Was This One Of The Biggest Mistakes They Made On Antiques Roadshow?

It's hideous, but is it art?

That was the question that viewers of the American version of the addictive PBS show "Antiques Roadshow" were asking back in 2014, when they were treated to the sight of one of the most bizarre objects ever to appear in front of the show's experts on either side of the Atlantic. (There's a British edition, too.)

The premise of "Antiques Roadshow" is simple. The producers of the show announce that they'll soon be arriving in a certain town. If you have a knickknack you want to be appraised and live within driving distance, you can simply rock up with your heirloom or thrift store bargain, and an antiques expert will tell you exactly what they think the object is worth in cold hard cash. Then, whether you're disappointed or elated by the valuation, you head home, return the object to its place on the mantle, or instantly fire up eBay. And per a segment on "Inside Edition," it seemed that art-lover Alvin Barr had found himself in the latter camp (via YouTube).

Barr had appeared on the show in Spokane, Washington, and had brought with him what the experts described as a "grotesque face jug" — a handmade, muddy-colored vase bearing multiple hellish visages that resembled a cursed object in a horror movie. Barr was stunned when the one of the show's antique experts, Stephen Fletcher, dated the vase from around 1900, and estimated that it was worth in the region of $30,000-$50,000. But it turned out that things were not quite as they seemed.

A deceptively well-made art project

As "Inside Edition" explains, the grotesque face jug was not, as the expert believed, over a century old; it had actually been created in 1973, by an Oregon art student named Betsy Soule (posted on YouTube). Soule's identity as the creator of the piece was verified by images of her in her teens posing with multiple works in the same style, after Soule was alerted to the "Antiques Roadshow" segment by a friend who had been the previous owner of the object in question.

The team of experts on "Antiques Roadshow" subsequently revalued the vase at between $3,000 and $5,000, which is still a win for Alvin Barr, who paid $300 for it at a yard sale. Though a fraction of the valuation that the show originally broadcast, the new price is still a sign of Soule's skill as a sculptor, as is the fact that the mistake occurred in the first place. "Mistakes will happen," a producer told "Inside Edition."

Some of the highest-valued items to ever appear on "Antiques Roadshow" include an authentic bronze Rodin statue, valued in the region of $450,000 (also on YouTube), and a painting by Diego Rivera unearthed in Texas estimated to be worth around $1 million (via Art Listings). In the U.K., a gold flower created by Faberge was given a value of £1 million ($1.3 million), per per YouTube.