Some came toting historical photos, others hauled in family heirlooms and at one point, someone was rolling around a lifesize status of Jesus.
On Saturday, the PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" came to Portland for the first time since 2004, turning exhibit halls at the Oregon Convention Center into a combination of antiques store, thrift shop and Grandma’s attic.
After it was announced that "Antiques Roadshow," the most-watched ongoing series on PBS, was returning to Portland, requests for free tickets poured in.
The 23,000 ticket requests for the Portland taping represented the highest number received for any of the show’s six summer 2017 stops, including Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Newport, Rhode Island.
About 3,000 pairs of tickets for the Portland taping were awarded, via a random drawing. By the end of Saturday, organizers expected to see from 5,000 to 6,000 people, and about 10,000 items brought in for appraisal.
By Saturday afternoon, the convention center exhibit halls were packed with people of all ages, standing in line to wait their turn to get up to two items per person appraised.
The popular PBS series "Antiques Roadshow" is returning to Portland on Aug. 12. Admission is free, but tickets are required and the deadline to apply is Monday, April 10 at 11:59 p.m.
In the line to have musical instruments appraised (there were more than 20 categories of items), a young man named Zoe had his turn (it’s "Antiques Roadshow" policy not to use last names or hometowns for people who bring in items for appraisal.)
Zoe showed off a jeweled accordion that had belonged to his grandmother, which she got in the mid-1930s, and which she played.
The accordion was made by the Excelsior company, and appraisers consulted sources to learn more about it.
Afterwards, Zoe said he learned the item didn’t seem to be very common, as there weren’t many comparable models to use for estimating. The appraiser told him the sparkly accordion was worth from $2,000 to $3,000.
"I really didn’t know what the market for accordions would be," he said. But he wasn’t planning on selling the instrument, which has been passed down in his family.
"Maybe I’ll learn to play," he said.
"Antiques Roadshow" is the most-watched ongoing series on PBS, with an average of 8 million viewers weekly. Marsha Bemko, "Antiques Roadshow" executive producer, thinks there are several reasons why the show – in which average folks get free appraisals on everything from jewelry to tribal baskets – is so popular.
While other shows have borrowed aspects of the "Antiques Roadshow" format, "they all involve commerce," as Bemko said.
"We do no buying and selling," Bemko said, emphasizing that "Antiques Roadshow" is about providing information, along with entertainment.
Viewers from "8 to 80" can enjoy it, Bemko said, whether they watch to see one-of-a-kind objects, learn a bit of history, imagine where the objects have been or vicariously experience the excitement of learning that a collectible someone bought for a few bucks is actually worth thousands of dollars.
Early on in the Portland visit, for example, two valuable items – both, as it happened, related to Abraham Lincoln – had turned up, Bemko said.
One was a letter written in 1865, in which the letter-writer described going to Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C., the week before Lincoln was assassinated. Because of the historical details, "Antiques Roadshow" appraisers estimated the letter could be worth from $10,000 to $15,000 at auction.
A second item was an 1862 photograph of Lincoln, taken before he was president and before Lincoln grew his famous beard. The photo was also autographed by Lincoln. Bemko said that photo’s value was estimated at between $70,000 and $120,000.
"Antiques Roadshow" was going to be producing three one-hour episodes from the Portland visit, and that Lincoln photo, Bemko said, will definitely be on TV.
Across the hall, Portland-based appraiser Natalie Linn, who specializes in tribal arts, was appearing for an on-camera segment with a woman who had brought a small basket with intricate woven designs.
After they finished taping, Linn said she had never seen a basket with so many designs – men in boats, chickens, roosters and more.
The circa-1900-1920s basket, which originated from the Aleutian Islands , had an insurance value of $6,500, Linn said.
An "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser made a big-bucks mistake on the show, mistakenly appraising a lumpy-looking clay jug as worth up to $50,000. Then the truth came out — the unsightly artwork was actually the creation of a Eugene high school student.
One of the most eye-catching items in the convention center hall was a lipstick-red couch. Peter Loughrey, an appraiser from Los Angeles (appraisers pay their own way to participate in "Antiques Roadshow" tapings around the country), explained the furniture’s backstory.
Designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen, the couch was technically known as a "Womb Settee," a big-enough-for-two variation on Saarinen’s midcentury modern "Womb Chair."
This particular Womb Settee, Loughrey continued, had been owned by "Playboy" founder Hugh Hefner, and came from Hefner’s Chicago mansion.
The piece is valued at about $1,800, Loughrey said. But the Hefner connection could increase its worth, he added, to maybe even four times that price.
"I can just imagine Hef, and maybe even two Bunnies, on it," Loughrey said.
The Portland episodes of "Antiques Roadshow" will air sometime in 2018, when the show returns for Season 22. The series airs on OPB at 8 p.m. Mondays.
— Kristi Turnquist
n this March 4, 2017, file photo, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, right, shakes hands with his father LaVar following an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State in Los Angeles. UCLA won 77-68. LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand unveiled a signature shoe for Lonzo Ball on May 4, 2017 with a price tag of $495 a pair. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Here are the rest of the week’s streaming highlights.