Peter Walsh
Peter gets offended when he's accused of forcing people to throw away their belongings. "If you own something and you say it's of value to you, then what's important is to honor and respect it," he says. "It's about the pleasure something gives you and the way you treat it." Peter talks with Marsha Bemko, executive producer of Antiques Roadshow, and Nan Chisholm, an independent appraiser, art consultant, dealer and Antiques Roadshow contributor, about how to become a better collector. Also, Peter and Nan answer callers' questions about their collections.

Now in its 12th season, Antiques Roadshow features auction house specialists and independent dealers appraising antiques and collectibles. Marsha says it is popular because people love watching people's experiences, surprises and disappointments. However, she says there is a difference between antique collectors and souvenir collectors. "Truly passionate collectors are more knowledgeable," Marsha says. "When you start talking about people with limited edition, recently made, mass-produced memorabilia—those are souvenirs. Mass-produced items, as a rule, aren't worth as much as you paid for them."

When it comes to creating a good collection, Nan says there needs to be a cohesive thread that connects the items, such as a theme, date, subject or type of product. To become a better collector, Marsha offers the following suggestions:
  • Buy what you like, but try to avoid mass-produced items. "It's usually not where you're going to find great value," she says. "But if that's your thing and you're buying what you like, more power to you!"
  • Buy what you can afford. "Don't be borrowing money to buy," Marsha says. If you're in a position to buy for investment, Marsha says to work with an expert, unless you are one.
  • Buy quality products. Marsha says to check for damage, especially with glass or porcelain. Condition matters.
  • Watch for signatures. "It's the best way to get faked," Marsha says. "There are a lot of fake signatures out there."
  • Read trade magazines. "In this day and age, you've got to read the trades," she says. It helps in recognizing what is good quality.
  • Learn to buy at auctions, online and from dealers. For different kinds of products, you can get the best deal in each of those places, Marsha says.