Antiques Roadshow, the venerable BBC programme about valuing the public's collections, came a cropper during a recent event in Buckinghamshire when they were shown an incredibly rare prop from the original Star Wars - which much to their surprise, is worth quite a bit of money.
In June, Antiques Roadshow visited Birmingham, Alabama, my home for the last three years. I don't own a Tiffany lamp or a 19th century Chesterfield sofa. I do, though, have a flatscreen television that's ancient by consumer electronics standards. So that's what I brought to be appraised.
Last month, I wrote of an effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and others to urge the PBS series Antiques Roadshow to stop appraising ivory, given the devastating toll that poaching has on elephant populations. The WCS announced today that the show has agreed to their requests.
I'll say it: I love Antiques Roadshow. The look on the faces of folks who find out on national television that their priceless antiques are really worthless hunks of junk is, well, priceless. There's just one problem: by appraising ivory the PBS show communicates the idea that elephants are worth more dead than alive.
I like knowing that I live in a world where someone can create a crazy-jawed pig pull toy only to have someone else say, "Yup, mechanical swine is exactly what my life has been missing."
In the year 2550, Antiques Roadshow will still be on the air, but it will be much different, and much less accurate. But there is good news: Master Chief works there!