The PBS Antiques Roadshow Part 1: We’re Off to See the Appraisers! . . .

No Tornadoes, Just Tickets and Preparation:

Last Spring I entered the online ticket lottery and won 2 admission tickets, which I received in the mail a month before the weekend event. My friend Linda wanted to come and offered to get appraisals on some of my family treasures. I photographed and researched the heirlooms before selecting what I wanted to take. (TIP: If you have heavy or breakable items, wrap and bring them in wheeled luggage or carts.)

PBS Antique Roadshow admission ticket photo @2014 Jillian Lark

Antiques Roadshow admission ticket ©2014 Jillian Lark

Each person could bring 2 items or collections. I printed out the history and questions for 11 objects in case the appraisers determined some of them were collections. I also prioritized which 2 items each of us should have appraised if none of the objects were considered collections. We discussed the details on the way to the local convention center. (TIPS: Review the advice and Q&A sections on the PBS Antiques Roadshow site . The appraisers aren’t allowed to help you choose items, so have realistic expectations. Most family heirlooms have sentimental rather than monetary value. Research the objects and have a flexible individual item / collection strategy. Bring pens plus printed information and questions about the materials, makers, dates, restoration needs and costs, and original / current values of each item.)

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore (The Arrival and Appraisal Areas):

Even though Linda and I were there 30 minutes early, the volunteers admitted us without delay and gave us a free event guide with maps, appraiser lists, photos, etc. We stood near the front of the roped off 9:00 a.m. line, and a volunteer brought us the last folding chairs not used to support the ropes. By coincidence our friend Carolyn and her husband Jim got in line behind us, so we visited and shared information about our items. The line soon tripled in size. (TIPS: Wait times vary. You might want to attach lightweight, portable chairs to your wheeled luggage or cart.)

Follow the Volunteers, Not the Yellow Brick Road:

About fifteen minutes later, volunteers directed us toward 4 tables and instructed us to heed the warning signs. (TIPS: Even though the Antiques Roadshow website promotion encourages you to make and post photos and videos about your visit, you aren’t allowed to photograph or film except at the Feedback Booth after you leave the appraisal areas. You are also required to turn off and put away your cell phones and cameras.)

Antiques Roadshow collection and jewelry tickets ©2014 Jillian Lark

Antiques Roadshow collection and jewelry tickets ©2014 Jillian Lark

The Guardians of the Gate (Preliminary Appraisals)

At this point we briefly waited to show our items to an appraiser who classified the items and decided whether they were a collection or not. Luckily my appraiser agreed that the bracelets were a collection, and my grandparents’ jewelry was another collection. The appraiser attached 2 blue collection tickets to 2 orange tickets for the jewelry line and handed them to me. Linda’s appraiser eliminated the Disney watch (considered to be a collector’s item), so she gave Linda 2 individual watch item tickets.

Volunteers allowed us to enter the main appraisal area and ushered us to separate labeled lines. I could see Linda, but her line was shorter than mine. Soon she disappeared behind the curtained area. Since there were 20 people ahead of me, I talked to the ones next to me. We took turns saving places whenever someone wanted to take a nearby restroom or water break.

After 40 minutes, a volunteer counted off the next 10 people in line and led us behind the curtain. TO BE CONTINUED.

Jillian’s Note: Please return for The PBS Antiques Roadshow Part 2: Behind the Curtain on Sept. 15th or click here to follow this blog.





  1. Talk about building suspense! I must hear the end of this story!!!

  2. Love hearing about your experience, Jillian. Sounds like a good day to wear comfortable shoes with all the waiting you do. Looking forward to reading part 2. 🙂

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