Are you a fan of 'Antiques Roadshow' on PBS? Here's an inside look at their visit to The Ringling

Antiques Roadshow Appraisal

An "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser discusses a Civil War-ear sword that was submitted for appraisal at a filming in Sarasota.
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An "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser discusses a Civil War-ear sword that was submitted for appraisal at a filming in Sarasota.

PBS hit "Antiques Roadshow" paid a visit to Ca' d’Zan at The Ringling on Thursday.

Antiques Roadshow producers invited staff from the Herald to come get a rare look at the making of the show.

Only 1,750 pairs of free tickets were given out to Thursday's event. Winners were randomly selected from a pool of applications submitted by Feb. 27. Each ticket holder was allowed to bring up to two items for appraisal.

Here's what the Bradenton Herald sent to Roadshow:

  • A Civil War-era sword belonging to a captain in the Union Army with copies of supporting documents, including an honorable discharge letter signed by Abraham Lincoln and photo of the officer.

  • A piece of plain, glazed pottery suspected to be by midcentury modern Californian potter Joel Edwards.

Civil War Sword
A close-up of the Civil War-era sword that Bradenton Herald staff sent to "Antiques Roadshow" to be appraised. Ryan Ballogg

After checking in at the front gate of The Ringling, ticket holders were carted across the museum grounds with their items, past Mable Ringling's rose garden and up to the lawn of Ca' d'Zan.

From there, a friendly group made up of local WEDU volunteers and Antiques Roadshow staff funneled the visitors into a tent, where pre-appraisers sorted the items by category and gave the owners a matching ticket.

The Civil War sword got an "Arms and Militaria" ticket and the pottery got a "Pottery and Porcelain" ticket.

From there, visitors were directed to an appraisal tent on the south side of Ca' d'Zan. Signs directed visitors to the correct table for their appraisal category.

A look at the outdoor appraisal tent at a Sarasota filming of "Antiques Roadshow."

Around 50 appraisers were present at Thursday's event. Antiques Roadshow's appraisers hail from auction houses and independent antiques dealers around the country. They all know their stuff.

Visitors were given in-depth background on items from statues and paintings to antique firearms and birdcages.

The results for the Herald's items were a little disappointing, but informative.

The sword is likely a Prussian export. They were often bought by officers who could not afford the top-notch models. The appraiser said that during its time the sword would have been beautiful, with a bright and frosty filigree. The original documents might increase the value of the sword. Estimated worth: $300 to $400.

The pottery could not be authenticated as a Joel Edwards piece. However, even if it was, appraiser David Rago compared it to an early Picasso. It would be interesting, but not one of the most desirable pieces. Rago did say that the piece is well made and has an interesting glaze. Estimated worth: No significant value.

Visitors who had truly exceptional items were approached by show producers. If an item made the cut, the owner was ushered inside of Ca' d'Zan to film a segment for the show.

A look at the video set of "Antiques Roadshow" inside the Ca' d'Zan at The Ringling in Sarasota.

Thursday's filming session will eventually be transformed into three hourlong episodes of Antiques Roadshow. In addition to appraisals, the episodes will include factoids and features about the historic Ca' d'Zan, according to the show's executive producer Marsha Bemko. There will also be scenic views of Sarasota Bay.

Bemko said she was thrilled about shooting the show at Ca' d'Zan.

"If they invited you to a sleepover, wouldn't you come?" Bemko said. "They let us in the front door. Me and my 3,000 friends."

Catch the Sarasota episodes of "Antiques Roadshow" on WEDU sometime in 2019. For now, watch previous episodes from 8-10 p.m. Monday nights on WEDU.

Ryan Ballogg: 941-745-7024, @rballogg