LENA MITCHELL: Antiques Roadshow fan had a wonderful time

By Lena Mitchell / Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

They say anticipation is half the fun. I found truth in that statement as I spent more than two months glorying in my success at winning two tickets to attend the PBS Antiques Roadshow production held in Biloxi on July 24.
It was the popular antique appraisal event’s first visit to the Magnolia State, and I was one of 3,000 people who won the online free ticket lottery. About 13,000 people had requested tickets, the show’s producer said during a Mississippi Public Broadcasting fundraiser.
I’ll dispense with the mystery right now, though.
No, my personal treasure – an antique bedroom set – was not as rare or as valuable as I think it is beautiful.
Neither Martha nor I made it past the first appraisal table, but I met one of the Roadshow’s furniture antique stars, Leslie Keno of Sothesby’s in New York.
He’s a popular guy, and many fans of the show sought him out for photos, and I got his autograph on my ticket.
Though my hopes were dashed, I learned information about the furniture that I hadn’t been able to unearth through several years of searches on the Internet. The set is well-crafted and of quality materials, but too many of the sets are readily available for it to hold high monetary value.
It remains a treasure to me, however, for the memories it brings of my aunt, who used it in her Philadelphia, Pa., guest room, where I spent many weekends during my college years and after.
The friend who used my second ticket – Martha Lambert of Iuka – learned that her set of drinking glasses was produced to publicize the opening of the movie “Gone With the Wind.”
Now, back to the Roadshow experience.
It was apparent early on that I was extremely fortunate to receive the tickets. Each year the Roadshow chooses six cities for appraisal events and announces the locations in January. Anyone wanting to attend one of the events must register for the free ticket lottery by mid-April.
The third week in May, I received an e-mail from the Roadshow directing me to the ticket checker website to learn if my name was selected for tickets.
“Congratulations!” the notice said. “Your application was chosen to receive two (2) tickets. You should receive your tickets by mail approximately two weeks prior to the event.”
Thus began eight weeks of waiting and anticipation.
Fortunately I didn’t have to struggle taking a large piece of furniture from Iuka to Biloxi. The set includes a small plant stand, which is the item I took to the Roadshow, along with photos of the other pieces.
By the end of June I received the tickets in the mail, and a final event reminder e-mail from the Roadshow on July 20.
Not only was I excited about attending the Roadshow, but this was my first trip to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. But that’s a story for another day.
Roadshow guests were assigned specific times between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and told to arrive no more than 30 minutes ahead of the ticket time.
Martha and I held tickets for 9 a.m., and we arrived at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center at about 8:45 a.m. Dozens of volunteers were on duty throughout the event to guide hundreds of guests to the right locations for each category of item.
Probably the biggest surprise was that although we got to see the items other people standing near us in line brought to be evaluated, we didn’t have a chance to see and hear appraisals of other people’s items from the experts.
We were reminded more than once that it was a production studio environment, so everything was much more controlled than it appears when you’re watching the show on TV. If they choose an item for taping, the owner is taken off to the Green Room to wait for producers to film the segment.
My Antiques Roadshow experience wasn’t the road to riches, but it was a special time that I hope to be fortunate enough to repeat one day.

Lena Mitchell is the Daily Journal Corinth Bureau reporter. Contact her at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.