You're the lucky duck who snagged a ticket, and now you're trying to decide if your heirloom is worth taking on the show. How much do you already know about the piece? Have you been told by other family members that it's valuable, or do you just suspect that it is? What kind of condition is it in? Is it a 1960s limited edition Barbie that's never been taken out of its mint condition box, or is it a Louis XIV chair with a patched-up leg and a reupholstery job? The show's appraisers will give you a verbal appraisal for anything you bring -- as long as it fits through the door and you can carry it.
You really don't really have anything to lose other than your hopes that your heirloom may fund your retirement. You could get some great news that it's worth more than you ever suspected, or you may be disappointed and find that it's only worth about 50 cents at a garage sale. If you don't want to go and feel embarrassed by your high hopes, you can always hire an appraiser to give you an idea of its value beforehand. Unfortunately, there's no way to get one from the Roadshow folks unless you attend a show. But chances are you'll find out more about your heirloom than you knew before, which is always great information to pass along to your heir.
- Antique Appraisal Guide. "More About The Antique Road Show." Oct. 9, 2005. (Aug. 20, 2010) http://www.antiqueappraisalguide.com/content/view/13/27/
- Antiques Roadshow. "On The Road: Frequently Asked Questions." 2010. (Aug. 20, 2010) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/faq_02.html#appraisals_00
- Dictionary.com. "Antique." 2010. (Aug. 20, 2010) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/antique