What Are The Odds Of Making It Onto Antiques Roadshow?

Now in its 25th season, "Antiques Roadshow" is a beloved series that is watched by nearly 6 million viewers a week (via PBS). According to Mental Floss, the show first aired in the U.K. in 1979 before becoming an American mainstay in the late 1990s. For those unfamiliar with the premise, the reality series follows everyday people as they inquire about the cost of an heirloom or collectible from an expert appraiser. Per The Atlantic, in each segment, the guest is asked about the item they have brought in. This includes where they got it, what they know about it, and at times, what they believe it's worth.

This of course leads up to the estimated value of the item by the professional. Sometimes it's a complete flop and the item is worthless. However, other times, the item's owner quite literally hits the jackpot. For example, a $25 table bought at a garage sale by a New Jersey woman later sold for $500,000 at auction (via Country Living). In addition, Screen Rant reports that various other items have been appraised to be worth millions. How does one get their item appraised? The process isn't as simple as one might think.

The odds of making it on the show are incredibly slim

According to Collectors Weekly, in some cases, the odds of getting into Stanford are greater than the odds of making it onto "Antiques Roadshow." Mental Floss reports that Antiques Roadshow visits six cities per year. Take, for instance, a show that occurred in Santa Clara, California, in 2014. Out of the 22,367 applicants (tickets are free and can be found on the show's website), less than 50, or 0.2%, would eventually make it on the show. Usually, 3,000 to 4,000 are randomly selected and given tickets to bring in two items for appraisal, but only around 80 will be selected to make airtime. If the item's story is enthralling and the appraiser has something to add, the chances of getting airtime are higher.

Appraisers are at the helm here; they listen to what the item's owner has to say and if they deem it interesting enough, they pitch it to a producer and let them know that it would be good for TV (via Reality Blurred). The value of the item, however, isn't as important as one would think. The High Plains Reader reports that paintings worth upward of $500,000 have been passed on simply because the story behind them wasn't compelling enough. Regardless if one makes it on air or not, the appraisals are absolutely free. Per The Atlantic, 90% of people keep their appraised item, regardless of the value.