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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Isle fans get ready for 'Antiques Roadshow'

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Joanne Flannery of Kailua, a collector of elephant bamboo furniture, hopes "Antiques Roadshow" will pick some of her collectibles to appraise when the show makes its first trip to the Islands this summer.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Want to have your collectible appraised when "Antiques Roadshow" comes to the Hawai'i Convention Center on Aug. 26? There are two options.

  • If you live on O'ahu and want your collectible large furniture piece appraised on the show, organizers would like to hear from you soon. However, a Friday deadline for submitting photos has been extended.

    Send a photo of the furniture and a description of its history along with your name, address and phone number to Antiques Roadshow, 125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134, or submit photos and information online at www.pbs.org/antiques.

    If your item is selected to be on the show, "Antiques Roadshow" will transport it to and from the convention center for free.

  • To bring a smaller item in for appraisal, you'll need to request a free ticket in advance. The deadline for requests is May 6.

    To apply for tickets, call (888) 762-3749, visit www.pbs.org/antiques or send a postcard to Hono-lulu Roadshow, Box 249, Canton, MA 02021.

    Requests will be selected at random. All ticket holders are guaranteed a complimentary appraisal of two items by experts.

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    8 p.m. Mondays

    PBS Hawaii, Oceanic Channel 10


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    A "Roadshow" in Seattle features a desk made around 1860. The three-time Emmy-nominated TV show has kept viewers intrigued for 10 years with bite-sized segments revealing the history and worth of regular folks' collectibles.

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    Marsha Bemko

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    Mark L. Walberg

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    Deborah Lowry

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    John Burns of 'Aiea hopes to learn more about this drop-leaf table he bought 12 years ago in San Diego.

    John Burns

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    John Burns

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    Abacuses and jade beads owned by Joanne Flannery of Kailua.

    DEBORAH BOOKER | The Advertiser

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    Joanne Flannery, a retired college administrator, educator and social worker, is fascinated with elephant bamboo furniture and has the collection to prove it from hide-a-beds and lamps to couches and an end table. But surprisingly, Flannery knows little about her favorite pieces.

    She suspects some of her items were made in the 1930s or 1940s, in either the Philippines or Indonesia. Rumor has it that such pieces with hollowed arms and legs about 5 inches across were used to smuggle heroin, said Flannery, 78, of Kailua.

    She's hoping an expert appraiser can set the record straight.

    Sarah Preble, a retired librarian, is also in need of an expert to explain the origins of her 12-piece set of amber wine glasses. The glasses once belonged to Preble's great-grandfather, a former Illinois governor.

    Where they're from and what they're worth have been longtime mysteries to the family.

    "I think it's really important for people to know what they've got in their possessions," said Preble, 66, of Manoa.

    Flannery and Preble are vying for a chance to have their antiques and collectibles appraised on "Antiques Roadshow," PBS' most-watched primetime series, when the show comes to Honolulu on Aug. 26. Many hope to join them at the Hawai'i Convention Center when the show comes to town; even more watch the show avidly each week.

    The three-time Emmy-nominated series attracts more than 12 million viewers each week. Bite-sized segments feature appraisals that include a mix of drama, history, suspense and an answer to the all-important question: Is it trash or treasure?

    "I think it's wonderful the show is finally coming to Hawai'i," said Flannery.

    The most interesting finds from Hawai'i will air on the show sometime next year.

    "Wherever we go, more people want to come than we have tickets, and I imagine that will be the case in Hawai'i," said executive producer Marsha Bemko, via telephone from Boston.


    The Hawai'i visit marks the nationally syndicated show's first appearance in the Islands.

    "I've been wanting to come to Hawai'i for five years," Bemko said. "I really look forward to seeing what the residents of Hawai'i have to share with us."

    An appraiser once told Bemko that "stuff has feet," Bemko said. "Stuff moves whether it walked across the country, went over on covered wagon or was sent by an airplane. It's always curious, and especially because you're not on the Mainland what made it over to Hawai'i?"

    Hawai'i's rich history and diverse population will surely make for an interesting show, said Deborah Lowry, an "Antiques Roadshow" fan from Kailua.

    "It's going to be really interesting to see what comes up," said the professional designer, 43.

    Lowry hopes to get on the show to learn about a steamer trunk she purchased for $65 about 10 years ago in Madisonville, Tenn. It's an aged piece that serves as both a sofa table and storage container for her artwork and photos.

    "Even if it was worth a ton of money, I would probably never sell it," Lowry said. "It's one of those perfect finds."

    'Aiea resident John Burns wants to find out more about a drop-leaf table he bought 12 years ago from an antiques store in San Diego. The $100 purchase has no markings, and the store owner knew little about it.

    "There are screws in it, so maybe that's an indication for something," said Burns, 48. "I'm just really curious."


    Learning the history and value of his table is just part of the excitement for Burns.

    "It would be fun just to be a part of it, kind of soaking up the atmosphere and seeing some of the familiar faces," he said.

    Burns' "familiar faces" include "The Twins," "the older person in the wheelchair" and "that toy expert" otherwise known as furniture experts Leigh and Leslie Keno, Wendell D. Garrett and Noel Barrett.

    "We never will give an advance guarantee, but everybody's favorites will try to be there," Bemko said. "They know what a unique opportunity this is and how hard we have worked to get to Hawai'i."

    The series' new host, Mark L. Walberg, will also be on hand, along with show regular and Polynesian antiquities expert Anthony Slayter-Ralph, who has appraised Hawaiian objects in previous shows.

    In addition to appraisals, the show will also feature segments on local attractions, Bemko said.

    "We produce three episodes of television from every visit we do and for each of those episodes, we do a field piece," she said. "What's important to us in those field pieces is to give our viewers a sense of place because otherwise, it's a convention center and you're in Anyplace, USA."

    Producers plan to visit the Kamaka Ukulele Factory and the Doris Duke mansion; the third spot is still in the air, Bemko said.

    "We haven't quite decided yet," she said. "We just can't wait to be there."

    The show's more than 100-member staff and crew may be looking forward to this much-anticipated visit, but so are hundreds of local "Roadshow" die-hards.

    "We're just giddy that they're coming," said Lowry, the trunk owner.

    Flannery, the elephant bamboo enthusiast, is equally tickled.

    "It's marvelous," she said. "We just love it."

    Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.