Hidden treasure: PBS's Antiques Roadshow hits the jackpot

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All of you who just can't bear to part with those trinkets that your father gave you eons ago may want to think twice: Those seemingly worthless dust collectors just might be a record-setting treasure. Such is the case for Jinx Taylor of Hampstead, N.C.

On Monday night's 2010 season premier of the PBS fan-favorite Antiques Roadshow, appraiser James Callahan of Skinner's Auctioneers & Appraisers handed Taylor a record surprise, according to USA Today.

Spoiler Alert: If you want to be surprised, don't read the next paragraph.
Upon taking a collection of carved jade pieces that her father brought home from China to the show when it passed through Raleigh, N.C., Taylor was told that she hit the jackpot. Callahan appraised the pieces for $710,000 to $1.07 million. As the show's first seven-figure appraisal, Taylor's cache set a new Antiques Roadshow record.

The August 2009 issue of Antiques Roadshow Insider quoted executive producer Marcia Bemko as calling the million-dollar benchmark "our 'Great White Whale.'"

Unfortunately, when it came time for the auction, they couldn't quite reel in that seven-figure whale. The collection, which included an item for an emperor, were consigned to Skinner a few weeks after the appraisal. In mid-October, 2009, the collection was auctioned at Skinner in Boston. While it netted far more than Taylor expected before walking into the Antiques Roadshow taping, the jade failed to meet Callahan's on-air appraisal.

All isn't lost, though. While the collection didn't make her a millionaire, Taylor and her unnamed brother, the item's co-owner, walked away with "at least $845,138," according to Maine Antique Digest which reported on the auction.

Beyond the first episode, the fourteenth season of Antiques Roadshow promises to delight. Although there's no word on their value, upcoming episodes include appraisals of "an angry 1976 letter from Frank Sinatra to Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko," an Andrew Wyeth watercolor, a signed Walt Whitman memoir and more.

Here's a look at the former first place winner on the show.


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