Montana State University

Montana PBS bringing Antiques Roadshow to Billings

April 15, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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MontanaPBS is bringing the PBS' Antiques Roadshow to Metra Park in Billings on June 26. Tickets will be given away through a lottery system through April 19.

"This is a chance to showcase our state, our people and our treasures," said Lisa Titus, director of development for MontanaPBS. "It's also a wonderful opportunity for MontanaPBS to interact with our viewers in a great setting."

Part adventure, part history lesson and part treasure hunt, Antiques Roadshow is seen by almost 10 million viewers each week. In each episode, specialists from the country's leading auction houses -- Bonhams and Butterfields, Christie's, Doyle New York, Skinner and Sotheby's -- and independent dealers from across the nation offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles.

"Each appraisal is a three-minute self-contained drama," said Antiques Roadshow senior account executive, Judy Matthews.

According to Matthews, collectors and non-collectors enjoy the show.

"Some viewers like finding out the history of an object, others like the personal stories and some people play the game show version and try to guess an object's worth," Matthews said.

Bringing a national show to Montana takes a lot of effort. About 75 appraisers (of a repertoire of 150) will travel to Billings. Two tickets each are given to 3200 people for the Billings show. Eighty appraisals will be taped and about 50 appraisals shown on the air during three episodes. Every ticket holder is guaranteed an appraisal, though not everyone will appear on television.

The Billings episodes will run sometime between January and June of next year.

"Bringing Antiques Roadshow to Montana is something many people in many places, including MontanaPBS, the Metra and other state venues have worked on over the years," said Titus.

"We love coming somewhere we have never been before," Matthews said. "There is a real sense of discovery among the public. You never know what you are going to find."

Ticket holders can bring anything other than currency and antique fire extinguishers, Matthews said. Antique firearms will be processed by local police before being allowed in the building. There is a special need for large pieces of furniture to be appraised.

Ticket recipients are selected from all eligible applicants by random drawing. Tickets will not be available at the door. Each ticket holder may bring two objects for appraisal. Apply for tickets online at www.pbs.org/antiques or by mail. Call (888) 762-3749 for mailing instructions. For large pieces of furniture, apply the same way, but send in a photo and description of the piece. Antiques Roadshow will move accepted large furniture (within 50 miles) to Metra Park and back at their expense.

Lisa Titus at 406-994-6221 or lisa_titus@montanapbs.org