Each ticket had an entry time - ours was 8:00 am. We could get in line 30 minutes before your scheduled time. If you came early, you were stopped and told to wait. We got there a little past 7:30 so we walked right in. As you approached the head of the line your tickets were checked again and then you were taken to a group of tables for sorting. We were given three "jewelry" tickets for the jewelry items and one "tools and implements" ticket for my spinning wheel. Then we were taken onto the Antiques Roadshow set... (Sorry - no photography allowed.)
The set was round with an area for filming in the center. All around the outside of the circle were the appraisal tables. They had tables for everything: jewelry, pottery, glass, furniture, paper items, ceramics, toys and games, folk art, tools and implements, musical instruments, sports memorabilia, and more. I half expected to see an "everything else" table... Our guide walked us over to the "tools and implements" table where we waited in another line for our turn to speak with the appraiser.After I put my spinning wheel up on the table, (its small - the wheel is smaller than a dinner plate,) he asked us what we knew about it. I explained that, according to family stories, it was brought over from Germany when my grandma's (yes, the new-hip lady) grandma's grandma came over in 1867. Supposedly her father had made it for her. She was a little girl when she came over, which explained why it was so small.
He agreed with the story... It was 1860s European - from the Black Forest region of either Germany or Switzerland and quite small. She said its small size was uncommon, but he doubted that it was homemade since it was too well made. He felt like a homemade item wouldn't have been turned so nicely or have bone/ivory pieces. I had been told the spinning wheel was rosewood, but he said no - instead he said is was beech and some kind of fruit wood. He also said that spinning wheels don't have a lot of value - that they are often more valuable to the family they came from. Final value - about $350, though we might see it go for twice that in a retail setting due to its small size. We have no plans on selling it, but it was really good to find out the family story was, in fact, true.
Except for the gold paint part... I got the wheel from my grandma's cousin, Jean, when she found out I knew how to spin. When she gave it to me she told me that it had been refinished in the 1940s when a family member borrowed it for his shop window display. Jean said her mother was furious when she walked by the store and saw he had painted it gold! The appraiser disagreed... He said he would be able to tell if it had been painted, that there would be signs - none of which he saw. He felt it had the original finish. (Sorry there is no photo. I would have to put it together again - not a good idea with toddlers around.)
Then is was on to another line to wait for the jewelry appraisers. We took a bracelet and broach set that belonged to my Great Grandma Nell:Final word: 1890s, costume jewelry made of brass and glass, value $125-150 each. (The date tells me it must have belonged to Nell's mother or mother-in-law as Nell turned 11 in 1900.
A "thingy" that I inherited from my Grandfather Reyniear:Final word: 1890s silver Scottish match safe with agate inlay, made in England, value $150. The age of this piece and the fact it is Scottish tells me it actually came from my Grandma Lilly's family (married to Reyniear.) She came over from Scotland when she was a little girl. The date tells me it probably belonged to her father...
The last thing we took was a set that belonged to my Grandma Lilly: Final word: 1930s, 10K white gold with artificial aquamarine (aka glass) and man-made pearls (aka fake.) Designed to look like the popular platinum and aquamarine pieces of the day. A step above costume jewelry due to the use of gold but only worth $125-150 each.
That well oiled machine had us packed up and walking out the door by 9:30 am. Pretty good considering the throngs of people who were there. You know, I really don't care about how much my spinning wheel and the jewelry are worth- they are family pieces and I have no plans on selling them - it was just fun to go and be a part of the Antiques Roadshow experience. Even waiting in the lines was fun. I loved looking at everyone else's treasures. It will be interesting to watch the Grand Rapids show (which will air in January 2009) and see if any of the treasures we saw made it into the show.