Thursday, August 13, 2009

Looking forward to last Roadshow of season

It has been a number of weeks since my last Antiques Roadshow taping (in Raleigh, NC). My partner, Don Cresswell, did his three stops in the subsequent weeks and now it is my turn again. I am sitting in my hotel room in San Jose, CA, looking forward to a good day tomorrow at the Convention Center. The enthusiasm of the public for the Roadshow seems to continue unabated as the crowds have been excellent at each stop. With good weather predicted, it should be another very busy and fun day for all us appraisers.

I am always surprised by what comes into any stop that Antiques Roadshow makes around the country (cf. my blog on the Raleigh stop as an example), but I do often play the game of trying to guess what may come in before each stop.

One thing I have found is that we sometimes get more interesting items at some of the smaller cities (like Raleigh, Madison), as opposed to the larger cities (like New York, Boston). I think this is because the larger cities tend to have a lot of antique dealers and so a good number of people with antiques have already taken their prized possessions to a local dealer. There are still, of course, many fabulous things at the big cities, but owners in the smaller cities do not have as many opportunities to get expert opinions on their items and the draw of having so many of the most knowledgeable antiques authorities come to your home town can be a huge incentive to bring your prize to the Roadshow.

So what do I think will come in tomorrow? I am hoping some good western maps. Maps tend to be the most interesting, and thus valuable, if they show areas that were being explored and developed when the map was issued. The American west was in a continual process of discovery and settlement throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and many maps were made of it at that time. These are usually very interesting maps and I hope one of more of those will come in.

There were also a lot of terrific nineteenth-century views done of the American west, with a thriving California lithography industry producing some of the most interesting. I'd love to see a bird's eye view of San Jose, San Francisco, etc., or a gold-rush lithograph made in California.

One thing I haven't seen at any Antiques Roadshow visits I have been an appraiser at is a really good early Dutch world map. I don't know why, but I suspect one might just come in tomorrow. I'll see tomorrow and with any luck, you'll be able to see when the San Jose shows are run in 2010! Stay tuned for my report on the San Jose Roadshow to follow...


  1. I recently inhereted a Currier and Ives print, Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States. I have been trying to find information on this particular print, and in doing so have found that there are many with this same name. The print I have is very close to two others I found (pose, backgground and outfit seem identical) but in my picture Lincoln is clean-shaven and the emblem on the back of his chair is a shield, whereas it is an eagle in the other pictures (C0021, G0022 and C0020, G0015). I would love to know more about my print since I can't seem to find anything about this exact one.

    Vicki V. California

  2. There really isn't much to say about your print in particular. It was issued for the same reason as all the other Lincoln Presidential portraits, but given that it is clean-shaven, this means that the print was issued just after he was elected, but before they knew he grew a beard. The other variations (shield) are typical as they would often change something or other on the prints. All Currier & Ives prints were issued for one reason, for the firm to make money! They would issue prints on any subject they thought they could sell, and they would reissue, with modifications, prints if they felt there was the need. Once they learned Lincoln had grown a beard, they changed the image and reissued the print. You just have one before the change.