‘Antiques Roadshow’ Starting 17th Season with Million-Dollar Discovery

For only the fourth time in the show’s 17 seasons, an item on “Antiques Roadshow” will be appraised for $1 million in the season premiere Monday night (Jan. 7).

The item is a painting that turned up in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the first two shows of the new 17th season will originate. The first one airs Monday night at 8/7c on most PBS stations (check your local listings to make sure).

The painting of a Mexican laborer holding a shovel turns out to have been painted by Diego Rivera, the internationally known painter who is probably Mexico’s best-known artist. Rivera, who lived from 1886 to 1957 (dying at age 70), apparently made this particular painting when he was 18.

On “Antiques Roadshow,” appraiser Colleene Fesko pegged the painting’s value at $800,000-1,000,000 — only the fourth time in the history of “Antiques Roadshow” that an item or group of items reached the $1 million mark. The highest appraisal was for a collection of cups made from rhinoceros horns that were appraised in 2011 in Tulsa, Okla, for $1,000,000-1,500,000.

Here’s the million-dollar Rivera painting you’ll see Monday night on “Antiques Roadshow”:

Appraiser Colleene Fesko with the million-dollar Diego Rivera painting the man at left (who is unidentified) brought to "Antiques Roadshow" in Corpus Christi, Texas (Photo: WGBH/PBS)

While the rhinoceros-horn objects, originating in China, are still the best-appraised items in the history of “Antiques Roadshow,” a source notes that they have likely decreased significantly in value since they were appraised because of international restrictions on buying and selling objects made from endangered animal species.

Before that, a collection of jade appraised in 2010 earned a price range of $710,000-1,070,000. And a mobile by famed artist Alexander Calder drew an appraisal of $400,000-1,000,000, although a source tells us the artwork is probably worth in the neighborhood of $600,000.

For the new season of “Antiques Roadshow” — hosted by Mark L. Walberg — 21 new episodes have been produced, with an additional six “Vintage Roadshow” episodes, PBS says.

In addition to Corpus Christi, the other “Roadshow” locations this season are Boston, Myrtle Beach (S.C.), Cincinnati, Rapid City (S.D.), and Seattle.

While the Rivera painting will likely draw the most attention in Monday's season opener, another story on the episode is even more miraculous. It involves a man who was simply walking by a dumpster who spied three discarded violins, which he brought to "Roadshow" in Corpus Christi. Two of them were worthless, we're told, but the third was made by famed Italian violin maker Giuseppi Pedrazzini some time in the 1920s. This violin found in a dumpster was appraised for $35,000-50,000.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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