‘Antiques Roadshow’ Goofs, Values High Schooler’s Fugly Art Project At $68K

Look, we all make mistakes. Erring is human, etc. Sometimes you push instead of pull and wind up ramming your face into a door, ya feel?

But when you’ve got a job that literally relies on interpretation and speculation like… oh, say… an art appraiser, you’re probably better off keeping your wits about you at all times. But even then one’s bound to slip through to the keeper every so often.
A bloke in the US with an ugly-ass jug found himself in the middle of a real dilly of a pickle, after he took his find to a taping of the cult favourite ‘Antiques Roadshow.’
Expert art valuer Stephen L. Fletcher took a look at the jug, referred to quite aptly as a “grotesque face jug” and assessed that it was probably made in the late 19th or early 20th century, and had some distinctly Picasso-like influences on its many different faces.
Fletcher then dropped the bombshell on owner Alvin Barr, by handing the item a valuation of somewhere in the US$30,000 – $50,000 range (or about AU$68,000), prompting this (rightfully so) surprised reaction.
That price tag would’ve represented a handy return-on-investment for Barr, given he shelled out a mere $300 for the item at an estate sale.
The episode aired late last year, and generally passed by without major incident – as all episode of Roadshow tend to do.
But as it turns out, Fletcher overshot his appraisal by *just a little bit*. Because the jug wasn’t made by some Picasso-influenced master craftsman in the late 19th century. It was made by a high school kid from Oregon. In the 1970s.
A friend of Betsy Soule, the real creator of the piece, spotted the jug on the show and urged her to look it up.
Turns out Soule made the jug in a ceramics class in the 70s. Its whereabouts after it Soule gave it up are largely unknown, but some four decades later the piece wound up in a barn, covered with dirt and straw and chicken shit.
The show has recently issued a correction, re-appraising the piece with a far more realistic but still impressive price tag of $3,000 – $5,000.
For Barr, as it turns out, it’s a blessing in disguise.

“I hated it when it was $30,000 to $50,000, because who wants $30,000 to $50,000 lying around their house? Now, it’s on my table, and I love it.”

And for the OG appraiser Fletcher? A red face, but still sticking to his guns, bless his heart.

“As far as its age is concerned, I was fooled, as were some of my colleagues.

“We have sold at auction several examples from the 19th century — all of which are from the eastern half of the United States, and have a single grotesque face — some for five figures.”

“This example, with its six grotesque faces, was modeled or sculpted with considerable imagination, virtuosity and technical competence. …The techniques of making pottery, in many ways, haven’t changed for centuries.”

“Still not bad for a high schooler in Oregon.”

*tugs collar frantically*
Check the dud valuation here:

Source: The AV Club.