First $1 million find for U.S. Antiques Roadshow

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who inherited some Chinese carved jade from her father has scored the first $1 million appraisal from experts on the U.S. television program “Antiques Roadshow,” the producers said on Monday.

File image shows some samples of Chien Lung jade carvings at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. REUTERS/Richard Chung

In a record for the show, four pieces of Chinese carved jade and celadon from the Chien Lung Dynasty (1736-1795), including a large bowl crafted for the Emperor, were given a conservative auction estimate of up to $1.07 million.

“For 13 years, we’ve been hoping to feature a million-dollar appraisal on ‘Antiques Roadshow;’ it’s been our ‘Great White Whale,’” executive producer Marsha Bemko said.

“We’re thrilled that, despite this year’s slow economy, ‘Roadshow’ finally captured this elusive trophy,” she said in a statement released by Boston-based production company WGBH, which licensed the format from the British show of the same name produced by the BBC.

On both shows, members of the public bring in items to be appraised by professionals in the hope of discovering that junk from the attic is actually a valuable treasure.

A spokeswoman said the appraisal was a record for the U.S. show, which is not affiliated with the BBC original. According to British media, the BBC’s version had its first million pound appraisal ($1.655 million) last November -- a scale model of Anthony Gormley’s artwork, “The Angel of the North.”

The statement said the owner of the jade inherited the collection from her father, who bought the objects in the 1930s and 1940s, while stationed in China as a military liaison.

She brought them to an “Antiques Roadshow” event in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday.

Asian arts appraiser James Callahan said the fine quality of the pieces indicated they were not made for tourists.

“He was rewarded by finding a mark on the bottom of the jade bowl that translates as ‘by Imperial order,’” the statement said.

The previous highest appraisal on the show was a 1937 painting by American Abstract Expressionist artist Clyfford Still, found in Palm Springs, California, in 2008. The painting had been given a retail estimate of $500,000.

The appraisal of the jade items will be shown in the next series of “Antiques Roadshow” starting January 4 on PBS, the producers said.