A man from Oregon who bought a $300 clay jug thingy at an estate sale was told during an episode of Antiques Roadshow that it was worth $50,000. Turns out, it’s not...
In actuality, the uh, interesting looking artwork is a piece of clay a high schooler named Betsy Soule sculpted in the ’70s. When the buyer, Alvin Barr, asked for an appraisal from found-object expert Stephen L. Fletcher for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, it was estimated to be worth $50,000.
In the episode (beautifully titled “Grotesque Face Jug”), which aired last year, Fletcher called the jug “bizarre and wonderful” and made a Picasso comparison. Mashable reports:
He estimated the piece was made in the late 19th or early 20th century, and valued it at around $50,000.
“What?” shouted Barr, understandably.
Unfortunately for both Barr and Fletcher, these estimates were a little off the mark. The jug was actually made in the early 1970s — not by a professional potter, but by horse trainer Betsy Soule in her high school ceramics class.
“It was covered with dirt and straw,” Barr told Fletcher in the episode. “Looked like some chicken droppings were on it. It was very dirty. I had to have it.”
The jug’s creator, Soule, got hip to the clay mishap when a friend who saw the Antiques Roadshow episode alerted her about “that weird pot you made” being featured on the show.
Roadshow has corrected the error, listing its appraised price as $3,000–$5,000, which is still too much money.
Image via PBS