The first time Joyce won tickets to Antiques Roadshow, she had to turn them down because they were for the weekend of her bachelorette party.
But it was a tough choice.
So when the popular PBS appraisal show announced the filming sites for its 24th season, Joyce entered the lottery for the taping at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware. And again, she won — but this time, she got to bring her husband.
The couple drove eight hours from their home in New Hampshire to attend Tuesday’s taping so Joyce could get the sterling-silver tea set she bought for $40 at a barn sale appraised. She learned it was worth $2,000.
“I was so excited. I hit the jackpot. It’s like Christmas!” she said. “It’s all about the hunt!”
Winning tickets to the Winterthur taping was no easy feat. More than 17,000 people entered the free lottery for 2,000 pairs of tickets to the show’s first Delaware taping.
About 3,000 people brought their treasures and trinkets to the estate of Henry Francis du Pont to chat with appraisers who volunteer their time to help tell people the worth — and the stories — of their goods.
For executive producer Marsha Bemko that’s what Roadshow is all about, the stories.
“Three thousand people will never cease to surprise you,” she said. “The things that they own and the stories that they tell are always so fresh and unique.”
As part of Roadshow’s policy to protect guests who may have high-value items, the Inquirer agreed to publish only the first names of attendees.
Three one-hour shows, slated to air in 2020 locally on WHYY, will be made from Roadshow’s one-day stop at Winterthur.
Here are a few of the best objects — and stories — we saw.
Darts and laurels
When Janie from Lansdowne went to a flea market in Philadelphia last year, a slender, hollow wooden pole topped with a small enclosed straw basket caught her eye. She didn’t know what it was and neither did the guy who sold it to her for $10.
So she brought it to the Roadshow, where it raised some eyebrows.
“People thought it was a weapon and I’m like ‘It’s not a weapon, it’s decorative!’” she said. “Apparently, it is a weapon.”
Janie filmed a segment with appraiser Anthony Slayter-Ralph who told her it was a blow pipe from the Amazon. And, for the first time, he showed her that inside the basket on the pipe were a handful of very pointy darts that would typically be dipped on poisonous frogs.
Slayter-Ralph valued the item at around $300 and dated it to the 1950s.
This soup is nuts
In 2004, Liz from Philadelphia received one of Andy Warhol’s famed Campbell’s Soup screen prints from her husband for her birthday on June 21.
On July 4, he left her.
She now believes it was probably a guilt gift, but it was the best gift he ever gave her.
Liz’s ex paid $1,800 for the print; it was appraised for insurance purposes at the Roadshow for $50,000.
“It makes it hard to get rid of stuff,” she said.
A trek for Lautrec
George and his 90-year-old mother, Anne, traveled from Lancaster with a poster of singer May Belfort by famed French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Anne’s father bought the poster in London in 1961. But because the singer is painted holding a cat — and Anne’s mother hated cats — it sat in a cupboard for decades.
“Eventually it was appreciated and loved, though, when I inherited it,” Anne said.
Appraiser Nicholas D. Lowry — known to Roadshow fans as the man with the handlebar mustache and plaid suits — put an auction estimate on the piece of $4,000 to $6,000.
That’s the ticket
Sisters Janet, of Philadelphia, and Jane, of Fort Myers, Fla., brought a set of tickets to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that belonged to their grandfather, who worked as an engineer aboard the Abraham Lincoln, a train that ran between St. Louis and Chicago.
The sisters said their tickets were estimated at $1,250.
Virginia of Hockessin, Del., brought a Howdy Doody doll she found while helping to clean out the house of a friend who died.
She said an appraiser valued it at about $75 but said she might be able to get more at an auction.
“But he’s not going to auction,” Virginia said, as she hugged Howdy Doody close to her chest. “He’s very special to me because that friend of mine was very special to me.”