Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Antiques Roadshow, Facebook, & Poetry

I have to admit I’m not a big Facebook fanatic.  First of all, I have a blog so I already share plenty.  I’m tired of getting hearts and butterflies posted on my wall.  I resent people I never really liked in the first place telling me to ‘pass it on’ or I may jeopardize my admission to heaven.  But, it does come in handy for reconnecting with friends you’ve lost touch with. 

Last week C’s college neighbor ‘friended’ him.  T was coming to Atlanta and wanted to say hello.  He was in town for the filming of Antiques Roadshow, had two extra tickets and asked if we’d like to attend. 

Of course I’ve seen the show and like most of you, my thought is if I was on it and my treasure was worth thousands, I’d be out the door and looking for a buyer ASAP!  But, having nothing old of any value (except my house, which is no longer worth what it once was!), I’ve never given it too much thought.  I do have a pair of 1890ish urns that were a wedding present to my great grandparents.  But, I was out of town last week, the urns are packed up and I didn’t feel like hauling them to the filming.  Besides, I have a general idea of their value and they’re not going to make me rich! 

So we settled on books. 

Some years back C had the opportunity to raid a private library of a former executive of the Chattanooga Bakery – the makers of the original Moon Pie.  His boss at the time was purging the contents of a dead relative’s estate and asked C if he had any interest in any of the leftover books.  C brought home several boxes of interesting old books, many of which are first editions.   She seemed to care less about the leftovers of the estate, and we’ve always wondered if the books were of any value. 

According to the rules of the Antique Roadshow, each person is allowed to bring two items to the taping.  An item may consist of multiple pieces and is considered one collection. 

Strangely enough the rules state every ticket holder must bring at least one item.  Why the hell would you go without anything?  That became even more apparent after we got there.  You are assigned a time to get into the event.  Once there you wait in a general admission line for what can be hours.  Then once you actually reach the first check point, you are escorted to another line for your individual category – where you wait in line for hours more.  So, it’s beyond my comprehension why anyone would go and show up with nothing! 

Thankfully our tickets were for the last time slot of the day so the lines were not nearly as long as they appeared to have been earlier.  It was at the Georgia International Convention Center which is bigger than most small towns.  The event was set up to hold tens of thousand of people – imagine a football field and that was just the first waiting area.  But, by our time slot it had thinned out and we only waited a total of 3 - yes that’s three hours.  I don’t even have the time to describe the crowd and their items to you!  Let’s just say I haven’t seen so many crazies, bad fashion and wheelchairs in one place since my former New York office was next door to the Pennsylvania Hotel and the Westminster Dog Show was in town.

C had set aside a stack of six poetry books for me.  Most of them were published between 1825 and 1890’s.  For himself he chose volume one & two of Jefferson Davis’ Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.  I don’t know why I got the dainty set of poetry books and he snagged the butch historical narrative.  C had done some Internet searches on the books.  He didn’t find a lot of information and what he did find varied.  But, it appeared that a couple of the poetry books could be worth a few hundred dollars a piece. 

As our line slowly moved towards the set, they were filming a man who had an original Mickey Mantel baseball uniform from San Francisco.  It had been appraised between $35,000 - $40,000.  I just knew I was about to be given information that would lead to an early and prosperous retirement.  We really went just to have lunch and visit with a friend we had not seen in years, so the appraisal was not really important.  However, the closer I got to the cameras and the appraisal desk the more convinced I was that one of my books would be worth a large fortune. I was glad I shaved that morning.  I should have worn something nicer, but hair and makeup was on set so they would just have to make me look glamorous in my white Izod shirt and Old Navy shorts.

But, when I reach the appraisal desk a nice and informative woman told me my books weren’t worth shit.  Well, she didn’t use that language, but she may have well as.  $25 to $30 each depending on the readers interested, which really means nobody cares. 

C faired slightly better.  Old Jeff Davis’s books would have been worth around $400 but one title page was missing and they were not in pristine condition (both of which seemed to really piss off the appraisal lady), so $80 was the best she could do.

But it was fun to see old friends even if the Antiques Roadshow didn’t make me rich.

Example of good fashion as the crowd thinned out.  we were
only about an hour away from the set at this point!

Oh, one more thing.  The Appraisal Lady told me small poetry books were very common during the Victorian Era.  Women of decorum would read them, since novels were considered ‘low brow’.  So my poetry books are today’s crappy paperbacks.  But, just to show I have some decorum, I did read one of the books on the way home.  Its called Equinox by Elizabeth Curtis and was the thinnest of them all and the one with the biggest type.  It was the newest having been published in 1925.  Low brow as I am, I’m not much on poetry.  But, for obvious reasons this poem has stayed with me.

Greek Model

Tall colonnades of marble, deepest green
Of pointed cypresses against a blue
And misty sea where shining sail boats lean,
The purple cliffs crowned by an instinct true
For harmony and stately flowing line; -
Here is the model which our fathers chose
In old colonial days, well balanced, fine
Their dwellings as their lives – effect who knows

Of this environment upon their minds.
Now formless hectic times when standards fall,
When changing styles of every country blinds
The vision with a gaudy, ornate, pall,
We turn for beauty to the wisdom sage,
The pillared portals of the classic age.


1 comment:

  1. you were less than 3 miles from my house and not so much as an email??

    fart on your butt.


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