutes before I reached her table, I watched Laura appraise a print for twenty-five to thirty THOUSAND dollars in front of rolling TV cameras. That wasn’t intimidating at all. I first presented our Perry Nature Prints for appraisal. I told her what I knew about the prints to which she replied, “Where did you learn all of that? Are you a librarian?” No ma’m, I am just a Google genius. Okay, I didn’t actually say that. I told her that my job involves a lot of research, and she said, “Oh, I see. You work with antiques!” Apparently there’s no hiding it.
Laura Ten Eyck was intrigued by the prints, and even drew Nicholas Lowry into the conversation. If you don’t know who Nicholas Lowry is, you are missing out. On this particular Saturday Mr Lowery was donning a full suit of red and yellow plaid and a handlebar mustache. Don’t believe me? Check out this picture from sunshiner73 on Instagram taken during the filming this particular episode.
Back to the prints. Laura Ten Eyck had not seen this set before and wondered if it was truly complete or not. She came to the same basic conclusion that we did: the prints are worth $3-$5 apiece, depending on the subject. Some more rare prints may bring up to $15. If we sold them as a set, they would probably bring less per print but retain more historical value. She suggested that we repair the broken box lid and figure out whether or not we have a full set in our possession.
Paid: $10 at the end of a local farm auction, after standing all day in the rain
Appraised Value: $3-$15 per print for a total of 395 prints. Total value would range from $1,188 to $1,975+ if each print was sold separately.
After the nature prints were appraised, I pulled out the Joseph Mallord William Turner print. If you recall from my previous description, we knew that this item had the possibility of being a big flop. The print was created by J.T. Willmore, a well-known engraver, and was pencil signed “Turner” on the bottom left-hand corner. Laura Ten Eyck took one look at the print and knew the original artist and his work. She began to relay specific information about his history, and said that many prints of his work had been created after his death. She also said that it was “cute” that someone had pencil signed “Turner” in the bottom corner. Haha! “Cute.” Her reason for believing that the print was not signed by the one, true JMW Turner was the fact that most prints of his work were created after his death in 1851. She did get a kick out of the fact that it was procured from a bathroom wall.
I kindly accepted her information and thanked her for her time and went on toward my next line. My head was still reeling with the information I had gathered about the Tuner print. I was almost certain that this print had been created in the 1840 ’s, possibly 10 years before Turner’s death. Could the appraiser be wrong? At the end of the day, after returning to our hotel, I quickly re-researched the print and found that it was, in fact, published in 1842, 9 years before Turner passed away. Somewhat ironically, I received an email this morning from Alice Calloway at the Tate Gallery in Britain. This gallery houses the largest collection of JMW Turner’s work in the entire world, having received them after his death. When we were preparing for the Roadshow, I had written to the Tate Gallery and asked if they had ever seen an engraving signed by Turner himself. They responded this morning in this way: “I have spoken to colleagues here and although we cannot be sure, we think that it is unlikely that Turner would have signed this print. However, without seeing an image of the signature it is difficult to confirm.” You can be sure that I will be sending them a picture of the signature very soon. It is likely that Laura Ten Eyck was spot on in her appraisal (she knows her prints), but you can be sure that I will be covering all of the bases before I move on.
Paid: $30 after removing the print from an antique shop’s bathroom wall
Appraised Value: $75
I know that some of you will hate me for leaving you hanging, but I will be saving more appraisal stories to share in the coming days. A couple of the appraisals contain enough information to create a blog post of their very own. What do you think of our adventure thus far? Would you have been pleased to receive the information that we were provided with? Let us know what you think!
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.
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