Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I'm a big fan of Antiques Roadshow.  It's the kind of TV program that is both entertaining and informative.  It's history too.  It's hard for me to realize that there are people who are not fascinated by a 300 year old piece of furniture, a book Ben Franklin published or a What about letters from the Civil War, turn of the century toys or a menu from the Titanic?
I've been trying to get tickets to the program for three years now, but it's by lottery only and you have to have more luck than fascinating objects for appraisal.  Just missed again this year.  I'm told that about 100,000 folks apply for 3000 tickets, so it's a real crapshoot.
Still, I keep thinking what I might have taken to the show.  Aside from a wonderful old watercolor painting of a young African American girl in a yellow bonnet I bought about 40 years ago in a Texas antique store, the remaining 4 objects would be up for grabs.  My wife's family has a relative wo is famous for his oil paintings, so maybe one of those.  It may have the best chance of getting on TV because the artist Bell-Smith, seems to have a nome for himself in Canada.  No old toys, or valuable watches; no Native art or Tiffany lamps in my home.  But there are a couple of things that might provide a mild surprise.

I've got a few items from a small grocery-soda fountain my parents once owned well before I was born. A Cola-Cola tray, ice pick and bottle opener still exist.  They are fairly common, though, and easily accounted for with a quick internet search.  I've got a few rare books and records, but, again, nothing that Google can't handle.  Besides, much as I'd like, books and records have to be extra special to bring big prices.  Year after year, the most shocking appraisals involve either Tiffany products, Colonial furniture, Native American baskets, and sometimes an oil painting that someone found hiding behind another painting.  No Rhino horns in my closet, or Ivory or other contraband.  Any other item I do have isn't signed or adorned with a maker's mark, so it's doubtful there are any real treasures lurking undiscovered.  But I do have a pair of cuff-links that I bought at a small antique store in the Bay area about 25 years ago.  They were antique then, so it's safe to say they are approaching 100 years in age.  I certainly wasn't looking for cuff-links, especially antiques ones.  As I recall, I was deciding to purchase a framed graphic depicting various breeds of horses when the woman behind the counter diverted my eyes to consider a pair of hand painted horse cufflinks.  They were stunning.  Each had the paired heads of a bay and a gray horse.  They looked  like something Currier and Ives would have pulling a sled dashing through the woods about 150 years ago.  I bought them, wore them once after buying a shirt with the proper cuffs and then forgot about them for awhile.  To me they will always be special, just because they are beautiful and depict horses.  My standard of beauty includes horses.  Over the years I've tried to do a little research but none of the horse depicted look anything like these.  Horse cuff-links are plentiful; they range in price from a few dollars to fifty or sixty bucks.  Mine look older, more like a painting, have finer detail.  I don't care what they are worth, just want to find out something more about them.
If the Roadshow comes within a thousand mile radius, I'll keep trying, if not, someone will have the pleasure of discovering them again, someday.

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