For the Love of Antiques
Sebastian Clarke “On Tour” With Antiques Roadshow
15 July 2016
Sebastian Clarke is a fixture of the auction world. Starting his career in the arts in 1995 as an apprentice restorer, Sebastian has gone on to hold various positions with C.G. Sloane, Sotheby’s, Freeman’s and Doyle New York before becoming the Director of Estate Services at Rago.
Sebastian has been appearing on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow for nearly a decade, where he specializes in the appraisal of furniture, decorative arts, sculpture, silver and metalwork and is known for his ready laugh and rosy sneakers. We sat down with Sebastian ahead of his recent trip to Indianapolis to film with the Antiques Roadshow Summer Tour to discuss his experiences on the show. Here’s what he had to say:
How long have you been serving as an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow?
This will be my 9th season on Antiques Roadshow.
Were you a fan of Antiques Roadshow prior to appearing on it?
Who isn't?! If you love antiques or simply admire the history of objects, it’s the gold standard. There’s nothing else like it on television.
What do you think makes Antiques Roadshow so interesting?
The authenticity of the show is amazing. There is no coaching, no teleprompters, no direction; just the object, the appraiser and the sharing of genuine and unscripted knowledge with the guests.
What do you like best about appearing on Antiques Roadshow?
I relish the opportunity to meet new people and make great finds, but that’s just the icing on top. The true joy is in the honor I feel at being a part of such a select group of appraisers.
Is there anything you dislike about appearing on Antiques Roadshow?
We generally shoot for approximately 13 hours in a single day. That last hour isn't always fun...
What is the most memorable item you’ve appraised for Antiques Roadshow?
In 2012, while taping in Atlanta, a woman came in with what she thought was a Fabergé Egg. She had paid a handsome sum for the piece which was, to be fair, gorgeous. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection it became clear to me that it was a reproduction, what Fabergé expert Peter Schaffer calls a Faux-bergé. I had to inform her that this Faux-bergé, which she had paid over $10,000 for, would only fetch between $3,000-4,000 at auction. It was a heart-breaking and very costly lesson in the importance of verifying a piece’s authenticity before you buy it.
Can you tell us something about filming for Antiques Roadshow that viewers might not know?
We aren’t paid for our time or expertise. All of the appraisers are volunteers.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Without the guests and viewers, Antiques Roadshow wouldn't be possible - keep watching!
Tune into Antiques Roadshow on your local PBS affiliate to experience the drama of discovery yourself. And be sure to check back with Rago’s blog throughout the summer as we continue our interview series exploring the role our appraisers play on this hit show and the truly unique experiences they have on tour.
Do you own any furniture, sculptures, silver or metalwork that you are looking to have appraised for auction? Get in touch with Sebastian Clarke.