Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A line of people snaked through Milner Plaza at Museum Hill in Santa Fe on Tuesday.
Some of the estimated 2,500 visitors arrived at 7 a.m. and waited patiently to go through “triage” before dispersing to one of the 23 categories.
The PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” made a stop in Santa Fe for its annual tour and 27th season. The episode will air in early 2023.
It was the first time the series had been back on the road since the beginning of the pandemic.
The roadshow features local antique owners who bring in items to be appraised by experts, where the provenance, history and value of the items are discussed.
Though most guests were from New Mexico, some came from as far as Oregon or Nevada for a chance to have their time with the long-running PBS series.
Series organizers said they usually work with 150 appraisers. On Tuesday, there were 70 on hand.
The line for tribal arts featured a familiar face among the appraisers. Navajo contemporary artist Tony Abeyta was asked by the series to work the show for the Santa Fe event. Abeyta took a break for a day from his painting and was enjoying seeing all of the treasures.
“I’ve been around art all my life,” Abeyta said. “This was a chance to add another piece of diversity to the event. Because it’s in Santa Fe, I’m filling a role in identifying Native American and Spanish Colonial pieces. I’ve been a collector since I was 14 years old when I bought my first rug. It’s really amazing to hear the stories of each piece that comes across my table.”
Throughout the day, appraisers were able to hear dozens of stories and one of those stories caught the attention of Gene Shapiro of Shapiro Auctions out of New York City.
Shapiro was able to speak with one Santa Fe resident who brought along a painting of the Three Wise Men and Mary by Spanish painter Ãngel Botello. The roadshow shields the names of the guests.
The owner said the painting has been in her family since 1962 and wanted to bring it for an appraisal. It was appraised at $100,000.
“Our family is good friends (with the artist) and that’s how my family acquired it,” she said. “I love watching the show and always wanted to see what kind of value it had other than it having meaning for me.”
Shapiro said being part of “Antiques Roadshow” is one of the highlights of his life.
“The camaraderie that we all have is amazing,” Shapiro said. “We all do appraisals for a living and this show helps us travel to new places to hear the stories behind the treasures. We’re able to add to those stories with what we know. It’s an amazing part of this job.”
Series producers said that each of 70 appraisers in Santa Fe on Tuesday was a volunteer, and most have been with the series for a long time.
The Santa Fe stop marks the fourth time the series has been in New Mexico and Albuquerque was the sixth city ever visited for the series. New Mexico is also the site of one of the top “Antiques Roadshow” finds, when a guest brought in what turned out to be a Tang Dynasty Marble Lion in 2002 that was valued between $120,000 and $250,000.
The City Different is one of five cities during the new season, which stops exclusively at distinctive, historic locations. The tour will also be visiting Nashville, Tennessee; Boise, Idaho; Woodside, California; and Shelburne, Vermont.
Marsha Bemko, executive producer, said she loves the series because it’s always been about the stories.
“Holding events at properties like New Mexico’s Museum Hill provides an enriching experience for our guests and a stunning setting for the show,” Bemko said. “Our cameras blanket the property, capturing appraisals with the action of the event as a backdrop and, when possible, taking our audience ‘back stage’ to places the public isn’t allowed or may miss seeing.”