Posted at 10:08 AM ET, 07/26/2011

‘Antiques Roadshow’ finds million-dollar stash


Asian art expert and veteran "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser Lark Mason poses with a collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
“Antique Roadshow” may be the best reality show ever. It’s an unassuming show that builds in suspense, wraps in hope and plucks at the heart cords of nostalgia.

Folks from across the country haul in treasures their families have collected over the years and have a few minutes with antique experts, sharing the stories of their heirlooms. Everyone with any dusty relic passed down from a grandparent knows the feeling that maybe, just maybe, that porcelain doll, that odd paper-cut painting, that crystal vase may be worth something more than just family love.

For one Oklahoma man, his collection was worth a lot more: $1 million to $1.5 million more, actually.

The show, which will air its 16th season on PBS next year, said a man brought in Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups to be appraised by Asian art expert and veteran “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser Lark Mason. Mason declared it the most valuable item in the history of “Antiques Roadshow,” beating out an 18th century Qianlong Jade Collection.

We’ll have to wait to see the show, but here’s the 2010 highest-appraised piece. The woman’s understated reaction to finding out her dad’s collection of Chinese sculptures captures why this show is so fabulous. She finds out she owns nearly a million dollars in jade pieces. Her succinct reply: “Damn.”

The show ends before we get to the nitty-gritty: Do the people sell their family memories?

By  |  10:08 AM ET, 07/26/2011

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