There’s a lot to love about Antiques Roadshow: hearing regional accents that are hard to find on TV, watching appraisal reactions ranging from subtle disappointment to extreme shock, and listening to experts share their niche knowledge.
While the show focuses on appraisals of antiques and collectibles from specialists, the appeal lies in its emphasis on history, family, and sentimental value. People don’t go in to maximize their profit (90% of people don’t even go on to sell their items), but rather with genuine curiosity about these objects. The possible monetary value looms over the conversations, but the focus is always on the personal connection the individual has with the object, uncovering its story, and the joy of discovering something new.
Despite Antiques Roadshow’s older target demographic, there’s a lot that younger generations can learn from it. The show’s message of valuing memories over money is especially relevant in contrast with the extreme ways society tells Gen Z they should participate in consumerism. From Tik Tok Shein hauls to the endless proliferation of “-cores” that one can embody with the right purchases, even the increased interest in thrifting and vintage promotes constant consumption. Rapid trend cycles and a preoccupation with material goods are not uniquely 21st-century phenomena, and Antiques Roadshow is not here to provide solutions. However, the show has remained compelling, even in its ongoing 27th season, because it emphasizes finding new knowledge in something old and thoughtfully connecting it to the past. It’s hard to imagine what, if any, objects I own will pass down, and I doubt that people in generations past thought their violas or tea cups would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Still, watching Antiques Roadshow encourages me to more carefully consider my purchasing habits and pay more attention to the objects around me.
Ceci Mestre is an undeclared freshman in the College.