Jay’s Big Score: Questa Thrift Shop’s Big Finds to be Featured on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow”
By EDWARD CAMP, Staff Writer
Some of Questa’s own will be appearing on one of America’s longest-running reality TV shows this coming winter.
No, not “American Idol,” and no, no one married a Kardashian. Believe it or not, it is PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow.” For those unfamiliar, “Antiques Roadshow”, which has aired on public television since 1997 and is now in its 27th season, follows a simple premise; people bring their heirlooms and treasures to a local convention center where antiques experts appraise and give the history behind the items. Every item then gets appraised, and the most interesting or expensive pieces are shown on air. PBS calls it “part history lesson, part treasure hunt.”
The owners of Jay’s Unique Thrift Shop, founder Jason Rice, with new partners and siblings Jessica Kirwan and Francesco “Fran” Lanzisera, are nothing if not treasure hunters themselves. “About 80-percent of what we get, we get out of storage lockers,” says Jason Rice. Buying the contents of old storage units is a business fraught with risks, but can lead to some amazing finds, like the items Jason, Jessica, and Fran took to “Antique Roadshow’s” recent stop at Santa Fe’s Museum Hill on June 14th.
“We had a “Star Trek” suit, with all the patches, all the signatures from 1979, from Hollywood. We found it in a storage locker. The lady worked for Star Trek as a costume and makeup designer, and we got all her stuff.” The costume was used in the 1979 film “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” which starred William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the rest of the cast of the original 1966 NBC television series. The film and its sequels are credited with helping turn the cult classic, which had survived two cancelation attempts by NBC and remained in syndication thanks to the efforts of dedicated fans, into the multi-billion-dollar media empire it is today.
“All the patches are authentic, the belt buckle is authentic, all the auograph signatures are authentic from everyone on Star Trek, including Gene Roddenberry,” visionary creator of “Star Trek.” Even though it was probably only worn by an extra or bit player, Jason says the experts appraised the autographed costume at $20-30,000.
As if that weren’t enough, The Jay’s Unique Thrift Shop crew had another amazing find to show the antiquarians from PBS. “We also took in an AC/DC hat, Angus Young. He wears those funky hats” AC/DC, the Australian rockers whose hits like “Thunderstruck” and “T.N.T.” remain staples of classic rock stations and dive bar jukeboxes, are some of the top-selling musical artists of all time with over 200 million albums sold worldwide. Their guitarist, Angus Young, is known for his eccentric performance style which includes his customary Australian grade school uniform, complete with jacket, shorts, tie and cap. The hat’s value starts at $3,000. Jason says if they can find evidence of performances where the hat was worn by Young, the value shoots up to at least $15,000, quite a bit more than the few hundred they paid for the storage locker.
Jason Rice, who was born in Idaho and lived in Houston before moving to New Mexico as a child, opened Jay’s Unique Thrift Shop eight years ago and was recently joined by Fran and Jessica. The store sells all types of second-hand goods, from antique furniture and original R.C. Gorman lithographs to old tourist matchbooks and even rare and classic cars, though ironically, not that much clothing. They also buy and trade items with the public. “People around here have lots of great stuff.”
The items he took to the “Antiques Roadshow” will not be available in the store, however. Since they are so valuable, Jason plans on auctioning them through Sotheby’s in the coming months. You can check their website, sothebys.com, for more information on bidding. The episode featuring the Star Trek uniform and the Angus Young hat is expected to be aired in 6-8 months. More information can be found at pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/
Jay’s Unique Thrift Shop is open Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10am - 5pm and located at 12 NM-38, Questa, NM 87556, phone 575-779-3723
“Antiques Roadshow” airs on PBS New Mexico and online. Check listings for time and dates.