Antique Treasure

Pawn Stars

I love history.  I like reading about history and I like hearing stories about history.  Probably my most favorite form of entertainment is a good movie based on historical facts.  Secondly, I like historical documentaries such as the ones I watch on the history channel.  One day as I scanned the TV guide I noticed a show on the History Channel called Pawn Stars.  I did not pay much attention.  Months later I’m flipping channels and I watch a little of it because it seemed a little like Antiques Roadshow which I enjoy.  I did not connect at first with Pawn Stars because I did not see the connection to the History Channel.  More months went by.  After about a year on another occasion while browsing the TV I caught a transaction between the pawn shop and someone wanting to sell some buttons that supposedly belonged to George Washington.  I was skeptical but kept watching.  This was not the East coast, this is a pawn shop in Vegas.

            By the end of the episode I realized the owners of the pawn shop were good at dealing with people and were presented with a lot of interesting stuff.  Some of the viewers may like seeing them restore classic cars, speed boats and dirt bikes, but for me I love seeing the old valuable stuff that comes through their place.  People wanted to sell items such as a document with an actual John Hancock signature, ancient coins from India, old weapons from centuries ago in Europe, and so forth.  It actual amazes me and I find it quite entertaining.  The owner of the shop, Rick, convinces me he is pretty good when it comes to making an initial assessment of old artifacts.  I also am impressed with his wealth of consultants to advise him on just about anything that comes his way.  Like I said this Las Vegas, not Boston or Philadelphia.  He is quite often assessing American artifacts from hundreds of years ago.  I’m not sure how they wind up in Vegas, but they seem to.

            I am also impressed with the people he works with to help him restore old vending machines, cars, boats, and even an airplane.  Seeing people work with their hands to fix or improve what the pawn shop brings them brings a healthy dose of respect from me.  The Old Man, Rick’s father puts up a rough image, but he knows the pawn shop business.  I also suspect he is a pretty decent man.  I realized this when I saw the episode where Rick and his son Corey restored an old Chrysler Imperial for the Old Man’s fiftieth wedding anniversary.  That was cool.

           At first I was not sure about Corey and his friend Chumlee but I have grown to like them.  They are all quite entertaining.  When I run out of episodes of Pawn Stars I will anxiously await any new ones.  Pawn Stars is one of my all time favorite shows and I have been watching TV for over fifty years.  A lot of treasure is brought to their shop with a treasure –trove of stories to go along with it.  If you like valuable old stuff and a little history behind the stuff, you will like Pawn Stars.  As for me, I am going to treasure every minute of the show as long as it runs.  If I ever go to Vegas I hope to visit his shop.  I wish I had something cool for him to appraise but I don’t think that is going to happen.

Roadshow Treasure

  I enjoy watching TV programs such as Antiques Road Show and Pawn Stars that show the public bringing in items to be apraised for value.  Old coins, toys, guns, furniture, paintings, and so forth.  I recently saw one episode where a lady brought in some kitchen porcelain pieces that had been made in China several hundred years ago.  I’m not positive it was porcelain but I think that is what they called them.  I had just flipped the channel over from my football game and missed the first few minutes of the appraisal.  The four pieces were made from jade which would bring more value to them.  However, it was the fact that on the bottom of each porcelain piece was a stamp revealing that they had been made specifically for the emperor.   That really intrigued the appraisers.  As it turns out the four pieces were valued at anywhere from $700,000 to over one million dollars.  It would certainly have some of that China porcelain in your kitchen pantry.

            I do not think I have anything of real value that I could take to these shows.  Treasure Hunters Roadshow came to my West Texas town recently.  I wanted the experience of taking something to the show so I choose to bring some miniature baseball players that I bought at a flea market years ago.   I had many toy soldiers as a kid, but no sports pieces.  These were the same size as toy soldiers and they looked hand painted so I bought the team for less than $20.  There are about eleven of them as well as a couple of umpires.  They look old but it is hard to say.  Some newer toys are made to look old.  They are not solid metal but they not cheap rubber or plastic either.  Some sort of, dull hard acrylic.  I got the box out of my closet and anxiously looked forward to going to the show. 

       I showed the baseball toy figures to my co-workers and they thought it would be worth a trip to the road show.  One lady we work with went home and brought back a miniature metal stove she wanted to take to the show.  Her husband had dug up this 5 inch by 3 inch by 4 inch cast metal stove at a home he had helped remodel.  The home had been built near the turn of the 20th century so it was old.  We all got excited about her little oven.  I had doubts my baseball figures would be worth anything but her oven sure looked old.  Just before leaving for the show we thought we would do a quick check on the internet.  We were unable to find anything like my pieces and to our surprise we found her exact toy oven on the internet.  Unfortunately, the oven was valued at only $15 to $20.  We headed off anyway.            

            When we arrived at the Treasure Hunters Roadshow there was no line.  We were quickly greeted and we elected to show my pieces first.  Since there was no date on any of the figures they could not give me an appraisal.  It took all of 60 seconds.  As for her miniature oven, well, they went on the internet and told her it would be worth $15 to $20.  In about four minutes we were in and out.  I think they were mostly looking for old jewelry of silver and gold.  At least I can say I went to one of these shows.

            My wife and I had dinner with some friends that evening and I shared my experience with them.  My friend Jan expressed how she enjoys using some off her grandmother’s kitchen utensils because it reminds her of “treasured memories” with her from “many years ago.”  That’s what made them valuable to her.  I thought that put things in perspective and was a happy ending to my story.  Well, ………..at least until the next road show comes to town.  Maybe I’ll think of something else to bring at that time.  In the meantime I’ll just brag about the fact that I own my own baseball team.   I think I’ll call them the “no hitters.”

Speaking of searching for treasures check out our website hosting a board game  where players travel the world collecting some of the world’s old  and famous treasures.  www.treasuretrovegame.com