I’m the proud owner of an extensive collection of priceless one-of-a-kind heirlooms, some of which I’ve owned since early childhood. Recently I decided to find out what they were worth. No doubt hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, when I heard that Antiques Roadshow was coming to Seattle, I knew this was my chance to determine conclusively just how valuable my rare compilation of artifacts was. The following is a transcript of my conversation with the appraiser on Antiques Roadshow.
Antiques Roadshow (ARS): Welcome to another episode of Antiques Roadshow. Good afternoon, sir. What do we have here?
Tim: Love your show. Big fan. By the way, I recently wrote this book called YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LI-
ARS: We really don’t have time for you to shamelessly plug your book.
Tim: Why not? After all, this is my humor blog.
ARS: Pardon me? Okay, what is it you have to show me, sir?
Tim: I have this rare coin my father gave to me when I was five years old. I think it might be ancient Mesopotamian, probably from the 5th century BC. It appears to be in really good condition. What would you say it’s worth?
ARS: Well, sir. I agree this coin is in excellent condition. However, on closer inspection, it appears that it does not date quite as far back as the 5th century before Christ. I would date it, instead, to sometime around 1960. It appears to be a New York City subway token. Notice here, where it reads “Good for one fare” – in plain English.
Tim: Well, that’s disappointing. Okay, well, how about this item, then? I think it might be a rare impressionist painting. I can’t really make out what it’s supposed to be about. But my mom had it posted on our kitchen wall when I was very young. It looks to me it could be an early Monet or maybe a Van Gogh. Do you recognize the artist?
ARS: Hmmm, I’m sorry to say, I don’t, sir. But look here on the back – there appears to be some sort of signature. I glean the letters “T-I-M-M-Y” scrawled in reddish orange crayon. Does that name mean anything to you?
Tim: That’s funny. That’s my name.
ARS: Intriguing. You don’t think by any chance this might be one of your childhood finger paintings, do you? Perhaps from when you were, say, two or three years old?
Tim: Hah! I had not thought of that. But how can you be so sure it’s not something by one of the early Impressionists?
ARS: Well, I could be wrong. After all, I’ve only been a professional appraiser for 47 years. You could be right. It could be one of Picasso’s long-lost masterpieces. But do you think the comment from a Miss Kelly, where she wrote below your name, “Timmy, B- for originality. F for effort” might give us a further clue as to its authenticity?
Tim: Fair enough. Maybe it is one of my early works. So what might its worth be, to the nearest thousand dollars, give or take?
ARS: To the nearest thousand dollars, you say?
Tim: Yeah, just spitballing, I mean.
ARS: I see. Well, then, “just spitballing,” I would estimate its value at roughly ZERO thousand dollars – give or take zero cents.
Tim: Seriously? Well, that sucks.
ARS: We don’t say “sucks” on Antiques Roadshow, sir.
Tim: Sorry about that. Okay, what about this? I am fairly certain it’s a rare Native American hand-woven rug. From my limited research, I would say it’s Navajo. Perhaps traced back to an ancient Anasazi cliff-dwelling tribe from the 11th or 12th century. What do you think are its origins?
ARS: Pier One Imports, sir. But that’s just an educated guess.
Tim: What makes you think that?
ARS: I don’t know, sir. Perhaps the sales tag that says, “Clearance item. 50% off – Pier One Imports.”
Tim: So you’re telling me it’s not an ancient Navajo rug?
ARS: I’m saying this rug is about as much Navajo as the person I am presently talking to, sir.
Tim: I must own SOMETHING in here of historic value. Okay, how about this ancient collectibles box? My mother gave it to me when I was six. I’m thinking it might date back to caveman times, but you’re the expert, doc, so what do you say?
ARS: I’d estimate its worth to be every bit as valuable as that “young Picasso” finger painting you showed me previously. Definitely not prehistoric.
Tim: How can you possibly conclude that so quickly?
ARS: Several clues, actually. First, I’m fairly certain plastic was not invented during the Neanderthal era. Secondly, just because it has an image of the Flintstones painted on the lid doesn’t make it prehistoric. Finally, it’s a lunchbox. With a thermos inside.
Tim: Well, what about this rare photograph of Abraham Lincoln? Again, I’m no expert, but this looks like it might have been taken during his second Inaugural Address.
ARS: You mean this movie poster of Daniel Day-Lewis in his role as Lincoln from the film by the same name?
Tim: But it looks just like him! How can you be so sure it’s not authentic?
ARS: I will admit the resemblance is uncanny. But what gives it away for me is the 40-point type to the left of Lincoln’s chin, where it says “LINCOLN – A Steven Spielberg film – Opening November 9th.”
Tim: So what you’re telling me is that all this stuff I’ve been saving for decades is junk. Even this rare antique Japanese tea set?
ARS: Yes, even your rare “Hello Kitty” tea set, correct.
Tim: Well this is really disappointing news. So there’s nothing here worth anything? Not even this autographed copy of my book, YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE?
ARS: Autographed, you say?
Tim: Yes, absolutely.
ARS: Then, um, no, sir. Not worth the paper it’s printed on, I’m afraid. That’s all the time we have. Come back next week for another episode of Antiques Roadshow.
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Check out Tim Jones’ latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time