Antiques Roadshow, Season 13

Mon, 01/05/2009 - 8:00pm

In Palm Springs, California, appraiser Alasdair Nichol of Freeman's Auction House discovers the most valuable object ever appraised on the series: this 1937 oil painting by noted American abstract expressionist Clyfford Still, estimated to be worth $500,000.

Jeffrey Dunn for WGBH

It’s a fast game when Antiques Roadshow returns for its 13th season on PBS, with host Mark L. Walberg and a cast of thousands: collectors from six U.S. cities, who bet that their prized possessions will win them a slot on the six-time Emmy® Award-nominated PBS series. At the top of the heap: a guest at the Palm Springs, California Roadshow event who antes up an old housewarming gift only to discover that the 1937 painting, by noted American abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still is conservatively estimated to be worth $500,000 — making it the most valuable object ever appraised on the series. Antiques Roadshow’s new season begins Monday, January 5 at 8 p.m. and airs on consecutive Mondays, with repeat broadcasts Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1).

Palm Springs, California, also wins the toss for first slot in Antiques Roadshow’s new 2009 season. In addition to the exciting Clyfford Still discovery, the premiere episode features a segment with a completely different spin on hidden treasures: a conversation with private collector Jim McCarty, who lost more than half his large collection of coveted California plein air paintings to theft. McCarty reveals the tactics that led to his recovery of many of the works of art; he invites the public to join the hunt.

From Palm Springs, Roadshow trots off to Dallas, Texas to inspect antique state flags; uncovers the history of air travel posters in aviation hub Wichita, Kansas; fires a real Civil War cannon in Chattanooga, Tennessee; takes an appraising look at modern, locally manufactured furniture in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and navigates Mystic Seaport’s outstanding collection of maritime paintings near Hartford, Connecticut.

Roadshow deals up 20 new episodes in 2009, including two Antiques Roadshow special editions.

• Palm Springs, California – January 5, 12, 19
• Dallas, Texas – January 26, February 2, 9
• Wichita, Kansas – February 16, 23, March 23
• Chattanooga, Tennessee – March 30, April 6, 13
• Grand Rapids, Michigan – April 20, 27, May 4
• Hartford, Connecticut – May 11, 18, 25
• Special Edition: Big & Little (finds of extraordinary sizes)
• Special Edition: Relative Riches (puts family folk lore to the test)

Following is a small sample of jackpot-winning discoveries from Roadshow’s 2009 season:

• Palm Springs, California – The black dress created for and worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot, valued at $150,000-$200,000.

• Dallas, Texas – An 1847 oil painting by noted 19th-century artist James Henry Beard titled The Illustrious Guest — featuring the famous American statesman Henry Clay as a guest in a tavern — valued at $300,000-$500,000

• Wichita, Kansas – A collection of Mickey Mantle payroll checks and a 1949 team photo of the Independence Yankees — given to the guest by her grandfather who managed the team the first year that Mickey Mantle played — valued at $150,000-$200,000

• Chattanooga, Tennessee – An exquisite diamond necklace with pearl and platinum detail made in the late 1800s by Phelps & Perry of New York City and valued at $250,000.

• Grand Rapids, Michigan – An 1881 painting by Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey, bought by the owner’s brother-in-law 30 years ago for $7,000 and valued today at $300,000.

• Hartford, Connecticut – A 1760 Chippendale mahogany and cedar side table bought at an estate sale and valued at $250,000-$350,000.

Only a select group is lucky enough to be chosen for the spotlight, and not every player is a winner. As any seasoned Roadshow fan knows, chances are that the unassuming water jug is worth more than the sparkly jewels in this game of appraisal roulette.

The Antiques Roadshow Web site,, contains a searchable archive of appraisal videos from past seasons with a text transcript of the object’s appraisal, lists of attributes for each object and the name of the appraiser; a “you are there” video feature called “Your Stories”; more details about extraordinary Roadshow finds in “Follow the Stories”; “Tips of the Trade” from the experts; a glossary; a teacher’s guide for using Roadshow in the classroom; FAQs; the TV schedule; links to cities visited on past tours; information about appraisers and host Mark L. Walberg; and more.