Here's what happens:
There are 7000 visitors to the Roadshow, who bring between one and
two (and more when they can sneak them in, those jars of marbles are killers!) items to
appraise, for a total of 10,000 -12,000 items brought in and appraised during the day.
There are 70 appraisers, 50 television spots to fill and one
producer, Aida Moreno (on roller skates, I swear) who okays the items that make it to
television. That means that only something like .05% (it's probably not exact, I was
a journalism major, not math) of the items make it to TV.
How Items are chosen:
Each appraiser has to decide if an item is worthy of
television. Once we decide that the item is a good candidate, we put our name on a
list and, in order, Aida will come around our table. We pitch the item to Aida and
if she likes it, she will ask the people who brought the item if they'd like it appraised
on the air. If they say yes, they are whisked away to the green room and we await
when we're called to makeup. We then do the appraisal, live and unrehearsed.
What you see is what you get - it's all happening at the moment.
What do we appraisers want? An unusual item, a neat
(and true) story behind it. If you have an item that you have not seen on the Roadshow
and it has an interesting history, there's a good chance that it's Roadshow
Here's an example:
In Portland, a very nice lady named Esmerelda came in with a
mechanical pencil collection. Her grandfather ran a potato business in Idaho (where
else?) in the 1920's. Every time someone cam in, he'd ask them for a mechanical
pencil, amassing over 125 examples by the time he died. Since Esmerelda never knew
her grandfather, she asked for the pencils so she could have something to remember him by.
She then sewed them into fan formations and placed them into presentation boxes.
The pencils themselves are only worth between $5.00 and
$75.00 each, but altogether the collection is valued at between $2000.00 and $2500.00 and
will appreciate as that market becomes discovered. But it was the story and looking
at a mechanical pencil with a floating spud in it that gave this segment character.
And, that's what we as viewers remember, and why the show is so popular.
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