A new television show is worth setting the DVR or TIVO for, especially if you enjoy collecting sporting goods such as guns, wildlife artwork, antique lures, or old fishing rods and reels. Treasures & Traditions looks familiar in some ways to other shows, where a guest brings an attic-found item and the appraiser says, “Tell me about this piece.” Half the fun is hearing how much an old spiral-wire, minnow-cage lure is worth (spoiler alert: thousands!), the other side is the enjoyment of the stories behind the artifacts. The best part of this show? Everything is hunting- or fishing-related.
A young gal with brown-rimmed glasses brings in a Colt Single Action Army revolver handed down four generations. Lore would have it the pistol was used in shooting a bank and post office robber. How cool is that for backstory? The appraiser is gun collector Jack Lewis, the director of Historic Firearms and Early Militaria. He admires the piece, engages in the story, points out some factoids of the popular gun. A viewer at home with something similar learns about unique aspects of the pistol, and how those details affect its value. The light-hearted air is fun and informative with breakaway info-bits about Colt’s production history of the Single Action Army pistol.
The shows I previewed included several guns, an antique bamboo fishing pole, and several 100-year old lures. A mounted first-year (ever) duck stamp was interesting and valuable. Not every item was an antique, though—some artwork, like a bronze entitled Sudden Flight by Vince Valdez, was fairly new. The owner just wanted to know appraised value.
Learning about what makes an item more valuable than another similar item is interesting for all of us, whether we own old guns or old fishing tackle or not. Expert interviews allow the appraiser to ramble a bit and teach the viewer what to watch for at future estate sales, garage sales, or even when rummaging through one’s own attic. For example, we learn the value of old fishing lures increases with original packaging and any original papers.
The appraisers aren’t glitzy camera personalities, but they know their stuff and are genuinely interested in the person and the story behind the item. The show doesn’t try to fit everything into one category; they use different appraisers with a variety of honed skills. In the first two episodes, appraisers include Charles Layson, Jack Lewis, Jr., Mark Ward, Joe Cimino, Robert Koenke, Roy Jinks, Herb Reed, Bill Miller, and Ken Waite. Other well-known names advise the show such as Jim Casada and J. Wayne Fears. With talent and experience from a roster like this, the information is bound to be spot-on and reliable. The changing components each week are the people, the treasures, and the stories coming forward. All great entertainment.
The production team is a group of accredited outdoor folks including creator and host Bob Delfay and executive producer Steve Pennaz. One of the appraisers is co-author of Reflections Under the Big Pine—Bill Miller. Several names in the credits for promotion or television production, like Michelle Scheuermann and Brad Hadsall, are former colleagues or people I know from Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Everything looks good in this show, and I hope viewers tune in to watch and industry businesses provide support through season-length sponsorship so it stays around for years to come. “We’re going to look at the people and the stories that make our outdoor heritage so great,” said host Delfay in the introduction of the show. Indeed they do, and I would add the products and art shaping the memories, too.
Watch (or record) the second episode of Treasures & Traditions on cable channel Destination America at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 26, 9 a.m. Saturday June 28, 9 a.m. Sunday, June 29, or 9 a.m. Saturday, July 5. All times Eastern. The first episode can be seen below.
Note added 6-23-2014: This article has been updated to include an embed of Treasures & Traditions’ first episode.
K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.