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Have you ever watched Antiques Roadshow, the popular PBS television series in which specialists offer appraisals of antiques, collectibles, and family heirlooms? Even if you are not a fan, you have likely happened upon the show while channel surfing, pausing for a moment to find out if that oil painting found gathering dust in the attic of a San Francisco, Calif. home is an original Edward Hopper or a clever (but essentially worthless) imitation.

Currently in its 14th season and drawing almost 10 million viewers per week, Antiques Roadshow has had a significant cultural impact by bringing collecting to mainstream awareness. It has also planted the seed in the minds of many that they may unknowingly possess unique treasures that are just waiting to be discovered. In most cases, the life-changing windfalls are few and far between, but the potential for such drama is the appeal of the show.

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