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Antiques Roadshow: Roberts’ Style

Published 5:52am Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One of my favorite television shows (there are few!) is Antiques Roadshow. It is a Public Television offering produced by WGBH, Boston, Massachusetts.

You probably have seen it, but if you haven’t, it has a simple concept. The show chooses a city and requests all the locals to bring in interesting items from their homes, especially those items that have been handed down or bought in some estate or yard sale.

Although the items are probably not very valuable, there is the thought in the back of some mind that perhaps I have bought a very valuable piece of “something” for nothing. Maybe this interesting ceramic vase that was bought for a dollar is really an artifact from the Ming Dynasty in China and is worth millions.

Or this old chifforobe that was handed down from Aunt Lulu, the one that the mirror is catty-cornered and hanging on by an old rusty tack, is actually a James Gillingham piece made in Philadelphia in 1768. If it were not for the danged mirror hanging on by a thread, it would be worth $18,000 and your ship would have just come in!

I don’t think I was raised in a home that placed value on Chippendales and Tiffanies, but I would like Antiques Roadshow to drop by the old home-place and talk to momma.

“Here is a very interesting piece,” the host says looking on top of the stove. “What is it and how long have you had it?” he asks momma.

“Oh, that ole thing? That’s our griddle,” momma says. “I really don’t remember where it came from. It might have been a wedding gift from over 65 years ago and might have come from Sears.”

The Antiques Roadshow man picks the griddle up and begins to examine it.

“It’s hard to say who made it. The label seems to have been damaged in the use. And the original surface, which would have been before the advent of Teflon is quite worn. It also seems to be crooked and bent. Do you know how much it might have cost?”

Momma answered, “Well, if we bought it, it wouldn’t have cost too much. We didn’t have all that much money and, if it was given as a wedding gift, the same answer would apply. It probably cost a dollar or two.”

The man continued, “You don’t see these anymore. The last one I saw was in an antique store in Seattle and it was selling for $350.00. Of course the value of your griddle has been lost because of the way you have overused it and not taken care with it.”

Momma didn’t agree.

“Young man, let me tell you about its real value. There have been untold pieces of toast-on-top-of-the-stove made on that griddle. I can’t tell you the number of smashed grilled cheese sandwiches I have made for my family. I won’t even count the hoecakes of cornbread. It’s pretty valuable to me.”

The Antiques Roadshow man had one final question. “If you were offered $350.00 for it today, would you take it?”

Momma said, “If I was offered $350,000 for it today, I wouldn’t take it. Some things are worth more than money.”

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