Thursday, July 10, 2014

Antique Roadshow in Austin

Just getting back from a mini-vacation to Austin, Texas, where I met up with my nephew and sister.  Before I left, my nephew had sent me a route to take that might make my driving experience a bit easier, however, I thought about taking an alternate route, and that was a mistake.  I decided to go out south of town to Jacksonville, and take a "scenic view", the only only thing about that is I got turned around, and some of the roads were under repair, and it wasn't long until I had to backtracked a little bit to get on the route my nephew had originally sent.

To make matters worse, I passed a car coming from the other direction and heard a popping sound as a piece of gravel hit my windshield.  I've had this happen many times before, so disregarded it, but looked up again, and noticed that the ding has spread just a little.  I thought, did that just spread, and looked at it again, and it had spread even more.  That was a first.  Luckily, however, it quit spreading after about six or so inches.  But I have to admit it sort of bummed me out.

So I pulled over and took out the route my nephew sent, and headed off in that direction.  There are a bunch of small, rural Texas towns in this area, and while cutting back over to get to the main interstate, I had to go thru the small town of Malakoff.  I went over a rise, and came into town rather quickly and noticed a cop on the side of the road.  Then noticed it was 45 mph.  I think I was tooling along about eight miles over that, and sure enough, he lit me up.  I go on down a bit and  pull off the highway, and the trooper ask for my license and insurance.  This is the first time in a long time I've been pulled over for speeding.  But I was lucky this time as he gave me a warning citation, and told me to slow down and pay better attention, which I did.  Since it was close to the July the 4th weekend, I guess they were out checking for speeders, drinkers, and so forth.  But I was happy to get off with just a warning.

My nephew scored some tickets to the PBS program, Antiques Roadshow.  They select their participants by a drawing or lottery system, so we all three had put in for the drawing.  Neither my sister or I were drawn for tickets, but my nephew scored two tickets, so we lucked out. He works for a NBC affiliate TV station in Austin, so he used his press pass to get in, plus shot some footage of the show as well.  If interested, you can watch his TV promo here. 

The show will get three episodes from their one stop in Austin, but it won't televise until next year in 2015.  I took four items to get appraised, but we were not selected to be on the show.  Every item you take will at least be appraised by their crack team of appraisers, however, that doesn't assure that you'll be one of the selected who gets shown on the show each week.  We were lucky also in the time we were supposed to arrive.  Our arrival time was 11am, but they had people coming in as early as 7am.  It's quite organized.  It's all just the luck of the draw, however, and you have to bear in mind that they are trying to put on a televised show as well, and they have to have a certain amount of crowd control, and they also have a lot of post-production that goes into the program.

The items I chose was a cloth-sewn sampler from the 1800's.  It was sown by a eight year old girl at the time.  It's not particularly a pretty sampler, actually it's pretty run of the mill, but is worth around a hundred dollars or more probably because of the date.  I also took a cuckcoo clock.  I think it's dated from the 50's or perhaps a bit earlier.  It still works too, but due to the fact that they are mass produced and also sort of made for the tourist trade, it didn't get selected either.  My nephew had said he would like to have it if I ever wanted to sell it, so I ended up giving it to him later. 

The next item we had appraised was a pewter creamer.   Again, it's not all that valuable, but did have a makers mark on it.  I believe she said it was worth around fifty bucks or more, and was not all that old, but was made well and had a nice look to it.  The fourth item I took is the above figurine that I'm holding.  It's a pottery piece made in Vienna, and brightly painted.  It reminds me of a flapper showgirl or from that era, and has a nice deco look to it.  It got many compliments and remarks, so it's a head turner, and was the most promising piece I felt.  I had looked it up online before I left and saw a few selling on eBay for around $5,000., but the one I own has a defect around the hand and part of the arm where it was broken and then repaired, and so that detracted from the price.

When I first got up to the pottery table there were two guys that looked at it, and one sort of waves the other over to discuss things in private hushed tones.  They asked if we could hang around a bit as the woman that did the main appraising was currently eating lunch, and they wanted her assessment of it.  We said okay, so we  just stood over to the side as other people had things appraised.  We chatted with other people as well, and after a while the woman finally shows up.  They sort of go off to one  side and talk privately, and then she gives us an appraisal.   I assume it's a somewhat common piece, and from what she said was made in three different sizes.  The one we own is the medium size.  The largest is the most valuable.   I could only assume that the figure is fairly common (at least in the antique trade), but they said the pose of the figure helped in the value as the arms of the figure are stretching out as if she's dancing.  I think they appraised it around $2,000. or more due to it having been repaired.  All in all, even though it was a tiring day, and we didn't picked, we had a lot of fun.

After our full morning, we decided to go somewhere to eat, and by that time I think we were all ready for a meal, and to sit down some.  One of the things about Austin, is that they have tons of great restaurants, and they are not the commercial, chain variety, but more individualized.  The whole time we were there everywhere we ate, was super good.  We opted after the Roadshow just to eat somewhere nearby and ate at a place downtown called Moonshines.  It didn't look all that special from the outside, but was very delicious, even though all we ordered was a hamburger and salad.  The meat on the burger was smoked and very tasty, and we all shared a apple pie affair with maple ice cream.  Supremely good, and I was stuffed.  


At 8:10 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Wow, sounds like an eventful trip. Road trips always contain and element of the unknown and it can be fun or horrifying (sometimes a bit of both).

At 11:15 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes, I'll agree, Roman, before the trip I was apprehensive (not sure why, the unknown? But once the actually day of departure got here, I was supercharged and ready to get on the road, and out of town. It was just what the doctor ordered too, refreshing to just get away, relax, and visit some with the family and friends.


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