‘Antiques Roadshow’ begins taping Idaho show with stop at Egyptian Theater

As it films its 18th season, PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” is finally stopping in Idaho and expects about 5,000 treasure-clutching guests to swarm Expo Idaho in Garden City on Saturday. (Free tickets have already been distributed).

On Thursday, Executive Producer Marsha Bemko, host Mark Walberg and appraiser Peter Shemonsky were on hand to tape a short segment at Boise’s Egyptian Theater. Two other field segments will complement about 10,000 items brought by locals: law enforcement collectibles at the Old Idaho Penitentiary and the art of James Castle at the Boise Art Museum.

As Bemko entered the theater for the first time, she said, “Oh, look at this! This is gorgeous.”

Shemonsky, one of 70 appraisers in town for the show, brought three pieces of Egyptian-Revival jewelry to show off on the stage of the theater. Shemonsky said Egyptian-inspired jewelry and decorative arts coincided with the 19th century excavations in Egypt and construction of the Suez Canal.

Then, in 1922, came the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. “That created Egyptomania,” said Shemonsky.

Shemonsky showed Walberg a 19th-century watch fob valued at between $1,500 and $2,000; Tiffany-designed earrings and a brooch at between $10,000 and $15,000; and an Art Deco brooch from the 1920s valued at $85,000.

Walberg, the host of the show since the 2006 season, said he has a special appreciation for the Egyptian because his grandparents were vaudevillians who performed in lovely old theaters like Boise’s, built in 1927 and restored in 1999 by Kay Hardy and the Hardy Foundation.

“It has something dear in my heart,” Walberg said. “It was live theater, touchable theater that was going on. And movies.”

Walberg said he’s confident Idahoans will produce the roughly 90 high-quality items that make up three one-hour programs. “We’ve been doing it for 18 years, so while there might be a little anxiety, it doesn’t keep us up at night. There’s stuff and we find it.”

I have the good fortune of covering Saturday’s event, which will be featured on the Sunday’s front page and include photos and video. I’m planning to bring my rusty Hopalong Cassidy thermos and a small collection of political buttons, including a Theodore Roosevelt Bull Moose Party lapel pin from 1912. I’m sure the 1950s thermos is for real; I’ll find out if the pin is a fake and let readers know.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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