I'm back from Atlantic City...and Antiques Roadshow!
This was my second time going to the Roadshow. Some stats from the local paper: 6,000 are lucky to win the lottery for entry passes. 95% of appraisals are under $100 and only a handful of entries get filmed.
We lucked out. We got 8:00 am entry tickets. The box o' documents about slavery that I brought got a very high appraisal ($8-10k) but the auctioneer reviewing thought of trying to get me on tv, but the other assessors felt the collection was too broad to make it past the producers (though they urged me to submit it to the History Detectives).
As if that weren't amazing enough, the girlfriend who went with me hit pay dirt! She brought a book autographed by Walt Whitman, got selected for getting on TV and got interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer about the experience. So, I got the chance to hang out in the green room all day, which was pretty fun. The coolest part was that the executive producer came back for coffee and sat with me for an hour. I got him to tell about how he brought the concept to the US and how he transformed it from a snooty show appealing to the silver haired set to mass markets. It was really fun--and he gave me his card and shirt as a souvenir!
In the green room, we could watch the filming, which, interestingly enough, was edited as it was filmed (except retakes). Only people in the green room could see what was going on, though. Surprisingly, companions had the best situation--the folks selected for on-air appraisals had to stay seated at separate tables and could not speak with anyone. Companions were allowed to roam, talk and have fun. Since we were there for hours and hours (though we could visit the floor any time we wanted), there was this odd bonding experience--it was tons of fun.
The person who really seemed to hold the production together was the floor director, who has an amazing talent for putting guests at ease. The appraisers (who have to volunteer as triage appraisers to get the chance to compete to be floor appraisers--at their own expense--with odds against them for getting air time)--were mostly a very fun bunch (well, they were very happy if they got to the green room), though those new at it were very nervous.
Highlights from the show--the very adorable but nervous Jean, who called her miniature highboy chest a "highball" to Leigh Keno (to which her great niece, sitting next to me in the green room said, "after this, I'm ready to down a couple of those!"), the appraiser who looked like Mark Twain who valued a banjo and the fake--a guy who was sure his Chinese lantern was ancient (it was pretty obviously fishy--it looked like airport art).
So, it was totally a blast. I got home and zonked out, though!