Chinese rhino cups set "Antiques Roadshow" record

LOS ANGELES Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:04pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A collection of Chinese cups carved from rhinoceros horns has become the most valuable find in the 16-year history of the television program "Antiques Roadshow" in the United States.

The five cups, believed to date from the late 17th or early 18th century were valued at $1-$1.5 million on Saturday after being brought to the TV show at a stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The owner, who prefers to remain unidentified, told Asian arts expert Lark Mason he started collecting cups inexpensively in the 1970s and had no idea of the collection's current value.

Chinese antiques have been fetching strong prices in recent years, dramatically increasing the value of the collection.

"As we continue our 16th season production tour here in Tulsa, we couldn't be more excited about such an extraordinary, rare treasure, and we look forward to sharing it with the nation," executive producer Marsha Bemko said in a statement on Monday.

Three episodes produced from the Tulsa event will air on the program, which is broadcast on PBS, sometime in 2012.

The second highest-value U.S. appraisal recorded by "Antiques Roadshow" was of a collection of Chinese carved jade bowls, estimated to be worth as much as $1.07 million. They were discovered in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2009.

"Antiques Roadshow" started as a TV series in Britain in 1979 and has several international versions.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

(This story has been corrected in paragraph 7 to insert dropped word "million")

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