Antiques Roadshow showcases Grand Rapids

THE APPRAISAL PLEASE—Charles Tearle, a Roadshow clock and watch appraiser, gives Squire reporter, Nancy Hill, the low-down on her great-great grandfather’s solid gold pocket watch.

THE APPRAISAL PLEASE—Charles Tearle, a Roadshow clock and watch appraiser, gives Squire reporter, Nancy Hill, the low-down on her great-great grandfather’s solid gold pocket watch.

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

Stand aside Dancing With The Stars.  For the next three consecutive Monday nights (April 20, 27, and May 4), during the time slot of the hugely popular ABC network dance show, West Michigan television viewers will have their sets tuned to WGVU Public Television’s most popular show, The Antiques Roadshow. 

Readers will recall The Squire’s coverage of the first ever visit of the Antiques Roadshow to Grand Rapids, MI, August 9 of last year. The Rockford Squire was there to cover that event.  Judy Matthews, the show’s Senior Publicist, said at the time, “We have received an overwhelming response in Grand Rapids. 27,000 tickets were requested for the event, a record number unsurpassed by any city in the Roadshow’s history.” 

In a random drawing 3,400 lucky people had each received two free tickets to the DeVos Place event. Also holding tickets were a limited number of people who had made a minimum $200 donation to WGVU Public Television to receive just one ticket. Each ticket holder was asked to bring no more than two of his or her “treasures” for appraisal. But somehow that limit was exceeded Matthews related saying, “By the end of the show the 70 appraisers on hand had looked at between14,000 to 20,000 items (another record).”

Recently, The Squire was fortunate enough to receive a Press Preview CD (screener) of the upcoming three Grand Rapids episodes in their entirety.  With a bowl of popcorn between us, your reporters sat down one recent evening to prescreen the three one-hour segments. 

Your reporters are avid Antiques Roadshow viewers and what we were struck by, and what viewers should watch for, was what seemed to us an unusually high-average value placed on the individual on-air appraisals. Grand Rapids must be a treasure trove of antiques, many hidden away in attics, basements and garages. Those lucky enough to have their items appraised on-air exhibited genuine West Michigan appreciation and outright enthusiasm. 

We won’t disclose our favorite appraisals or the segments they are in, but here are three examples that really raised our eyebrows. An 1881 Jasper Cropsey oil painting depicting the Hudson River Valley was appraised at $300,000.  A 1905 pair of Carl Faberge cufflinks converted later to earrings was appraised at $40,000 to $50,000.  And, if you can believe it – of all things, an extremely rare cold air return/register designed and installed by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co. valued at upwards of $50,000.  The owner of this last item stood there after the appraisal and said in a stunned voice, “Really?! Really?! Really?!”  Throughout the three segments the most common response heard was, “Unbelievable!” As with all Roadshow programs, we found the history/provenance of appraised items just as compelling as the values learned.

Each of the three Grand Rapids episodes paid a visit to an area antique venue. One was the Grand Rapids Public Museum that displays a huge collection of Grand Rapids made furniture. Another was the Gilmore Car Museum where highly collectable antique hood ornaments were featured. And finally, Dutch Blue Delft Pottery was highlighted at the Holland Museum.

We won’t say if we were able to identify anyone we personally know, but as you watch the three Grand Rapids’ Roadshow episodes see if you can single out anyone you recognize. While we were at the event last August, we did spot Rockford Mayor Janice (Chi-Chi) Rogers pulling a treasure-laden wagon to assigned category appraisal stations. (Yes, she had exceeded the two-item limit, we won’t say by how many!) Also spotted was Rockford’s Sally Charnley, of Burlap N’ Rags fame, waiting for an appraisal of Great-Great-Great Uncle Abel Bowen’s woodcuttings.

Erika Denn, Antiques Roadshow Account Executive, tells us the Grand Rapids’ Roadshow episodes will not disappoint as each revels new hidden treasures from West Michigan.  We heartily agree.

GR’s Antiques Roadshow will air at 8 p.m. on three consecutive Monday nights, beginning April 20 on Public Television’s WGVU.

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