Antiques Roadshow Needs to Appraise the Appraisers

That Rug You Found in a Dumpster is Worth $125,000

“I was just trying to get on television,” says über-collector and longtime eBay hawker Duane Dimock. It was while haunting Kobey’s swap meet and the garage-sailing circuit that Dimock first heard that the TV program Antiques Roadshow would be filming in San Diego.

The fortyish entrepreneur and urban archivist has spent most of his adult life selling pop-culture collectibles and vintage boomer memorabilia out of his home, first in Mira Mesa and currently Morena Park. “It’s a good living, it pays the month-to-month bills,” he says. “It was a lot better before eBay came along to raid everyone’s attic and basement. Stuff that used to be extremely rare became more common and less in demand.”

A self-employed, self-described hoarder, Dimock hasn’t held an outside job in over 25 years. Mostly known as an expert in advertising personalities and TV memorabilia, he’s hosted a local internet show about eBaying, authored several collectors’ price guides; under a pseudonym, he also cowrote the Monkees Scrapbook, a biography of the pre-fab foursome that has gone through multiple printings.

His house bursting its load-bearing walls with stacks of collectibles and kitsch, Dimock was excited to learn that Antiques Roadshow would be filming at the downtown Convention Center in June 2010. As before attending any unfamiliar convention or swap meet, he began by researching the event online.

“The show officially started out as Chubb’s Antiques Roadshow, sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies,” says Dimock. “You can get all your collectibles insured by this reputable insurance company because they supposedly know collectibles and antiques. And they launched a TV show with appraisers…any insurance company can insure your treasures, but Chubb was smarter than the other companies by exploiting the value aspect on television.”

Roadshow debuted in 1997 and now claims around 11 million viewers each week, the most popular prime-time show on PBS. Value estimates on the program are provided by Roadshow volunteers, including independent antique dealers with specialty expertise, as well as auction-house employees from firms like Christie’s, Skinner, Doyle New York, and Sotheby’s.

It should be noted that “appraisal” isn’t an entirely accurate description of what goes on at the Roadshow. According to their website, the price estimates offered by volunteers, though often referred to as “appraisals” on-air, are actually “verbal approximations of value…technically, an appraisal is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.”

Around 100 volunteers are recruited to help operate most Roadshow events. According to Dimock, “Most of the 80 or so appraisers fly into town on their own dime. Each appraiser is paid exactly nothing to show up, no travel money, no food money, and no lodging money. Just plain nothing.”

This information got him wondering. “Why would any sane person leave their home for three to five days to see thousands of babbling idiots pushing stuff in front of them and not get paid a cent? Well, every time an appraiser gets shown on TV, the more exposure he or she gets, and the more well known they become. The more well known, the more appraising jobs that person can get. A qualified and recognized appraiser can make a lot of money.”

Several Roadshow vets, from both the U.S. program and its U.K. incarnation, have built up substantial cults of celebrity.

Twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno are frequently greeted with Beatlesque cheers when they first enter a hall being hosted by the Roadshow crew. Tribal arts specialist Bruce Shackelford, a show volunteer since its first season, is regularly commissioned to curate gallery and traveling art exhibits and to write about his interests for publications such as Southwest Art Magazine and Conquistador, a journal of Spanish horses.

Although Roadshow rules forbid volunteer value specialists from purchasing items brought into the show, working for free can pay off for the more esteemed estimators.

“Say a well-known appraiser certifies a collection as being worth around $300,000,” says Dimock, “and someone buys it. The appraiser will get from one to ten percent of that value for putting their name on the collection. That’s $3000 to $30,000.”

The high stakes occasionally lead to scandal. In 2002, frequent show volunteer Russell Pritchard III pleaded guilty to making false appraisals on the program and defrauding Civil War collectors. The antique dealer was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to repay $830,000 in illicit profits. Prosecutors allege he may have pocketed as much as $1.5 million by lowballing value estimates on air and then brokering sales at a much higher rate — for a paid percentage.

Another Roadshow rogue, the late Wayne Pratt, pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax violations related to the purchase of a condo owned by one-time Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland.

Resolved to get himself and a handful of rare goodies into the filming, Dimock watched several dozen episodes, hoping to gauge what sort of items (and item-bearers) tend to make the broadcast cut. “By watching the show, you can figure out why certain appraisals end up being taped and broadcast…I wasn’t interested in value, I didn’t want information, and I wasn’t going to play ‘stump the appraiser’ with some obscure item or jump up and down over their appraisal while claiming, ‘I only paid a nickel for that.’ My one and only motivation was to see how many items I could get on TV.”

To that end, he attended two Antiques Roadshow tapings in San Diego, the first on June 30, 2001, the second, and more recent, on June 12, 2010.

Obtaining tickets can be difficult. “Between 6500 and 7000 passes are given out free for each show,” he says. “[You get them] by calling a phone line on the on-sale date. Most cities sell out in 10 to 30 minutes. Each household can have four tickets, which means it might take only 1750 calls to exhaust the ticket supply. Nobody is allowed into the taping without a ticket, each ticket holder can only bring one or two items, and no children are allowed unless accompanied by an item.

“That means up to 14,000 items [for a given event]. Even if I could get my four tickets and recruit three more people to carry in items with me, I’d have only a .057 percent chance of air time. Not very good odds. They get even slimmer with only about 50 pieces being shown on the three broadcast episodes edited from each day of shooting.

“At this point, I would have to consult a mathematician to assess by how many decimal points my chances of getting on TV had declined.”

Diane and Monte Murbach (left) with oil painting of Kirk Douglas from 1957 film Top Secret Affair; Duane Dimock (center) holding Big Loo

Diane and Monte Murbach (left) with oil painting of Kirk Douglas from 1957 film Top Secret Affair; Duane Dimock (center) holding Big Loo

At the 2001 Roadshow taping, ticket holders lined up outside Convention Center Halls A and B. Dimock’s antiquing accomplices included his wife Susan Mendolia, his sister Diane Murbach, and her husband Monte Murbach.

He had chosen four items he felt had the best odds of landing him airtime: a 36"x40" framed oil painting of Kirk Douglas that was featured prominently in the 1957 film Top Secret Affair; a set of 1960s Nabisco Rice Honeys and Wheat Honeys cereal boxes featuring the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine; a Tarzan pulp-art oil painting with lettered title Tarzan and the Jungle Queen that was published in a 1956 magazine; and a Big Loo toy robot from 1962, three feet tall and in the original Marx box, considered one of the most desirable items in the sci-fi and robot collector’s market.

Big Loo, 3-foot tall toy robot from 1962

Big Loo, 3-foot tall toy robot from 1962

Says Dimock, “Susan had the Tarzan painting, Diane had the Beatles cereal boxes, Monte was carrying the Kirk Douglas painting, and I was wheeling my three-foot-tall robot.”

Susan describes taking the Tarzan artwork to Paintings and Drawings. “They said, yes, it was an oil painting, but they didn’t know anything about it. So, since it was Tarzan, they sent me to Collectibles.”

A woman at that table performed a brief inspection (“less than a minute”) and informed Susan that she wanted a co-volunteer to examine the painting. “He looked at the front and said it was the original art for a movie half-sheet and then typed the title Tarzan and the Jungle Queen on his laptop.”

At this point, at least four Roadshow volunteer appraisers had handled the painting, without anyone checking the backside to read the signed and dated publisher’s stamp, clearly identifying it as coming from the July 1956 issue of Male Magazine.

“The volunteer couldn’t find the movie title on his computer, so he looked up the artist’s name but couldn’t find that either. Then he told me it could be from a book or periodical and that they weren’t very collectible.” Around this time, the volunteer was approached to do an on-camera appraisal nearby.

“He became very distracted, and that’s when I finally turned the painting over and showed him the writing and stamp on the back. Still acting distracted, he said, ‘Oh, it must be from one of those old men’s periodicals, $200 to $400,’ and then he walked away from me to start taping something.” None of her encounter was filmed.

Next up was Diane at the Collectibles table, with the Beatles cereal boxes. She recalls: “An older gentleman started checking them out, and I told him the boxes had come from the original owner in San Francisco, were sold to a man in Boston, and then made it back to San Diego. He told me that the cereal box market had fallen, so the boxes weren’t worth that much, maybe $50 to $100 for the pair.”

When I talked to Dimock about the Beatles boxes, he smugly retorted, “That [later] became my biggest collectible sale of all time, when I sold the pair for $5000!”

Back at the Roadshow, Monte carried the Kirk Douglas movie prop to the Paintings and Drawings table. “They sent me away with ‘The frame and painting are not in good shape, very little value as a painting, maybe $100 to $200, but make sure to take it over to Collectibles.’”

Doing as instructed, Monte says, “A woman did a quick look and tried calling over another man, but he was doing a videotaped interview with someone else and clearly preferred that [being on camera]. This time, I was able to explain that the painting was an original prop from the 1957 movie Top Secret Affair.

“Kirk Douglas is painted as his character, a two-star general, and I told her the artwork was seen in the film quite a bit…she told me she really didn’t know a lot about Hollywood props but that, with verification of the facts, she would give a value of $400 to $600.”

Once again, the inspection and estimate wasn’t filmed. Three items down, one to go.

“Finally,” says Dimock, “it was my turn, with my three-foot-tall robot. Big Loo is futuristic, towering, and the big colorful box should be perfect for television. I even had a great childhood story of always getting mad at my sister for dressing my menacing Big Loo in her dolls’ clothes. Robot blasphemy!

“I wheeled Loo to the first appraiser that took me but ran into an immediate hitch. I had met the appraiser before at a toy show, and he also recognized me, which meant he wasn’t allowed to appraise my item. He passed me to another volunteer, but that guy didn’t want to look at it either, saying it was out of his area [of expertise].”

Dimock says, “My plan had been thwarted by a chance encounter with someone who knew me. However, even though the guy had a conflict of interest that prevented him from doing the estimate, he motioned the roving camera to come over anyway. Pretty soon, they decided that shots of the robot itself were good enough for a one-minute roll, even though there wasn’t going to be an on-camera appraisal.”

That meant Big Loo might appear on the eventual TV broadcast. But what about Dimock?

“I signed a release form, still photos were taken, and I was videotaped for a possible spot. But that still didn’t ensure I would be getting on TV.”

Dimock returned to the convention center later that day with one more item to run through the guessing gauntlet, having scalped an additional entrance ticket. His final broadcast bait: a 1917 box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix, unopened and in mint condition.

When the African-American volunteer took the box from its protective plastic bag, Dimock says, “You could see he was thoroughly pleased to hold and see it. He spent over five minutes explaining that it dates from before Quaker Oats owned Aunt Jemima and that this was probably the first box used to sell [the pancake mix].

“He said he’d never seen such an early Aunt Jemima box and raved about how it was in such primo, beautiful condition. His value estimate was $200.”

However, neither the praise nor the estimate pleased Dimock. “If they tell you a value without the cameras on, they’re not going to film you. They want to catch the surprise or disappointment on people’s faces when they find out what their junk is supposed to be worth.”

The Roadshow volunteer also handed him a business card. “He said, ‘If you ever want to donate it to our Black History Museum, just get a hold of me.’”

Dimock was later offered $600 for the Aunt Jemima box. Neither he nor his items appeared in the resultant Roadshow episodes.

Nine years later, when he returned to the convention center on June 12, 2010, “The Roadshow was set up in the middle of the hall, like a circled wagon train getting ready for an Indian attack. Huge lights went all around the partially walled 300-foot-wide, 20-to-25-foot-high encampment. Like a giant octopus, several lines [of people] sprouted out, different lengths and at random angles. The largest line by far was the one for Paintings, with around 200 people…. We were taken to the Collectibles line, which stood about 30 people long.

“Five large TV screens were placed around the hall for entertainment and anti-boredom while waiting. They showed previous episodes, fun trivia, and annoying ads, mostly for insurance. Pictures could be taken in the lines, but no pictures or videotaping was allowed in the appraising hall.”

Dimock had arrived carrying a cardboard file drawer full of ’70s television memorabilia, theorizing that TV-related rarities might finally — hopefully — land him on TV.

Obtained from musical conductor Jim Helms, of the cult western TV show Kung Fu, the box included around a half dozen reel-to-reel tapes with two-track production music used in the pilot and in episodes like “The Elixir” (1973) and “Blood of the Dragon” (1974). Also in the box were Helms’s own hand-annotated Kung Fu scripts, sheet music with handwritten lyrics, and original production cue sheets.

It took about 30 minutes in the Collectibles line before Dimock was able to talk to Roadshow volunteer Rudy Franchi about an appraisal. Or rather, a “verbal approximation of value.”

Franchi, who’s been hitting the Roadshow since its first season, has become well known among viewers for his collection of comics-character neckties. He co-authored Miller’s Movie Collectibles, a guide to collecting movie posters, Hollywood autographs, and props, and he and his wife Barbara are currently working with Heritage Galleries of Dallas, directing their movie-poster staff and organizing auctions.

So Franchi seemed well qualified to gauge the probable value of Dimock’s Kung Fu lot, and in fact his estimate was in the $3000 to $4000 range. Encouraged, Dimock once again brought out the 1950s Tarzan and the Jungle Queen painting, confident that Franchi was knowledgeable enough to vastly improve on the previous lowball quote of $200 to $400.

However —

“I had put the Tarzan painting on one side of a 27" by 41" cardboard holder used to hold movie posters. While the appraiser was looking at the painting, his attention was distracted by the poster holder I had off to the side. He said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘Nothing, it’s just a poster holder.’

“He insisted again to look at it, and I was annoyed, [because] it’s just a poster holder. He said, ‘What’s on the other side?’ and I said, ‘Just a poster that was left in the holder.’ I turned it around to show him the Lost in Translation movie poster from 2003. He said, ‘Yes, let me look at that,’ and I rolled my eyes, thinking these guys are more off than I thought. He asked how much I paid for it, and I said, ‘I don’t know, the poster came with the holder, so maybe a couple of bucks.’

“He went on to say, ‘This is the first version of the Lost in Translation poster, fairly scarce and worth around $200.’ Susan and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows — well, that was amusing, an accidental appraisal.”

∗ ∗ ∗

A few other locals described taking their potential treasures onto the Roadshow.

Original price on this 1960 Roy Rogers comic book was 10¢.

Original price on this 1960 Roy Rogers comic book was 10¢.

Larry Cisewski decided to crash the event without a ticket, purchasing a 2:30 pass from a woman in line for $15. He carried a Western shirt once owned by cowboy hero Roy Rogers, as seen in several published photos and on a comic magazine cover accompanying the item.

In 1953, the Roy Rogers Fan Club sponsored a contest wherein fans who recruited the most new club members would win prizes. Second-place prize was Rogers’s personal shirt, made exclusively for him in 1947 and well known among the cowboy’s devoted fans. Larry purchased the shirt directly from the girl who’d won it, along with all attendant fan-club newsletters, photos, and magazine stories referencing the contest and its winner.

According to Larry, “After waiting in line with everyone for over two hours, I was met by a younger blond-haired fellow, and I asked him if he knew who Roy Rogers was. He said ‘Yes,’ and I laid out the comics, magazines, and photos one at a time, telling him the background story. I finished by pulling the shirt out of my bag, and he took it and kept saying, ‘This is great, this is great.’ He carried the shirt over to show an older guy, and they talked for a few minutes. Then, the older guy came over to ask me if I wanted to be on TV. I said, ‘Yeah, sure!’”

However, while walking with the younger blond volunteer toward a makeup station to prep for taping, Larry was asked where he obtained the shirt.

“When I said eBay, Blondie stopped immediately, asked if I could stay put for a second, excused himself, and went back to the older guy who had offered to put me on TV.”

The young volunteer finally returned several moments later. “He started apologizing, saying, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we can’t use it because of conflicts of interest. It was purchased on eBay.’ He never explained what that meant but just kept apologizing and saying they couldn’t film the inspection and estimate.

“I was mad and disappointed. Nothing was posted anywhere saying that it mattered where you got something. I had wasted my afternoon for no reason. To top it off, the older man who approved me for filming didn’t even have the respect or guts to come over and apologize.”

No estimated value for the Roy Rogers shirt was ever quoted, on or off camera.

When Gwen Gibbs of Morena Park hit the Roadshow, she was carrying two crunchy collectibles: the very first Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box from 1906, along with a Post Toasties package from 1917, both complete, with all flaps intact.

She recalls: “With all the TV lights and such, it was like Disneyland. When it was my turn, a middle-aged blonde woman looked at the boxes and asked where they came from. I told her they’d been hidden behind a framed picture for years, until the frame had been changed and they were discovered behind the backing. I pointed out the 1906 date printed on one of the Kellogg’s flaps, as she didn’t seem to see it at first.

“I had researched a little, and a biographical book on the Kellogg family indicated this was the first cereal box they ever produced. I tried pointing this out to her, but she didn’t seem to hear me. I got the impression she just wanted to get this over with soon. Her appraisal for the 1906 Kellogg’s box was $30 to $40, and the 1917 Post Toasties box was $5 to $10. I said thank you and left.”

1960s Nabisco Wheat Honeys featuring Beatles' memorabilia

1960s Nabisco Wheat Honeys featuring Beatles' memorabilia

A brand-new box of corn flakes at Vons costs around $5.

When Dimock hears about the cereal slight, he’s apoplectic with indignation. “Think about the indescribable scarcity of the Kellogg’s box, over a hundred years old, an item that everyone just threw into the trash. Something that nobody in the world would have thought to collect, until just recently. The first-ever product box produced by the first-ever cereal company, today the largest cereal producer in the world, and a completely intact and preserved box at that. Thirty to $40…what was she thinking?! And the Post Toasties box at $5 to $10?

“I sometimes make photocopied reproductions of food-product boxes for retail stores or as theatrical props, and I usually get paid at least $25 apiece for those…I’ve never seen these two boxes on the open market, but I’d estimate the Kellogg’s as probably worth $300 to $800 and the Post Toasties box at $100 to $200.”

This collection of botanical illustrations was published in 1613 and valued between $250,000 and $300,000.

This collection of botanical illustrations was published in 1613 and valued between $250,000 and $300,000.

The three San Diego episodes shot in June 2010 are slated to air on January 24, 31, and February 7, 2011. “The accidental appraisal has the best chance of being on TV,” says Dimock.

“I still can’t believe all the mistakes they made and how faulty the price estimates were, at least for the stuff that got as far as actual appraisals. And they all have laptops now, with access to so much web information! Each of us going into the convention center knew more about the items and about what they were actually worth than any of the so-called experts from the TV show.”

During the most recent taping, “While some appraisers were giving me the lopsided appraisals, what kept popping into my mind was the Beatles boxes and how I sold them for 50 times their appraised value. I just kept nodding my head.

“What I was really thinking was Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

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Comments

did not know and this is great background for San Diego's visit from the Antique Road Show

Antiques Road Show used to be my favorite PBS program, but History Detectives replaced it.

Both shows are top notch IMO.

i love that one 2 Pupster...but my faves r the British Masterpiece Theatres

It's getting harder to find treasures in trash, ironically in part because Antiques Roadshow's successful formula has educated so many people about memorabilia markets and auctions. ARS's own popularity is making it difficult to find unraided attics, basements, thrift stores, and yard sales --

Jay Allen, I really liked this piece! I've watched the show over the years from time to time, always wondered about how it was put on, great to read the behind-the-scenes stuff. Who would keep old cereal boxes? I get the Roy Rogers stuff, but cereal boxes? I worry about humanity in general. The formula is simple: Eat the corn flakes, dispose of the container.

I have a priceless memory of Gene Autry. I can't sell it at the Antiques Roadshow. I never saved much from my youth, but getting tossed out of Anaheim Stadium with my little brother by Gene himself, well, I can't imagine what that appraisal is worth. He was my brother's idol.

Great stuff, Jay, I hope you get another feature here when ComicCon comes around this year.

JAS when i think of rhe value of all the Kewpie dolls i got as a kid and never played with i could retch

Yes, cereal boxes, I remember reading about some people collect them like stamps, but they dont fit into stamp books very easy. Kinda funny, from around the same I read about cereal collecting, I did see those Beatle boxes on ebay in 2008 and they were for sale for $12,000.00. I supposed he sold them to that the ebay seller who was reselling them. That month, I was a little short on cash to buy them, so I went down to the grocery store and bought some Frosted Flakes instead.

RE: "...the TV program Antiques Roadshow would be filming in San Diego."

Filming? No, the show is shot on video so it's taped, not filmed.

Great article! Right up my "alley."

Being a "garage sale hag," my biggest find was a champion heavyweight boxing belt signed by Muhammad Ali. I bought it in Florida for $1. The woman was going through a divorce and wanted to get rid of all her ex-husband's "valuables."

Coming from a family of former fighters and boxing fans, I knew it had to be worth more than a $1. It was. In fact (without documentation) I sold the belt to Grant Elvis Phillips (the designer of Grant boxing attire) for $1,000.

Wow, a boxing belt signed by Ali for a buck!!!! Awesome!

The article's cover photo should be explained -- the woman with rug was part of the San Diego 2010 taping. She's holding an asmalyk rug from Turkmenistan, circa 1900. The Turkoman nomads wove asmalyks for both utilitarian and ceremonial purposes, and examples from this time period are extremely rare. Rescued from a dumpster, the rug was valued by an ARS volunteer at $125,000 to $150,000.

Other San Diego 2010 high ticket items included a 1907 portrait of one guest's aristocratic grandmother, painted by Ashcan School artist Robert Henri -- valued at $250,000 to $350,000.

Also, an original Hortus Eystettensis book, a groundbreaking collection of oversize botanical illustrations published in 1613 -- valued at $250,000 to $300,000.

Hmmm...I have a rug that's over one hundred years old. It's from Balochistan. Maybe I should have it appraised.

Let me say from the beginning that I am not a spokesperson for Antiques Roadshow and am not in any way representing how the show might respond to this article. I have been on Antiques Roadshow as an appraiser for 15 years on the Ethnographic table, so I do consider that I know something about the show. If Mr. Sanford was going to do a piece on Roadshow, I am soemwhat bewildered that he never interviewed any of the appraisers or producers of the show. We are all very reachable with addresses posted on the Roadshow website.

Some of these facts are just wrong. For example Mr. Dimock was quoted as saying: “Say a well-known appraiser certifies a collection as being worth around $300,000,” says Dimock, “and someone buys it. The appraiser will get from one to ten percent of that value for putting their name on the collection. That’s $3000 to $30,000.”. In 36 years of appraising tribal art I have never heard of this and have never been offered a percentage of the appraised value. That is considered to be not only unethical but it no doubt opens up potential civil and criminal problems for the appraiser.

Mr. Sanford has extensively quoted Mr. Dimock as being an expert on the Roadshow as a result of his two attempts to get on television. I wouldn't give immediate credibility to his story of what happened on these two ocassions. The appraisers have been selected to participate on the show because they have over years demonstrated their credibility in the marketplace. We certainly, like everybody on this planet, are capable of making a mistake. But I can assure you that Antiques Roadshow is committed to getting it right. If an appraiser was consistently making mistakes, they would not be asked back. And even though we do volunteer, it is by invitation only.

If you are really interested in how this show works, our Executive Producer, Marsha Bemko, has written a great book which is available either on the Roadshow website or on Amazon. JB

Great comments! Thanks for adding to the story!

Let me say from the beginning that I am not a spokesperson for Jay Allen Sanford and am not in any way representing how the Reader might respond to this article.

But Mr. arttrak, it's sort of easy to see that the article is presented from the point of view of a certain participant. I don't know a tinker's damn about antiques or appraising, but when you write an article the idea is to present the story from a certain angle. Most of the time, the angle isn't intended to have the reader draw a certain conclusion, but rather to enable the reader to reach their own conclusion based on the attitude of the piece. In this case, I'm unsure of how you are seeing the "show" represented in a negative manner. I really enjoyed this article from the aspect of someone who so desperately just wanted to get on television that he actually waited in line to get something appraised. Why should that involve yourself? In other words, if the "show" was presented from your point of view, it would bore me to no end. Not that you're not a wonderful human being and quite interesting in your own right, but the idea isn't thrilling to me.

In other words, I don't want to read about how a bank works, but I'm keen to read a story about a bank robbery, know what I mean?

There have been countless articles written about Antiques Roadshow, many offering detailed "behind the scenes" insight into the program production.

However, this article is about Mr. Dimock and several attending San Diegans, documenting their personal experiences, observations, and insights from the other side of the curtain.

I totally get both comments. Readers enjoy sharing experiences of others which is in fact one of the compelling draws of Roadshow itself. Many of us look at the car accident when we drive by or maybe we take pleasure in enjoying the discomfort of the train wreck called Jersey Shore. We are curious creatures. That wasn't my point. What if Mr. Dimock didn't quite tell the whole truth? And what if maybe Mr. Sanford didn't quite do enough research on what he presented as fact. Why couldn't Mr. Sanford interview people from the show? I think that might have been interesting if Mr. Sanford was really sincere about sharing the experiences of San Diego attendees. I was just looking for a little balance. And what really set me off was Mr. Dimock's assertion that we as appraisers took a percentage off the appraised amount as a fee for making the property more saleable. Again I can't speak officially for the Roadshow but if you are going to call me a crook don't expect me to sit around and not at least attempt to offer some perspective to the discussion.

I have talked to thousands of Roadshow visitors and heard countless stories which I personally find fascinating. And in fact because we are all working, the first time I see the shows is when you see them. I know nothing about collectibles, furniture, or paintings; however, I love to hear the stories and to educate myself on a new area. That is what Roadshow is all about. It is not about let's trick the appraiser or let's see if we can get on television to make our antique worth a bit more. The Roadshow is about people where the vehicle for telling the story just happens to be art and antiques. And let's hope it stays that way.

Regarding "That rug you found", thank you to Mr. Dimock for taking the time to write this expose. I attended the recent show and both myself and my companion came away from it saying the same thing, "What a complete waste of time and energy." Dimocks account of his experience accurately depicted our interactions with several appraisers. The fact that we had different items is inconsequential because the appraisers were, in every instance, dismissive, condescending, disinterested and demonstrated a total lack of expertise. But the moment of truth, the moment when it became crystal clear that if only I would have stayed home, I could be doing something productive like laundry or taxes, that moment came when you got to the actual dollar value that this esteemed know-nothing proclaimed -- suffice to say they pontificate that your crap is way crappier than you could have imagined. Pshaw! I can still enjoy the weekly shows but there must be a better way to solicit the snippits of staged spontaneity than to compromise and misinform thousands of hopeful people....Ava Bianca

I experienced the same thing when I wanted to appear on a collectible appraisal TV show. On the 1st anniversary of the FX: The Collectibles Show, they celebrated with what they called an APPRAISE-A-THON. The location was in my city, and I decided that I was going to be on TV. I chose an item that was large and colorful. I had a standup advertising display of Mr. T, which was promoting Mr. T cereal. I also had a full box of Mr T cereal.

I was picked to be on camera. I went backstage and the appraiser looked at it for a few seconds. Once the camera was running, the appraiser said that the collectible had several different groups of collectors that would be interested in it. Advertising collectors, black memorabilia collectors & cereal box collectors would be interested in the display. She then qualified her positive opinion of the desirability of the item by stating her opinion of the value. She said that the standup display was worth about $30. I could of disagreed with her on camera, but I just kept my mouth shut. The host asked if I wanted to take bids. I told him I would listen to offers. The offers were in the same price range as the on air appraisal. I didn't take the offers.

I felt the appraiser purposedly made an incredibly low appraisal so that an accomplice could make a bid.

As a side note, I found it interesting that Duane Dimock sold his two cereal boxes for $5,000. A little over a year ago, I sold a Frosty O's cereal box with Dudley Do Right for $1,200 at TV TOY MEMORIES (http://www.tvtoymemories.com/) I had wrongly believed that I held the record for the highest priced collectible cereal box that had been sold.

FUN STORY TO READ. MINDY, IF ARTIST WAS PETER MAX, WHO ALWAYS GIVES DRAWINGS INSTEAD OF PAYING PEOPLE FOR THINGS, NOT WORTH ALL THAT MUCH.

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