How to Get on Antiques Roadshow

By Contributor

This wildly popular PBS program started in 1990 and has been largely responsible for the growing awareness of antiques. If the Roadshow comes to your town, don't miss a chance for a free appraisal--and a chance to be on national television.

Check for tour stops on PBS.org. Each year the Roadshow visits a number of major cities.

Send a postcard with your name and address to enter a random drawing for tickets. If your postcard is one of the 3,000 drawn (per city), you'll receive two tickets to the event--for free.

Choose your antique wisely. There's no sure-fire item that will land you an on-air appraisal. Unusual and older items tend to receive more attention.

Weigh your options. If you decide to bring along a large hutch, you'll have to figure out how to get it safely from home to the show and home again. You and your back might be happier toting a nice piece of jewelry instead.

Wear an outfit that's suitable for TV, but also dress comfortably, especially when it comes to shoes. You'll spend a lot of time on your feet.

Get in line early. The Roadshow suggests you arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the doors opening, but expect the crowd to be there then anyway. When you reach the head of the line, general appraisers will listen as you tell what you know about your antique. Then they will point you toward the right table for an appraisal.

Be a star. If appraisers see something rare or unusual in what you've brought, they might film your appraisal. You won't receive any information until the cameras roll; the show is looking for a genuine reaction. If you're chosen, don't assume you'll receive good news. Some treasure hunters learn the hard way that they spent too much.

Tip

Share everything you know about your antique, such as how long it's been in your family, who the previous owners were or what it was used for. It not only helps the appraiser put the right price on something, it's good TV.

Warning

If you're worried about damaging an item while you wait in line, or transporting your antique to the show site, don't bring it.