‘Antiques Roadshow’ Mistakenly Values High School Art Sculpture At $50,000

Much of the fun in watching Antiques Roadshow, the PBS stalwart that has been on for as long as many people can remember, is getting the chance to see ordinary people find out that the teapots or pieces of memorabilia in the back of their cabinets are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. For every jewelry box that is passed on from a deceased relative that turns out to be of almost no value, there are random crates of dishes that net the owner more than they could have ever imagined. Due to the tricky nature of appraising random possessions for television, Antiques Roadshow makes sure everyone is aware that the valuations are just opinions and may not actually net the owner that specific amount.

Such a disclaimer came into handy recently when a vase estimated to be worth $50,000 or more ended up being nothing more than a high school art project from the 1970s. The original artist was alerted to the mistake via a friend who remembered her handiwork from their high school years. Based on the shape it was in when the current owner found it, you can’t blame him for hoping it was a special and unique piece. According to Hyperallergic, owner Alvin Barr explained his estate sale find to Stephen Fletcher as such:

“It was covered with dirt and straw. Looked like some chicken droppings were on it. It was very dirty. I had to have it. It speaks to me … it was saying, ‘I’m very unusual … I’m very different.’”

Sounds like a stroke of random good luck, right? Unfortunately, the piece is valued at less than 10% of the on-air estimate. One has to hope Barr tried to get a second opinion to corroborate the price and sell it before PBS posted their online correction with an updated price. Fletcher had his own response to the mistake, which doesn’t do much in the way of convincing us this isn’t the most hilarious mix-up Antiques Roadshow has ever given the world”

“We have sold at auction several examples from the 19th century — all of which are from the eastern half of the United States, and have a single grotesque face — some for five figures,” he said. “This example, with its six grotesque faces, was modeled or sculpted with considerable imagination, virtuosity and technical competence. …The techniques of making pottery, in many ways, haven’t changed for centuries.

“Still not bad for a high schooler in Oregon.”

Ah yes, ending with a backhanded compliment is always bound to endear you to the masses after messing up royally on a popular television show. Fortunately this will probably all be forgotten in the near future and everybody can go back to their normal days filled with appraising obscure furniture and housewares.

(via Hyperallergic)