Is my heirloom worth taking on "Antiques Roadshow"?

Going to the Show

If you've ever wanted to attend an "Antiques Roadshow," you're in good company. The show only travels during June, July and August, which leaves the rest of the year for throngs of people to try to land a ticket. The good news is the tickets are free. The bad news is there are far fewer tickets than there are people who want them. The application process is pretty easy -- you find out if they're coming to your city and apply before the deadline. But they choose ticketholders through a random lottery; whether or not you get one is pure luck.

Everyone is allowed to bring one guest, and you each get to take two items for appraisal. Unfortunately, even if you hold the golden ticket, you may not make it onto the actual TV show. Items for taping are selected based on what the appraisers and producers find to be rare, valuable or interesting. If you have a piece that isn't particularly valuable but has an interesting story, you may still have a chance to appear on air. The selection process is very subjective, so there is no hard-and-fast rule about who will be chosen. Appraisers see around 10,000 items for each show, and they only pick 80 to record. You do the math.

Once you have your ticket, how do you know what heirloom to take with you? Keep reading for tips.