Long-time Rio Rancho resident Kevin Lawton and his wife, Lori, did what a lot of people do every summer: visit Santa Fe.
But this wasn’t the usual visit to the plaza, check out a museum, buy a piece of artwork adventure. This was a trip that allowed Lawton to check an item off his bucket list.
He got to make an appearance on Antiques Roadshow, filming for its 27th season at Milner Plaza at Museum Hill on June 14.
You know the show, watched weekly by an estimated six million viewers, who see specialists from the country’s leading auction houses and independent dealers offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Lawton, a long-time viewer of the show.
A 1980 graduate of Cibola High School, Lawton said his interest in the show was piqued during his days at CHS.
“My grandfather would watch it; nobody watched PBS (back then). I really got into it when I was about 25,” he said.
He doesn’t have a lengthy bucket list, and was happy to cross this off.
“All my life, I wanted to be on Antiques Roadshow,” he said. “We record all the Antique Roadshows.”
In fact, he’s unsuccessfully applied to be on the show at earlier visits to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, but was not chosen. This time, he was allowed to bring two items. He chose an antique dentist drill and a mousetrap.
“We had a 10:30 slot, and we left early, just to make sure we had a parking place,” Lawton said.
The specified lots were full so he managed to find a place “in the shrubbery” in the volunteers’ parking lot.
“We had to walk maybe a football field,” he said. “That drill weighs a little bit. There was a line-and-a-half. They had to check IDs.
” he said, hearing people with earlier time slots behind him. “I’m not getting out of this line, just because I have a 10:30. I got there at 10:15.”
Lawton’s old dentist’s chair and attached drill, he said, attracted cries of, “Oh my god, what is that?’ A girl came up to us and said, ‘You’re on.’
Soon, they were directed to the collectibles section. Lawton said there was a lot of curiosity. That curiosity extended to the show’s camera crew, which followed the Lawtons for several minutes.
If only he had a dollar for every time someone remarked, “Back then, Novocain was a shot of whisky,” maybe he could retire. “Yeah, I hadn’t heard that before,” he joked.
Sent to one of the appraisers, Lawton set the old drill on a table.
The conversation was short: “I’m going to send you to artifacts.
“A lady came over. ‘Hey, I know what that thing is. You know what you have here? It was drill used back in the 1800’s, and used through some of the wars – World War I, World War II, in case they lost power. … Is that everything you need to know about your piece?” he was asked, before hearing what every attendee was there for: “If this was in better condition, it’s probably a $350 piece. As is, $150 to $175.”
“I didn’t care about the price, I cared about its history,” he said, not expecting to see himself and his old drill when the episode airs in 2023.
That was strike 1
The mousetrap, however, was a different story.
Although his wife was ready to have lunch, Lawton put the mousetrap, a guillotine piece onto the table.
“They said: ‘This is so freaking cool.’”
The camera crew got shots of the unique trap, which literally beheaded rodents.
“Even as I was trying to leave, people wouldn’t leave me alone,” Lawton said, finally stopping at the show-closing Feedback Booth.
“I was told to say my name, what it is and what it was appraised for.”
It was a memorable day for Lawton, one of only a few people in the county – maybe the state – with a telephone booth in his Enchanted Hills home.
“That was mind-boggling, when you see the amount of people,” he said. “Not as big as a baseball game, but thousands of people bringing items – and only a handful getting on the air.”