Antiques Roadshow has had a long and storied TV tradition, first airing in Britain in the 70s and appearing on PBS starting in 1997. In that time, the show has made mistakes in terms of overvaluing some of the items that appear on the show, but the show has still enjoyed a fairly trustworthy reputation over the years. This season, however, the show made a huge mistake while appraising. In fact, a weird piece of pottery that had been made by a high school student back in the 1970s was presumed to be an antique clay jug valued at up to $50,000.
Alvin Barr was rummaging around in a barn when he found a bizarre clay jug in a barn at an estate sale and bought it for $300, saying it spoke to him. He brought the clay jug in to Antiques Roadshow, which apparently believed he had an item of value. He then sat down with Stephen L. Fletcher, who not only overvalued the jug, but who also believed it was way older than it turned out to be. The episode actually aired earlier this year, but according to Cfile, the show has now had to make a correction because the original maker of the pot showed up on the scene.
The original maker of the pot is Betsy Soule, an Oregon resident who made the pot in her high school ceramics class. Her friend actually caught the episode of Antiques Roadshow and told Soule about it after remembering her friend’s distinctive artistic expression. Soule contacted the show and sent them a picture of her work and the rest is history. The pot is now valued between $3,000 and $5,000 on the website—not bad for something made in art class.
I really don’t know what else the appraiser could say but whoops in this situation. The whole thing is made worse by the fact that Stephen L. Fletcher absolutely gushed about the “distinctive characters” and the “impressive techniques” used to create the vase before finishing his appraisal. He really goes all out during the episode to talk about how great the weird-looking pot is. Here’s a little more from his appraisal:
This, in its own way, is really over the top. It’s bizarre and wonderful. You even see a little bit of, like, Pablo Picasso going on here. It’s a little difficult to identify precisely when this was made, but I think it’s probably late 19th or early 20th century.
Obviously, none of this turned out to be true, but if you’d like to see the full video of the segment, you can head here.
Mistakes obviously do happen, and Fletcher does have the expertise to make these sorts of calls at the end of the day, but it certainly seems like a classic case of getting excited about something without covering your bases, just because an item may be unusual or odd. Although, at the end of the day, that high school are project is pretty flipping cool.