A new season of “Arizona Collectibles” begins Thursday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m., featuring nearly $500,000 in antiques, heirlooms and memorabilia from across the state, each with its own unique story. Radio personality Beth McDonald, who has been on-air at Phoenix-based 99.9 FM KEZ for more than 30 years, returns as host.
If you’ve seen previous seasons of “Arizona Collectibles,” you know that our guests in past seasons have brought in an amazing range of treasures: wonderful paintings and jewelry and autographs — and we’ve also had a mousetrap, a diving helmet and two enormous model ships.
“‘Arizona Collectibles’ is so much fun because of the people who share their family stories and heirlooms with us,” said producer Margery Punnett. “You won’t want to miss a show!”
Punnett said that one of her favorite stories this year is about a set of gold coins that were cleverly hidden and smuggled across Europe during World War II.
Another item smuggled out of Europe just before WWII wouldn’t have hidden away so easily: a marble and silver-plated Christofle trophy that was awarded to a French winery in 1879.
This season, we’ll also take a look at a pair of antique bicycles. At first glance, the smaller one may look more like a modern bike, but in fact it’s significantly older: the wheel design is very similar to wagon wheels of the 1840s. The taller bicycle dates to 1875-1885.
One of this year’s biggest surprises? “This was the season of dioramas,” Punnett said. Three different guests each brought one — and two turned out to have been created by the same artist, Runar Gustav Rodell.
Rodell, who emigrated from Sweden to the U.S. in 1924, began making dioramas of local birds and fish as a hobby, but it blossomed into a career. In 1953, he and his wife moved into a house across the street from the Pine Cone Inn in Prescott, Ariz. — where two of this season’s dioramas were displayed for many years.
One of the oldest human-made objects to surface this year is a 16th-century book by Renaissance scholar Konrad Gessner. In the 1550s, Gessner published several encyclopedic volumes on animals, reptiles, fish and birds, each with detailed illustrations. Our guest brought a copy of the volume on birds. While it’s been in his possession since 1952, he believes it’s been in his family for centuries.
In all, nearly 1,000 Arizona residents brought in their antiques during our evaluation weekend in April. Production crews shoot 130 to 140 individual segments with the appraisers and guests in order to create the 13 episodes of “Arizona Collectibles.”
Individual episodes of “Arizona Collectibles” also are available on Arizona PBS Passport two weeks before premiering on air. Arizona PBS Passport is a member benefit that gives eligible donors access to a library of public television programming on demand via computer or a digital device such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
“Arizona Collectibles” is an Arizona PBS original production made possible by Biltmore Loan, English Rose Tea Room and the Friends of Arizona PBS members who give additional gifts to support local original programming.
Look for these and much more throughout the upcoming season on “Arizona Collectibles:”
- A mastodon tooth
- A pen collection
- Two crazy quilts
- A collection of Charles Lindbergh memorabilia
- Behind-the-scenes photos of Paul Newman being silly on set