Boise padre’s pilgrimage to ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ plus new pics

The “Antiques Roadshow” website features a new slideshow from the June 29 taping of three one-hour shows from Idaho.

The 27 images include several folks I recognize: No. 4 is 2-year-old Jared of Idaho Falls with a Buddy L truck valued at $400; No. 6 is appraiser Laura Woolley, right, who earlier valued my Hopalong Cassidy thermos at $30 – $50; No. 7, host Mark Walberg, third from top, mugging with crew members; and No. 26, Idaho volunteers engaging in a pre-show cheer with stage manager Ron Milton, center.

Our earlier coverage includes a 46-image photo gallery by Katherine Jones, a video montage by Tori Cummings and my story about the day.

The Idaho shows won’t air on PBS until 2014, but today I received a copy of the Rev. Tom Faucher’s account of his visit to the program, the highlight of which was the appraisal of a Basque shovel and pitchfork at $500 each.

Faucher, pastor at Boise’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church, is an old friend. He wrote the essay for friends, but I asked if I could reprint it here and he agreed.

Here’s the padre’s take, written on the day of the taping:

As most of you know I went today to Antiques Roadshow here in Boise at the Expo Center at the Western Idaho Fairgrounds. I had applied for tickets and did not get them, but eventually got four tickets from the Basque Organization.

I went with John Krueger, the parish business manager and a big fan of the show, and Roxanne and Francis Harlow. Roxanne is one of the Office Assistants at the parish.

Each ticket allows a person to bring two items, so together we took eight items. Francis had an oil painting from his aunt (one of two), and the other seven items came from me. I had borrowed a big red wagon made by Ed Goldade for his grandson and we took a wheel chair for me. It was indeed an adventure.

We met at the parish office at 8:30 AM on a day which was supposed to get to 103 degrees so we wanted to go early. Our tickets were for any time of day. It took us 20 minutes to get to the Expo Center and by 8:50 we were going in the gate, with me in the wheel chair and Francis pulling the wagon with all the things in it.

By 9 AM we entered the first hall and proceeded eventually into the main hall, nicely air conditioned. There was a line and we slowly made it up to the top of it. There they took our tickets. That was just about 9:30. I mention the times because it was so efficient with many volunteers guiding the process.

At the top of the line we were sent to a desk and they allowed all four of us to go as a group. We had to show every item, and they gave us markers with the various categories of what we had brought. We had four paintings or prints, one Asian wood carving, one porcelain cup, one glass statue, and one set of Basque farm implements. We then went into the main room.

It was set up with a group of curtains forming a vary large circle. We were on the outside of the circle and asked where our markers told us to go. We went first to painting since four of the items were there. We then entered the doorway for paintings and got in a short line. With the four of us, the big red wagon, and me in the wheel chair we took up some space.

We waited about five minutes until we got to the appraisal desk for paintings. Francis took his painting to one person and I took my three to another. Francis found out that his oils were worth about $500 each and were not of Yosemite but from the Grand Canyon. My painting done by my great-great grandmother in 1840 of poppies on velvet was “very nice amateur art” of the time. She said it was worth at most $100 if I wanted to someday sell it. The other two were wedding gifts to my parents in 1931, one a print of flowers and the other a print of the “Dark Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral.” They were worth today about $50 each.

While we probably should have gone back outside the circle we just then went to the other desks for the items we had. These desks were all around the inside back walls of the big circle. In the middle were four desks with lights and TV cameras and they were filing the people who had been chosen for the interviews. You could stand and watch from a distance if you wanted to.

Our procession of the wagon and me in the wheel chair then went to the Asian Art to have the wood carving looked at. It was given to me in 1996 when I did the wedding of a friend who had gotten it in Singapore. The man, whom I recognized from seeing the show, spent about 10 minutes explaining to us that it was a wood carving from the early 19th century in China. It was probably part of a screen and he drew out for us how the screen would have looked and where this piece would have come from. He said that because the Chinese are tearing down so many buildings and then selling off the parts this type of piece is no longer very valuable and said somewhere between $50 to $100 dollars. He did like the way I had it framed.

We crossed over to the folk arts to show them the Basque shovel and pitchfork which I had gotten in 1983 in Markina. We met another couple of the people we had seen on the show from Boston. They said the pieces were great, with the shovel being a grain shovel and the pitchfork being for hay. Each was worth about $500, which is what John had estimated before we went.

The small cup which I thought might be a salesman sampler and which my great-grandmother had brought west from Kansas in 1907 and then given to my mother was a demitasse cup but should have had a saucer with it. [Somewhere in the back of my mind I sort of remember a saucer at one time.] It was worth at most $50. The red glass statue of Mary, a gift to my mother in 1950, with no mark or date, is probably from the late 19th century in middle Europe. I knew it was pressed glass and thought it would either be really valuable or really not valuable. It is really not valuable, again being about $50. With all of our items appraised we left right at 11 AM. It was a great adventure and we all had a good time. We went out for coffee and a treat afterward.

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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