'Antiques Roadshow' Rolls Into Town

More than 6,000 fans of the PBS show flocked to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Hopeful fans came from near and far with firearms, furniture, toys, and trinkets to a taping of PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” Saturday (the smart ones also brought folding chairs for the long lines). It’s the first time in 12 years that the show has come through Boston, and executive producer Marsha Bemko estimated that crews shot about 60-70 hours of appraisals and asides that will be edited down to three, hour-long shows airing early next year.

Bemko told us that the morning began with “a bang,” when one of Norman Rockwell’s former child sitters brought in one of his paintings valued between $40,000 and $60,000, as well as a rickety old chair that belonged to the artist — also valued between $40,000 and $60,000. (Mayor Menino also stopped by to have a winter landscape painting by Aldro Hibbard appraised — it was discovered in the attic of Dorchester’s Mather Elementary School and is apparently worth around $50,000, according to the Globe.)

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any would-be treasures to share — pretty sure Etsy and IKEA finds don’t count — so we lived vicariously through the other guests. Here are some of the people and stories we uncovered:

Above, Barbara from Westport, Conn., holds one of two shimmery stage dresses that she had appraised on camera. Her late friend Naomi “Bonnie” Klair Parker was once under contract at RKO and left to follow the cabaret circuit through New York, Paris, London, and Beirut in the 1940s and early 1950s. Each dress has an estimated value of $2,500-$3,000.

“I couldn’t stand the idea of the dresses just sitting in a box under my bed — now they can be appreciated and shown off,” Barbara said, adding that her tickets to the “Roadshow” were a Mother’s Day present.

Bill from Milford, Conn., lugged this 60-pound sculpture around the set (while wearing a very loud shirt). He and his wife, Samantha, who spent the weekend in Boston, found that the bronze hunting dog — purchased by their inlaws at an auction for $700 in the early 1980s — was by French sculpture Jules Mogniez and is now worth about $2,000-$3,000. The couple also brought in a “Salvador Dali” that was deemed fake by three different appraisers.

“That’s good enough for me,” Bill said, laughing.

This green stunner belongs to Tom from Elliot, Maine. His mom dropped it off at his house — “She’s always trying to give me antiques,” he said — and he did little but try to keep the dogs off it. He found out that it’s circa 1880-1920 and part of a parlor set; appraisers told him that with the matching chairs, it would be about $600-$900 for the set.

His friend Jason from Rochester, New York, was the one who procured the show tickets. He brought in this World War II dagger that his grandfather lifted off a German paratrooper. The weapon is worth between $600 and $900.

Jason also brought in four pocket watches that belonged to his grandmother, valued at approximately $1,100 for the group. The fusee watch with a serpentine hand, above, dates to around 1800.

And this was all before 10:30 a.m. Makes us want to hit up Brimfield ASAP.

(All photos by Courtney Hollands)