The number one question for those who either attend Antiques Roadshow events or watch the show is “what’s it worth?” say appraisers who answer “values are in a state of flux.”
When customers visit the popular “Purple Pelican Antique Mall” - along the Pacific Coast Highway 101 in Florence, Oregon - they often ask owners Mike and Stella Ault “what’s it worth,” when presenting items they wish to sell. In turn, the Ault’s simply answer: “it depends.” Thus, there’s good reason why millions tune to “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS; because, says Mike Ault, “they want to know what grandma’s table is worth.” For instance, Roadshow appraisers were almost unanimous when asked how much something may be worth during a recent visit to Tucson, Arizona – that airs Monday, Aug. 13 at 8/7c on PBS (check your local listings). In turn, the Roadshow experts said today’s market values for both antiques and collectibles “are in a state of flux” due, in part, to the uncertain economy.
However, the general view from Roadshow appraisers is value depends on such things as how many of select antiques is still out there; while condition also impacts value.
But, at the end of the day, the general rule, say the Ault’s at the Purple Pelican Antique Mall is “something only has value when you find the right person who will buy it. Just because it’s antique or a collectible doesn’t mean it has value today.”
Antique values in a state of flux
One good example of this “state of flux” for antiques and collectibles is the rapid decline in baseball card values that’s based, in part, on the fact that “they printed too many cards in recent decades,” says Ryan Spencer, a long-time antiques dealer and collector in Florence, Oregon.
In turn, Roadshow experts explained that when there’s just too many of one thing, the market value goes down no matter what the catalogs or eBay list as “values.”
Also, the Ault’s note “it’s a buyer’s market right now,” and that means sellers are hurting no matter what they offer because those buying understand “they can offer pennies on the dollar” for really nice antiques and collectibles.
Moreover, the Antiques Roadshow cautions that “just because an item is appraised at such and such doesn’t mean that’s gospel." And, it's clear, add Roadshow experts, that often what's tagged as "on sale" is inflated "just as they do in many retail stories" to get customers interested in buying it.
At the end of the day, the true “value” of most antiques and collectibles today is simply tied to “what Joe or Mary are willing to pay for it,” adds Spencer.
“I make my living as a horse trader. I buy low with hopes of selling high,” explains Spencer with a smart little grin. “But, with gas going for nearly $4 a gallon right now on the West coast, we’re hearing the disquieting sound of ‘just looking’ over ‘how much is that?’ People are simply not buying, and that’s the real story about antique values today,” added Spencer with a disgusted look on his face.
In turn, Spencer told Huliq - during an Aug. 10 interview outside a local community garage sale – that he’s “astonished that good antique furniture and china is selling for a song today; or not selling at all. Everybody seems to be hunkering down and keeping their money. They’re not spending – that’s what I’m hearing up and down the West coast today.”
At the same time Ryan Spencer, Mike and Stella Ault and others - who buy and sell antiques in the coastal resort town of Florence, Oregon - say they are trying to make ends meet in a time of “continued recession” for this type of business.
Roadshow turning its attention to unclaimed property
Antiques Roadshow is spotlighting “Colorado’s Unclaimed Property Division” during the episode “Denver Hour 2” that airs on Monday, Aug. 13 at 10/9c on PBS (check your local listing).
According to a Roadshow episode preview, there are “thousands of assets including jewelry” that will be featured on this program from Denver.
In turn, the reason for sharing this information “is good news,” states a Roadshow marketing pitch for this episode that’s dubbed “the Great Colorado Payback’s endeavor to reunite lost assets with their rightful owners.” The program goes on to explain how “the Colorado State Treasurer keeps track of over 500,000 names of businesses and individuals in hopes of reuniting these assets with their owners or heirs, and Roadshow chose several examples of jewelry held by the Colorado State Treasury's Unclaimed Property Division. The jewelry comes from abandoned safe deposit boxes from several cities around Colorado.”
At the same time, the Colorado State Treasury has recently unearthed a group of “stolen California paintings, missing Wisconsin Museum artifacts, lost “New Deal” 1930s artwork and some very interesting missing Norman Rockwell Coca-Cola illustrations.”
Roadshow visits Seattle August 18
Antiques Roadshow completes its tour of the U.S. on Saturday, Aug. 18, when it visits the Washington State Convention Center – in downtown Seattle off near Pike Street and 8th and 9th Avenues – to tape a new fall season episode where leading specialists will offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles.
In addition to Seattle, the new fall season of Roadshow will feature recent visits to Boston, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Rapid City, S.D.; Cincinnati, Ohio and last Saturday’s visit to Corpus Christi, Texas.
When Ryan Spencer asked Roadshow appraisers why they haven’t visited other towns out West that Spencer says “are ripe with lots of great antiques,” he said the Keno Brothers told him that Roadshow is always looking for new venues. However, the program “requires a minimum of 80,000 square feet of space, and many towns are unable to accommodate a typical Roadshow TV filming and appraisal event.”
Don’t bring loaded guns to Roadshow events
Moreover, Spencer said “don’t bring a gun to a Roadshow event” because “my friend got jacked up when they visited Eugene last year.”
To help clarify Roadshow’s policy on bringing firearms for appraisals, the program’s website now offers this guidance: “Please note that possession and transport of firearms may be subject to federal, state, and local laws. Even in cases where a firearm is deemed to be "antique" under federal law (such as a firearm manufactured prior to 1898), it remains subject to the laws of the local jurisdiction. It is your responsibility to know, understand and comply with all appropriate laws and ordinances. We will appraise your firearm provided that our appraiser and local law enforcement are satisfied that this would be safe. Admission to the event with any firearm is solely at the discretion of the convention center or Antiques Roadshow.”
Also, Roadshow warns that “we will appraise unloaded firearms only. Please leave all ammunition at home, as you will not be allowed to bring it into the event. All firearms must be checked by security personnel before entering the event. We strongly encourage the use of trigger locks on all firearms and reserve the right to attach one to your firearm while it is at the appraisal venue. All persons entering the event are subject to search.”
Image source of the “Purple Pelican Antique Mall” in Florence, Oregon, that’s busy with lots of people “looking” this summer season; while sales are way down for antiques and collectibles out West, say experts. Photo by Dave Masko
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