Antique Roadshow a treasure trove for local historian

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You never know what a historical piece may be worth until it’s properly appraised.

That’s what Anthony Ursillo, a history buff and a member of the Johnston Historical Society, recently found. On Sunday, September 17, Ursillo received a call from his brother, who was given a free ticket to the popular PBS program the Antique Roadshow, for an appraisal event held on September 19 which was held in Newport. Ursillo jumped at the chance when his brother offered him his spot in line.

“He gave it to me, wow, what a surprise. I had a blast,” said Ursillo about the event.

The Antique Roadshow allows collectors to find out if their family heirlooms, collections, or yard sale discoveries are trash or treasure, thanks to the appraisal skills of the show’s specialists in antiques and fine art. Hundreds of people were present for the Newport event, which was filmed at  the historic Rosecliff Mansion on Ocean Drive.

Ursillo brought two items to the event for an estimate. He said one item, an Austrian broche with cultured pearls, nephrite jade leaves, and a cluster of diamonds from the 1930’s, was purchased by his partner Tim Kee at a State of RI auction held about two years ago According to Ursillo, the auction was an accumulation of items which people never claimed from safety deposit boxes.

The second item brought was a small Tiffany 18 karat gold pocket watch which Kee purchased for Ursillo as a birthday gift from an on-line auction last year.

Gloria Lieberman from Skinner, Auctioneers and seen on many Antique Roadshow programs, appraised the broche at $800.

“It was a pleasure meeting her,” said Ursillo. “It was a great experience and the line moved very orderly and I spoke to some fun people in line.”

Kevin Zavian of Doyle Auctioneers in New York later appraised the pocket watch at $800.

“Though the two items which I was allowed to be appraised didn't make me rich, oh well, it still was fun,” said Ursillo. “There was a buzz of camera crews, photographers and pop-up shoots happening all around me throughout the mansion and the grounds. There was an aura in the air to whom may have a hidden treasure. Unfortunately it wasn’t me.”

According to Ursillo, the two hour long Newport episodes will be included in Antiques Roadshow season 22 on PBS in 2018.

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