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Sorting out trash from treasure at ‘Antiques Roadshow’ taping in Chicago

Matthew from Andersonville discovered a psychedelic painting by underground comics artist Jay Lynch in a Rogers Park dumpster 15 years ago.

He found out Saturday it’s worth about $7,000 at a Chicago taping of the popular PBS series “Antiques Roadshow.”

“Here I thought I probably overpaid for my frame because I really wanted to make it look cool,” he said about the colorful painting from the ’60s that was Lynch’s LSD-inspired take on a Chicago campaign billboard for sheriff. “I’m going to keep it in my home; it’s such a conversation piece. It’ll create a lot more conversation now.”

A team of 70-some “Antiques Roadshow” appraisers focused their discerning eyes on roughly 10,000 objects — old books, folk art, pocket watches, dolls, Civil War firearms and more — at McCormick’s Lakeside Center.

A small percentage of people, some of whom waited in line for a couple of hours to have their items appraised, will have their stories told on public television when the popular PBS series begins its 19th season in January. (Three of these upcoming episodes will be set in Chicago, where the “Roadshow” crew last visited in 2003.)

Here’s a look at who went and what they brought (the show’s producers requested that reporters not use attendees last names):

Glen Ellyn resident Pat with his son's football autographed by Walter Payton.

Glen Ellyn resident Pat with his son’s football autographed by Walter Payton.

Pat from Glen Ellyn brought a football signed by a couple of Bears greats. “Back when my son was a little boy we went to a [memorabilia] show and Walter Payton signed the football. A couple years later we had Gale Sayers sign it,” Pat said. “That was probably 25 years ago.” The pigskin, personalized to Pat’s son, Brian, was estimated to warrant a $750 price tag if he went to sell it, which he won’t.

Bertha of Oak Park and her Asian vase.

Bertha of Oak Park and her Asian vase.

Bertha’s mother gave her an Asian vase a decade ago. The Oak Park woman had her fingers crossed that Mom had bestowed her with a valuable gem. “It wasn’t worth nearly as much as I thought it would be,” Bertha said about the $300 vase. “It’s not the $1 million I thought I was going to get,” she added with a laugh. Her nearly 100-year-old end table also came up short at $80. (Each ticket holder could bring up to two items to be appraised.)

When Winnetka couple Tom and Jan got married in 1968, the burgeoning historians treated themselves to an 1860 GOP campaign poster encouraging voters to support presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln and his running mate, Hannibal Hamlin. “It was about $150 to buy it,” Tom said. “We scrimped and saved.” They made a wise investment: The lithograph print is estimated to cost $14,000. The appraiser told them the ad is especially valuable because of its map demarcating Confederate states from the Union, as well as all the territory that was still up for grabs on the slavery issue. “I would have thought it would be $1,000 or $1,200 just because it’s certainly appreciated in the last 40 years,” Jan said. “People like Lincoln.”

The $14,000 President Lincoln campaign ad (1860) owned by Winnetka couple Tom and Jan.

The $14,000 President Lincoln campaign ad (1860) owned by Winnetka couple Tom and Jan.

Carol from Bridgeport shows off her White Sox card collection.

Carol from Bridgeport shows off her White Sox card collection.

Rabid White Sox fan Carol got quite the Christmas present two years ago from her husband: A collection of autographed cards from every player on the 2005 World Series Championship team. “It took him several years to collect them all,” the Bridgeport woman said. “He paid between $5 and $50 for each card. There are about 50 here.” A sports memorabilia expert estimated her framed keepsake would fetch between $500 and $700. “He said it’s just too contemporary to put a high price on it right now.”

John from Bloomington with his Civil War bass drum.

John from Bloomington with his Civil War bass drum.

John, who’s part of an 18-member Civil War re-enactment band, brought a big bass drum from Illinois volunteer Company A, 55th Regiment. “A toy store had this on a shelf and went out of business, so we bought it,” he said about the century-and-a-half-old instrument. “They guessed it was worth maybe $4,000 but they weren’t sure because they don’t see this kind of thing that often.” John’s plan isn’t to sell it, but to one day donate it to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. “I think that would be a good home for it.”

Adam and his banjo.

Adam and his banjo.

South Side native Adam traveled here from his new home in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to learn more about a 1920s banjo he got from his grandfather. “He played it in a bunch of Chicago-area taverns,” Adam said. “I don’t know how to play, but I’m gonna learn.” Appraisers said it was worth $1,200 to $1,500.

Fern of Wheeling paid $12 for this painting 50 years ago.

Fern of Wheeling paid $12 for this painting 50 years ago.

When Fern had her house built 50 years ago, the Wheeling woman needed to fill a large white wall with something decorative. She shelled out $12 for a 19th century painting of a farmer’s wife. “The artist spent all winter painting bodies. In the spring and fall, he put those paintings in his wagon and went out west,” she said. “A farmer would pick a body, have his wife comb her hair, put a bonnet on, and he’d paint it. It was quite common.” The artwork appraised between $300 and $400. “I suspected it would be about that much. It’s a piece of Americana.”

Barbara's statue turned out to be a bit of a bust at $25.

Barbara’s statue turned out to be a bit of a bust at $25.

Barbara from Cottage Grove Heights inherited an old sculpture from her 94-year-old mother. “It’s been in the family for years,” she said about the small statue, that came in at a disappointing $25. “I thought it was going to sit me down for the rest of my life,” she joked. “He told me to polish it up and keep it, so that’s what I’m going to do.”