Television: Antiques Roadshow: TV's Treasure Hunt

The PBS hit Antiques Roadshow is U.S. history writ small. There's a story--and a price--for everything

For the loyal viewers of PBS's Antiques Roadshow, spring cleaning will just have to wait. Really, what's a little clutter when that rickety sideboard or dusty cup-and-saucer set might be your ticket to paradise?

By now, tales from this televised traveling carnival of collectibles, where folks have their cherished trinkets and ancestral hand-me-downs professionally appraised, are legendary. There's Claire Wiegand-Beckmann, the retired New Jersey schoolteacher whose beloved wooden table, bought for $25 in 1965, turned out to be a John Seymour masterpiece that eventually fetched close to $500,000 at a Sotheby's auction. Or the Houston man who learned that although his...

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