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'Antiques Roadshow' in Minneapolis: History and bling

Antiques roadshow
Courtesy of Jeff Dunn for WGBH
At the 'Antiques Roadshow' event in Minneapolis, the owner (left) of this circa 1885 heirloom oil painting by Russian artist Franz Roubaud gasps when appraiser Betty Krulik tells her the hot Russian art market is responsible for the work’s high value.

What’s the highest-rated show on PBS? Not “Masterpiece” or “Frontline,” but “Antiques Roadshow,” where people show experts stuff from their attics and learn that it’s worth a fortune — or not. For anyone who has ever hoped the painting found in Aunt Martha’s trunk was a lost Vermeer, “Roadshow” is TV crack.

Last July, “Roadshow” came to the Minneapolis Convention Center and left with enough good finds for three hourlong episodes. The first premieres on tpt tonight, May 7, at 7 p.m. 

Minnesota Supreme Court justice and Pro Football Hall of Famer Alan Page appears in the May 14 episode. Page and his wife, Diane Sims, collect black Americana. He brings a placard carried in a parade mourning Abraham Lincoln’s death. One side reads “Uncle Abe, we will not forget you!” and the other “Our country shall be one country!” (About that, Page comments, “We still have that hope.”) What’s it worth? Sorry, that would be a spoiler.

The show visits the American Swedish Institute to look at Mora clocks, the Wabasha Street Caves to talk about flashlights, and the World War II hangar of the Commemorative Air Force—Minnesota Wing, whose holdings include (who knew?) wartime Disney cartoons and memorabilia.

Also featured in the new episodes are a questionable George Elmslie chair, a 1956 Elvis Presley standee, a portrait sketched by George Gershwin, a Franz Roubaud oil painting, a 1957 Lionel train made for girls (and painted pastel colors), an 1863 Ulysses S. Grant letter, an original Charles Schulz “Li’l Folks” cartoon, and a yellow diamond ring — 3.4 carats, over six figures of bling.

Antiques Roadshow: Minneapolis,” 7 p.m. tonight (May 7) and the two following Mondays (May 14 and 21) on tpt. Each episode is available online the day after the broadcast.

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