Two Decades on the Road
David Rago “On Tour” with Antiques Roadshow
28 July 2016
David Rago is the founding partner of Rago Arts and Auction Center. He has been dealing in decorative arts and furniture since, as a teenager in 1973, he discovered American art pottery and developed a deep appreciation for it. David’s connoisseurship is evident to anyone who has heard him speak on the subject of collecting American ceramics and arts and crafts, read his articles and essays or the books he has authored, which include ”American Art Pottery” and “The Arts and Crafts Collectors Guide”.
David specializes in the appraisal of pottery and porcelain on Antiques Roadshow. We caught up with him between tapings for the 2017 season to learn more about the show:
How long have you been serving as an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow?
This is my 21st year. I’ve been appraising on the show since the very beginning.
What do you think makes Antiques Roadshow so interesting?
It’s educationally based. The prices are what many people watch for, but the education comes along with the numbers. In short, the appraisal provides people with a “reason” for watching, but they end up with so much more, at least with a really good appraisal. Any appraiser can look up a price, but the best ones understand the material, provide perspective and teach about the significance of the pieces.
What do you like best about appearing on Antiques Roadshow?
After more than 20 years, traveling with Antiques Roadshow is like traveling with an extended family. I know that might sound corny, but imagine growing up in a business with the same people over so long a period of time. The social aspects of being involved with Antiques Roadshow are the highlight of every weekend of filming. Further, we get to see the country, town by town, learning about places I’d likely never have otherwise visited. Who knew what a cool city Hot Springs, Arkansas or Indianapolis, Indiana would be?
What is the most memorable appraisal reaction you’ve ever seen from an owner?
In my second year, while appraising a set of decorated Weller Hudson tiles, the woman who owned them burst into tears. She was very excited, very happy.
What is your most memorable off-air moment?
I like joining the appraisers and crew at the bar after the day is finished. There are no competitors there, only exhausted colleagues.
Can you tell us something about filming for Antiques Roadshow that viewers might not know?
The work days are grueling, 12 – 14 hours with a short break in the middle. But all 75 appraisers that day are on the same team and we persevere together, along with the producers and crew. Just a great group of people.
Tune into Antiques Roadshow on your local PBS affiliate to experience the drama of discovery for 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 experiences they have on tour.
Do you own any pottery or porcelain that you are looking to have appraised for auction?