The Antiques Roadshow came to the Santa Clara Convention Center on June 7. Nearly 23,000 people applied to get into the show, but only 6,000 were granted admission despite there being a myriad of ways to get tickets: obtain them online (although tickets were stamped “not for resale”); be a member of the Subaru owners club (Subaru was a sponsor); apply for tickets, or submit photographs of a piece of furniture you own for the chance of being selected. Every person chosen was allowed to bring a guest and up to four (each person was allowed two) items for appraisal.
While antique figures, ceramics and paintings are quite popular, the Roadshow is particularly fond of furniture, which it likes to use for the background during televised segments. In order to make this happen, the show contracts a moving company to pick up selected items two or three days before the show date. On the day before the show is taped, appraisers look at the furniture and make a recommendation for what should be featured on the show. Sometimes, the decision on what and what doesn’t appear comes down to the excitement in the appraiser’s voice when asked an item’s worth by the show’s producers.
Taping day can begin as early as 7:15 a.m. for someone whose furniture is selected. Upon entering, they are escorted past the lines of people waiting to get in and are taken to Triage, where they are given tags for items that will be appraised, then escorted into the Green Room. (In a convention center, the green room is an area set aside to keep people from finding out the value of their items until the actual appraisal.) In the Green Room, they find out if their piece was selected for television or not. From there, they are escorted to the set, where they can get other items and furniture appraised – even if those items won’t be featured on television.
For those who find out their item is worth thousands, the Roadshow requires that they not reveal their last names or where they live. The producers say this is for security reasons. Additionally, security can escort a participant to their vehicle, and can arrange a police escort home. On the way out, attendees are encourage to visit the Feedback Booth, where, more often than not, tales of items worth $50 or less are told on camera.
The popular show has been running for the past 18 seasons and while tickets are difficult to obtain, getting into the show isn’t impossible. The Santa Clara edition of Antiques Roadshow will likely not air for at least a year. Visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/ for more information.