Mr.  Apron and I like to watch Antiques Roadshow.  We can catch it twice a week if we’re lucky, on Mondays on WHYY, the Philadelphia PBS station, and on Tuesdays on NJN, the New Jersey PBS station.  Unfortunately, we’re starting to see reruns, which takes the element of surprise out of the trash and treasure.  Our faces aren’t as surprised as those of the folks on camera when the fake Weller vase from the 1940s turns out to be worth only $100, because we’ve seen this episode twice already.  It’s no fun predicting the garage sale finds and the paste.  In addition to making guesses about the appraisal value, Mr. Apron and I, like all of Roadshow-watching America, try to think about our own trash, and decide which of our own belongings would be worthy of taking to Roadshow if it ever comes back to Philly.

Here is a list of the items we’ve talked about bringing:

  • A Hammond type 12 typewriter c.1895 we inherited from Mr. Apron’s former home-ec teacher, whose late husband used it in his law practice till the 1970s.  She found out shortly after our wedding that Mr. Apron had a thing for typewriters (we now have 7), and gave it to us as a wedding gift.  We have the original bent-wood case, and as we all know from watching Roadshow, having cases and original boxes and labels and such (we have the original celluloid plaque — also unusual) make things likelier to get on camera.
  • My mother’s pocket-watch collection.  Her mother was an avid watch collector, and always knew when she was getting a bargain.  She passed down at least 2 pocket watches and many many wrist watches to me and my siblings, but I think my mother got the more valuable stuff.  Our of curiousity, she gave her collection to us to take down to our trusted jewelers (we have a close relationship with our jewelers due to these and other watches and other vintage jewelry) to have them refurbish and/or value the pieces.  While we didn’t get appraisals, per se, Mr. Gerlach was able to tell Mr. Apron information about each one, which he dutifully wrote down.  The prized piece in her collection is Swiss  and dates from the 1770s.  As we also know from watching Roadshow, having a collection (carnival canes, hat pins, cameos, autographed baseballs) of many of one thing may also increase the odds of getting on camera.
  • I have a necklace given to me by my mother, who was holding onto it for me since approximately 1982, when it was given to her by my great great aunt.  My family’s generations are usually quite long, so that I only ever met 3 of my grandparents, all of whom have passed away, and I never met any of my great grandparents, or anyone of that generation, except this aunt.  In my baby book are countless old ladies with perms holding, touching, and cooing over me.  I never knew who any of these folks were until last October, when my mother told me about the necklace as she gave it to me for my 2nd wedding anniversary.  She then looked through my baby book and named one of the heretofore anonymous ladies.  She gave it to me for the anniversary, instead of my birthday, because my great-great aunt had been given it by her husband for their tenth wedding anniversary.  We figure she was married around 1910.  My mother couldn’t bear to hold onto it for another 8 years, so she gave it to me last fall, in the original mailing box (original box!), with the letter my great great aunt wrote to my mother.  It still smells faintly of old lady perfume.  The necklace itself is tri-colored gold (rose, yellow, and white), in the shape of a Star of David, with inset ten commandments, and it sparkles with diamonds.  Very few things pass down in my family with stories, and I love having the documentation with this one.  Documentation — you guessed it — helps with provenance, and increases the odds of getting on camera.

I guess three things doesn’t really make a list.  As Mr. Apron just said, “Yes, we talk about what we’d bring, but it’s always the same things.”  Big fat lot of help he was in writing this blog, eh?  Really, we don’t have much in the way of heirlooms, but we love the antique “style” furniture we pick up at thrift stores, from our fake Chippendale dining room chairs to the spinet desk that graces in our entryway.  Even if it’ll never pay for our children’s college education.  Maybe we can bring in the desk and have one of the Kenos tell us it’s a fake — that’s another way to get on camera!

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