HAMILTON, NJ -- Ever wonder about the story behind that family heirloom? Is it worth more than you thought? You have until June 7 to apply to get an expert opinion of an appraiser with Antiques Roadshow when it comes to Hamilton Township to film an episode of the show. 

Marsha Bemko, executive producer of Antiques Roadshow, talked to TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville about how this is "the best year" to sign up to have your special items appraised. The long-time show producer said that normally between 20,000 and 30,000 applications are received for items to be appraised each year. But, because of a more streamlined process, only about 2,000 items will be looked at during the upcoming season.

How did Hamilton's Grounds For Sculpture get picked? 

A staff member who grew up in Hamilton recommended it as a great location that provides a scenic outdoor space for the show to be filmed.  Some locals would say this proves once again that Hamiltonians are everywhere. 

So how do you know if an item in the attic could be particularly valuable? 

"Don't bring something that you can Google. If you can search the item and find it online and information, you might not need Roadshow," said Bemko. "Great valuable items have one thing in common -- they're rare."

Bemko said that items that catch the eye of the producers are not those with potential high monetary value, rather "the story is king." She warned that oftentimes "markings" on items can be fakes. Look at the quality of items and "fine work" of pieces that are well-made and one-of-a-kind. 

Asked if there are specific categories of items that are the most interesting or valuable, Bemko said that "some of the best stories are often from military objects." Items found in the mills in and around Trenton, perhaps during its heyday, also may have fantastic stories attached about the industry that built New Jersey. The State's history during the Revolutionary War also may lead to great ties to items tucked away. 

"Every day people with every day stuff with a good story -- that's the magic of Antiques Roadshow," Bemko said. 

The five-stop Antiques Roadshow will begin on Tuesday, August 10 in Wadsworth Mansion, Middletown, CT; then on Wednesday, September 1 in Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, NH; Tuesday, September 14, Hempstead House at the Sands Point Preserve, Sands Point, NY; Tuesday, September 28 in Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA; and the final stop on Wednesday, October 6 at The Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ.  Bemko said traditionally the final stop in the tour is a highlight.

Entries for the 26th season must be received by June 7 and can be completed online HERE. 

To apply, provide a short description of the item; the story or background about the item; two or three digital photos of the item to upload. Each individual can submit up to two entries for consideration. Only one item, or collection, per entry is allowable; any duplicate entries will be discarded.

Roadshow producers will choose up to 130 entries to film at each location. Approximately 75 antique experts will be on-hand to review and appraise items.

Guests will be notified four weeks before the production date at each location. To protect the health and safety of all, each taping will be closed sets. 

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