Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Antique Roadshow Experience

  In January I applied for tickets to the Antique Roadshow and then promptly forgot all about it. In May, I opened an envelope from the mail. This envelope nearly went unopened and directly into the recycling bin.  To my surprise, inside there were two large beautiful tickets to the coveted antique extravaganza, The Antique Roadshow, in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 31.  I had two weeks to make plans and decide what to have appraised.         
   My daughter and I decided to make the long trip. We set off on a lovely Friday morning and enjoyed a leisurely drive, stopping at an occasional antique shop along the way. The next morning we woke early and arrived at the Bismarck Civic Arena an hour before our scheduled time.
  The volunteers from the Bismarck area  directed the crowds of people, they were friendly and helpful.  Mark Walberg walked through the crowds looking very smart in a dark blue tailored suit and occasionally he turned to nod at someone. We chatted with the people near us as we stood in the numerous  lines; the 10:00 ticket time, the item description ticket line, and then the item appraisal line.  There were many lines but the people around us were friendly, interesting and excited to show off their antique items.  We laughed and laughed at and with the crazy Canadian father son team from Winnipeg. They had a signal lamp in its original box that was appraised at $450.00.  The father was hoping his little glass cream pitcher was worth $40,000, might as well dream big he said.            
  We saw an Avon bottle lamp, machine made wooden bowls, an oil painting of John Wayne and many  other items of little value. I would estimate that ninety-five percent of the items brought to the Antique Roadshow for appraisal fell into this category. We also saw some exceptional things; an American Indian mannequin in complete deer skin regalia, pottery and a beautiful oil painting.
  I had several military items that need I additional information about, I wanted to know if they were authentic and their approximate value. My first item was a Civil War cap pouch with a metal US medallion. A cap box or pouch is a small leather pouch worn on the front of a belt and is used for the storage of percussion caps. Percussion caps are very explosive and great care needs to be taken when handling them, that is why the leather pouch is padded with lamb's wool. Christopher Mitchell told me that the cap pouch was indeed authentic but the metal medallion on the front was a movie prop.   He recommended that the medallion remain on the pouch.


  He also appraised my powder horn. Back at home before we left, I poured out about three cups of black gun powder;  thinking it was probably not a good idea to bring gun powder into the Antique Roadshow.  A powder horn is a container for gunpowder and is generally made from cow, ox or buffalo horn.  The wide mouth is used for filling the horn with gun powder and the narrow end is used to dispense the gun powder into the gun. Using an animal horn for gun powder is a cleaver idea because the horn is hollow, naturally water proof keeping the powder dry and it also  ensures that the gun powder won't be detonated by sparks when the gun is fired. Christopher Mitchell told me the powder horn made between 1870-1880 in the Tim Tansel style. The Tansel family were famous for making powder horns with Tim Tansel being the most prolific maker.

  All and all we had an exciting day, met some interesting people, gleamed  a little information  and saw many unique things. My daughter and I shared a once in a lifetime experience and had some fun together. The next day an old children's rhyme kept running through my head.

We went to the animal fair,
The birds and the beasts were there,
The big baboon by the light of the moon   
Was combing his auburn hair
The funniest was the monk
He climbed up the elephant's trunk
The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees
And what became of the monk?
The monk! What became of the monk?

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