Emily Baucum, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma – It might be Tulsa's ultimate TV moment—Antiques Road Show films an episode in town and makes television history.
A Tulsa resident brought in bowls for an appraisal and discovered they were worth $1.5 million—setting a record for the highest appraisal in the 16 years the show has been on the air.
So what's all the fuss about? Well, you won't have to wait for the episode, as visitors to the Philbrook Museum of Art are learning. The bowls featured on Antique Road Show are on display at the Tulsa museum.
"Well, to say that's $1.5 million, I would say, 'Sell it. Let's cash it in right now,'" said Mike Jett a visitor to the exhibit.
Jett just had to lay eyes on five bowls worth more than anyone could have imagined.
"He probably had it on his coffee table as you entered the home," Jett said.
Actually, that's exactly where the mystery owner kept them, perched on the same wooden stands visitors to the Philbrook can see. Those were carved by a friend.
As for the bowls, those are another story.
"These kinds of objects were really for the elite of Chinese society, for the upper classes," said Christina Burke from the Philbrook.
"They're called libation cups, so yes, they were for drinking."
The artifacts date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. They're carved from rhinoceros horn, a rare commodity even back then.
"I think there probably is a shock value. Rhinoceros horn is not something that we in America think about or talk about every day. It's quite an exotic and unusual material, and that's what's made it so valuable," Burke said.
So who owns them? No one will know until the Antiques Road Show episode airs early next year. The owner has collected Asian art for more than 30 years, however.
"He follows the auctions. He had an idea that they might be worth a fair amount," Burke said.
But even he was shocked when the appraisal made Antiques Road Show history. When he found out, he called the Philbrook and asked if the bowls could be put on display.
Curators jumped at the chance to showcase the pieces along with the museum's own rhinoceros horn collection.
"It's very cool that he allowed that to happen and let everyone see it," Jett said.
The appraiser who valued the bowls for Antiques Road Show is scheduled to speak at the Philbrook in November.
The items will be on display through December 18, 2011.