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Antiques Roadshow's famous twin furniture appraisers Leslie (left) and Leigh Keno join me at the show's filming in Anaheim

Antiques Roadshow’s famous twin furniture appraisers Leslie (left) and Leigh Keno join me at the show’s filming in Anaheim

I couldn’t believe it when I received the email asking me to attend Antiques Roadshow at the Anaheim Convention Center! You have to know that I am a devoted follower of the show and never miss one, and if I do, I have it recorded for viewing later!!

So, I packed up two items that I wanted appraisals on and went to Anaheim to the Antiques Roadshow. I was so excited. And, who do I see as I walk into Exhibit Hall A? None other than the famous Keno brothers, twins Leslie and Leigh, who are known for their antique furniture appraisals on the show. They couldn’t have been more gracious. They told me they’d been with the show since the first episode was filmed in a school gym in Concord, Massachusetts in 1996. “Seven hundred people showed up,” Leslie said. He went on to say that today there are more than 10 million viewers a week, and the show is the top-rated ongoing primetime series on PBS. “One reason I love the show,” Leslie said, “is because it is like Christmas morning here. We’re on an adrenaline high all day. You never know what’s coming out of a box!”

I must tell you the ten-time Emmy Award nominated show, now in its 17th season, is just as awesome as I expected. Six thousand people showed up the day I went, and I found out from people in charge that they had received 24,278 applications to attend and only 3,000 pairs of tickets were given out. Talk about a popular show!

I also found there are 70+ appraisers at every show, and if your item is selected, you go to the Green Room. If you make it to the “finals,” they take you in for makeup and prepare you for your television appearance. I knew I didn’t have a $2 million Picasso or a rare Tiffany lamp. I just wanted information on some family pieces that had been handed down to me.

I took a clock that my father had acquired long before I was born, and John Delaney, a local clock specialist, told me that is was what they call a “steeple clock” because it is shaped like a steeple and came into production around 1845. He said my rosewood clock was made after 1900 by the Waterbury Clock Company in Waterbury, Connecticut. He informed me that at the time there were one-day, 30-hour  and eight-day clocks, meaning that when you wound the clock, it would run for the designated amount of time. The longer it ran, the more valuable the clock. Unfortunately, my clock was a one-day clock, the least valuable, and sold for $7 or $8 dollars in its day. And, because it was in need of repair, it would be very expensive to do so. “If this clock were in a New England auction today,” Delaney said, “it would sell for $30 as is. All cleaned up, it would sell for $300, which is what it would cost you to repair it.” Not good news, but since I had no plans to sell it because of its sentimental value, it was fine. I gained the knowledge I sought.

As to the beautiful fashion bracelet of my mother’s, I found out through jewelry expert Rosalie Sayyah from Seattle (she is known as “Rhinestone Rosie”) that it was designed by Henry Bogoff, who produced delicate, feminine costume jewelry from 1946 to the early 1970s in Chicago, Illinois. Sayyah said the stones used in the bracelet were high-end lead crystal rhinestones and the bracelet had a value today of $150 to $165. My father must have bought my mother the bracelet in the ’50 or ’60s. I remember her wearing it when I was a little girl and how much she liked it. I wear it often to black-tie affairs and always receive compliments. It is really stunning!

I had lots of fun talking to people about the items they brought for appraisal, and when I ran into friends and Irvine residents Anne and Dave Rosenberg, I found they were Antiques Roadshow devotees just like me. Anne brought a plate block etching by James Whistler called “Annie.” I looked the artist up when I got home because I wondered if he was the same Whistler who painted the famous “Whistler’s Mother.” He was. The appraiser valued Anne’s etching at $1,500. Dave brought eight hand-painted German beer steins from his collection of 30. The appraiser told him the steins were each valued from $600 to $750. He was a happy man!

I interviewed several attendees who were chosen to be interviewed via television. Fine art appraiser Nan Chisholm told Anne from Anaheim that her painting by Francoise Gilot, titled “Yellow Flower” would sell in a retail gallery for as much as $20,000. Vince from Malibu brought a European blanket box from the 17th century, which furniture appraiser Gary Sullivan said would sell at auction for $2,000. Marianne from Paso Robles brought a violin that was given to her by her mother that was dated 1741. Appraiser Claire Givens said it was made in Vienna and would sell for between $5,000 and $6,000. Nancy from Fontana brought her father’s WWII Army jacket, and had documentation to say that he was a code breaker who assisted in breaking the Japanese  diplomatic code in the war. There was also a photo of her parents taken in 1931 meeting the Emperor of Japan when her father was stationed there. The appraiser (I didn’t get his name) said the jacket alone was valued at $300, but with the provenance connected with the item, the entire collection would sell for between $1,500 and $2,500.

Kathleen from Sacramento brought a painting of Errol Flynn dressed as Civil War General George Custer that she bought from a movie props sale for $25. She said it was appraised at $800 to $1,000. And, Roberta Pasadena brought some stunning pottery handed down via her grandfather from Weller/Owens Pottery in Zanesville, Ohio. She said her grandfather worked there at the turn of the century. Appraiser David Rago said the pieces were dated between 1907 and 1910 and were valued at between $3,500 and $4,500. She had much more of the pottery at home, so she was very happy.

To cap off the day, I got to meet Antiques Roadshow host Mark Wahlberg. He came in just as I was leaving with his son, and I snapped a photo of them. It was a wonderful conclusion to a really terrific day!

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