The Observer, July 8 

The Observer was relaxing in the Observatory, feeling somewhat smug that he resides in a metropolitan area so civilized that it has its own submarine and in which fully 25 percent of the waiters know what a straight-up gin martini is.

To celebrate this feeling of civilized contentment, he decided to motor over to a nice steakhouse off the Financial Center Parkway and enjoy a medium-cooked New York strip steak and one of said martinis.

As The Observer was smiling and enjoying his cut of meat, a party of three, who appeared to be in their 60s, were shown to a nearby booth in the tastefully dim-lit dining room.

Just as The Observer's feeling of being amongst civilized fellow Arkansans was combining with the warm glow of the martini, one of the two women in the party of three kicked off her shoes, turned to sit sideways in her booth and treated her fellow diners to the vision of her calloused, bunion-loaded size 12 EEEE feet waggling in the aisle. During her whole meal.

A gentleman in the booth behind The Observer summed up the feelings of all who were being treated to this display.

"Uh-uh-uh," he murmured softly.

One man's trash is another man's treasure, they say. The Observer couldn't really be bothered with either, but nonetheless we found ourselves at the Ramada Limited in West Little Rock last week for the Treasure Hunter's Roadshow. It's exactly what you think. Since 1996 they've sent teams all over the country to appraise and purchase people's antiques and heirlooms in what is essentially a highbrow pawnshop.

What with the country in a recession, this kind of thing has a special appeal. One Roadshow employee told us that she thinks there are some people who lug antiques out of their basement to sell for rent money. They also aren't as intent on keeping great-grandma's jewelry box around anymore, thanks to the price of gold. Little Rock's Roadshow has so far met with considerable success, having gotten hold of a collection of vintage comic books, a sterling silver Japanese tea set from 1912 and a bayonet. Also sitting out were a lot of rusty old toys, baby dolls, guitars, guns, stacks of coins, candelabras, baseball cards — just the sort of miscellany one expects to see clustered together in antique stores and auction houses.

Another employee bragged that in Nashville, they'd bought Johnny Cash's bed for $30,000. Before that, it had been a letter signed by George Washington, which had fetched $35,000. For $10,000 they'd bought an 18th century vampire "kit" — presumably including a wooden steak, and perhaps a garlic press? He admitted that while they do run into a lot of impressive and unusual finds, there's plenty of crap that surfaces as well. Whatever pays the rent, we suppose.

The goods that Treasure Hunter's Roadshow gathers up are delivered to various auctions, collectors, and the occasional museum. Jewelry is usually sent off to be refined. It's an interesting phenomenon, this sort of recycling of old possessions, we mused as we glanced at tarnished picture frames and faded silverware. Here are little bits of historical detritus, props from old black-and-white photographs, the sort of junk we couldn't be bothered to still use but have the sentimental hankering to keep around. It's as if since they belong to someone else's time period, we feel we don't have the right to throw them away or destroy them.

On the way back to our side of town, we noticed a particularly beat-up Aerostar van on I-630 with the driver's side mirror dangling against the side of the door. We made the prudent decision to pass them on the right. Guess some things weren't made to last forever.

We talked to one person who took a doll to the Treasure Hunter's event. She said it was an old doll and quite valuable. We pictured a china doll, with a little white dress and cotton body. "It was from 1960!" she added. Oh.

We were playing with dolls in 1960. I guess we're really old — and valuable?


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments


© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation