The Press Newspaper
Those who tune in to PBS’s Emmy Award-winning “Antiques Roadshow” might do so to try to spot something familiar – a knick knack or other treasure similar to one in their own attic or cellar.
Local viewers who tune in April 9 may just see someone familiar. On that episode, filmed in El Paso, Tex., last July, Oregon native Richard Cervantes will be displaying his expertise as an appraiser of Asian art.
Cervantes, a 1994 graduate of Clay High School, will be on the show representing his employer, Philadelphia-based Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, where he specializes in Asian art and Oriental rugs.
“Antiques Roadshow,” now in its 16th season on PBS, is described as part adventure, part history lesson and part treasure hunt.” Producers gather independent dealers and specialists from the nation’s leading auction houses in cities throughout the country to provide free appraisals of antiques and collectibles.
“Cameras capture tales of family heirlooms, yard sale bargains and long-lost items salvaged from attics and basements, while experts reveal the fascinating truths about these finds,” the show’s website promises.
Cervantes earned an undergraduate degree in history and a graduate degree in Italian literature from Ohio State University.
He and his wife, whom he met and married in Columbus, relocated to the Philadelphia area when he took a job coordinating the Italian study abroad program for Arcadia University.
In 2008, Cervantes was intrigued by an ad for an opening at Freeman’s, and decided to apply for the job. “I joined Freeman’s at kind of an apprentice level, not having much experience with art or antiques,” he said. “I’m not a collector, but I do love history and exploring ‘old stuff.’
“I’ve learned most of what I know on the job,” he said.
Last summer, a colleague who has done the show recommended Cervantes when a last-minute substitute was needed for someone who couldn’t make it.
“I’d never been to El Paso before,” he said. “I thought it was a really interesting town, enjoyed exploring the architecture and history.
“The local flavor comes through on the shows, too,” he said. “The people who trickle in and the objects they bring for appraisal in large part represent the community.”
Cervantes described his experience appraising for the show as “tough and exhausting, but I would like to do it again. It was a real learning experience.
“We were there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., doing appraisals all day long,” he said, adding that the day’s taping is broken down for three shows.
Appraisers have no computers or reference materials, and make appraisals based on their knowledge and expertise.
“There was a long line of people waiting to have an object looked at, but the people were terrific and nobody was too demanding,” he said.
“Naturally, we can’t spend much time on every single thing,” he said. “Most of what we see is of relatively low value and when you recognize it as such, there’s not a whole lot to be said about it.
“There were some cases where I’d see a little Japanese porcelain vase or bowl or something, and I may not know exactly when it was made, or what company made it, but I do know it’s worth less than $50,” he said. “So there’s not a demand to tell people every bit of information about their item.
“The objects you see on television are naturally the ones that are exceptional,” he said. “Typically, if I saw an item with a value of $1,000 or higher, that’s when I’d go to the producers and tell them the segment may be worthy of being televised.”
Though Cervantes isn’t positive what item will be included in the April 9 show, he believes it’s a Chinese ivory object brought in by an Hispanic woman local to the area.
“I’m a little nervous – I’ve never seen myself on television,” he said. “Except when I was on `High School Quiz’ back when I was in high school.”
Antiques Roadshow airs Mondays at 8 p.m. and repeats Saturdays at 9 p.m. on PBS stations.
Oregon native Richard Cervantes will be a featured appraiser on the April 9 episode of “Antiques Roadshow.” Cervantes works for Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Philadelphia where he specializes in appraisals of Asian art and Oriental rugs.