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Upon hearing of the upcoming arrival of the Antiques Roadshow in Tulsa, I immediately placed my name in the virtual lottery bucket. A weekly ritual of viewing the show, lead my husband and I to jump at the opportunity to attend, and we were delighted when our names were picked and tickets arrived. At first feeling the thrill of the 'win', our enthusiasm eventually settled into reality, which lead to the perplexing question: What treasures will we take?

As the weeks leading up to the Roadshow passed, my mind shifted focus from one treasure to the next. Artwork was reviewed; decades old jewelry was examined, and a sweat-dripping, overheated attic visit was made. But as each week passed, the indecisions grew until the obvious was realized: I do not and never will have an undiscovered, one-of-a kind, king's booty found hidden within my possession.

The last, rare, million dollar doodle of Picasso is not stuck between the pages of yellowed books stacked away in storage and the pages of Shakespeare's long-awaited play will not show up in the bottom of that antique chest of drawers I just purchased.

Won't happen. Not to me.

But as the week of the event was in my grasp, self-awareness of my fascination with the Roadshow became evident. The family treasures brought to the show with ancestral stories attached, create memories of attic heirlooms I rummaged through in my home as a child. But most of our family's heirlooms were abruptly lost due to a fire, leaving only a precious few within my possession.

So with that, my Roadshow choices were clear: my father's antique fishing gear and a porcelain bowl passed to me from my mother. Pieces not of great monetary value, but both hold intrinsic value: family memories and connections to generations past. As I told my husband: "I want the stories, the information of date and place of these pieces," in hopes of bringing more ancestral discoveries to my family tree.

The big day came and we loaded the car with our treasures. Briskly walking toward the long line of lucky participants carrying their own prizes, I felt tingly with anticipation. And then after weaving our way around, a Roadshow staffer quickly ushered me into the "bullpen," placing me in front of a table of "bored out of their mind" appraisers.

Opening my bag and retrieving my dad's antique fishing lures, the appraiser shook his head; "nothing there" he said, and motioned to the next in line.

I quickly picked up my loot and moved on to the next appraiser's table: Pottery and Porcelain. Carefully unfolding the newspaper away from my  bowl, the appraiser barely gave it a look.

"This is marginally interesting," he blandly stated.

"Its transfer-ware, not worth more than about 30 dollars."

"When was it made?" I asked, wanting to make sure I understood the date.

"About 1910."

And with that, I walked away feeling a glimmer of fulfillment. The antique porcelain bowl I presented for appraisal was not purchased at a flea market or at an estate sale. It was not bought with the dream of great monetary value. Instead, it has been held in my family's possession for over a hundred years, survived a devastating fire and passed to me by my mother. It is a piece of my family history linking me to several generations, at least to my great grandmother Jennie or perhaps even further: A priceless value of heritage, when there are few possessions left to our family's past.

This week's Tulsa Antiques Roadshow made national news, reporting "the most valuable find in the appraisal show's 16 year history." The five Chinese carved rhinoceros horn cups were valued at 1 million to $1.5 million. Unfortunately, the media alert failed to include another thrilling appraisal:

Small, antique porcelain bowl: priceless.

Keep searching for answers,

Cheryl
(Source: The Tulsa World)
 


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