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Something old, something new: Antiques Roadshow returns to Colorado



Clara and her mother Susan were noticeably jubilant after finding out their painting was worth $150,000.

The sizeable abstract art, beaming with splattered color, was deemed an original Sam Gilliam by appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow on Wednesday, hiking up the hefty price. 

“Somehow this fell off the radar,” Susan said of the painting, once purchased by her stepmother in 1974 in Washington D.C. and now hanging on her wall idly. “I didn’t know anything about the artist. I didn’t know that he had become collectable.”

Both Clara and Susan saw that the Antiques Roadshow was coming to film at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms as part of the reality show’s 29th season and decided to get the art checked out.

Now, they’re leaving happy.

Susan, a Metro Denver resident, inherited a painting from her stepmother that was appraised for $150,000

Susan, a metro Denver resident, inherited a painting from her stepmother that was appraised for $150,000 by an art expert at Antiques Roadshow at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. 

The painting is going back up on the wall, “But I don’t know what’s going to happen after that,” Susan joked.

The mother-daughter duo were just two of the nearly 3,000 Denver-area residents invited to bring antique items to the show’s taping on Wednesday. Almost 23,000 people applied to get tickets.

Producers asked that last names and places of residence not be published. 

Antiques Roadshow — the PBS reality program that sees experts giving real antique appraisals to real people since 1997 — has been to the Denver area four times in its 27-year run, with the last time being 14 years ago.

“It was time to get back to Colorado. What a beautiful place,” Marsha Bemko, executive producer of Antiques Roadshow, said while looking out over the hundreds of people and appraisers laid out through Chatfield Farms.

The show stopped in Nevada and Arkansas before stopping in Littleton. It will then head to Iowa and Maryland before wrapping filming. The season will then air, with episodes designated to each city, in 2025. 

Paul Winicki, an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, examines a guest's watch

Paul Winicki, an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, examines a guest’s watch closely at the television show’s stop in Littleton, Colo. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. 

While around 27,000 will bring items to be appraised by the over-100 specialist appraisers at the string of events, only around 450 will be chosen for the filming spotlight. 

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“The appraisers are on the frontlines. They see the stuff that’s coming in. They know what’s good,” Bemko said. The appraisers then pitch the personal stories and items to producers. Producers decide which ones will be filmed for the various episodes of the new season.

Bemko added that the elements of picking the perfect segments to air include: “It’s a good item. It’s something we haven’t seen a lot of. The guest is talkative, alive.”

But, even if the majority of people aren’t chosen to appear on the PBS program, they are still leaving the event elated.

Sara and Kevin, for example, brought in tintype photos of Sara’s distant relatives to have appraised and observed. And though the items may not be worth the $150,000 the Sam Gilliam painting is, having the new information helps keep the heirlooms prized by the family.

“The photographs are family heirlooms on her side,” Kevin said. “I don’t have a lot of those from my family, so going back and looking at the time period and the way people look and dress really stands out. We can show our kids and future generations.”

The appraisers are also just happy to be there.

All of the appraisers — even the ones who have been on the show throughout the years — are entirely volunteers. They pay their own way to each location and provide their appraisal services free of charge. 

Antiques Roadshow experts appraise items

Antiques Roadshow experts appraise items at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms in Littleton, Colo. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. 

Though the appraisers, with some being around for nearly all of the 27-year run, are getting older, Bemko doesn’t believe that the appraiser profession and the Antiques Roadshow are going out of style.

“I don’t think it’ll go away,” Bemko said of the art of appraising antiques. “You’re seeing young people come up. We have young people on our set as they come up. It takes a while to have enough knowledge to be on our set and deal with the onslaught of the day.”

She added that experts aren’t trained the way they used to be, but there will always be appraisers.

Regarding the show, now almost considered an antique in its own right, Bemko says it’s still going strong. 

“Younger people are into us, especially when they know about us,” Bemko said. “We’re on all social media and somebody on TikTok said to us, ‘This is so good, you guys should make a TV show’.”

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