I was surfing through my TV channels the other day and happened upon PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. For those of you who might not be familiar with the program, the producer and his crew, which includes a group of professional specialty appraisers, take the show on the road to various cities around the country. Upon arrival at each destination they set up shop in a conference center or something and then invite the local citizenry to bring in items to be appraised. These items are generally deemed to be antiques and run the gamut including jewelry, furniture, artwork, musical instruments, floor coverings, various decorative objects and so on. The premise: Do you have some heirloom or flea market discovery that may turn out to be a rare and valuable collector’s item?
You never know!
As a teen I recall my grandfather passing on to me a few of his things he thought I might like to have. I left the items at his house for the time being but later told Mom about them. She responded with words to the effect, “You should hold onto those. Someday they’re going to be worth something.” They included among other things some old, yellowed books I discovered stashed away in his ancient, dirt floor garage; his ivory-handled straight razor, which he no longer used (he had upgraded to Gillette Blue Blades by then) and the front page of the South Bend Tribune announcing the assassination of President Kennedy.
On this particular show a young woman brought in some chintzy psychedelic-themed poster dated to the mid-1960s. As I watched I was disturbed to learn that an item created when I was barely out of high school is apparently considered by some to be an antique. An antique? Give me a break: I have dental work older than that.
According to U.S. Customs laws, an antique is defined as an object created or produced at least 100 years before the date of purchase. I am inclined to stick with this definition. That means I still have about 30 years to go before anyone can refer to me as such. In the meantime, just consider me a “collectible”. And as for those items I told Mom about? The razor was eventually stolen; the books are still in my den (upon doing a little Googling I learned that the proceeds from their sale plus five dollars might get me a latte at Starbucks); and I don’t know what happened to that newspaper although I’m pretty sure Grandma used it in the parakeet cage.