The Navajo artifact used as a throw
Claims adjusters often run into people who mistakenly believe they own valuable things. "Part of our skill set is being able to tell people the bad news," Kirkpatrick says.
But adjusters also know that high-priced treasures can turn up in unusual places. Take the 19th century Navajo rug that had been sitting on the back of a man's couch.
"The owner had literally won it in a poker game, and he brought it to 'Antiques Roadshow' as a lark," Kirkpatrick recalls. "After the 'Roadshow,' he sold it for $500,000. He had no clue to its value."
The man could barely drive home from the taping. "He was so worried about damaging this piece that was far more valuable than anything he ever thought he would own."
The story of the rather ordinary-looking white blanket with black, brown and gray stripes took on a life of its own after its spectacular "Roadshow" reveal.
"For the next couple years after that, every person across the country who found a white-black-brown-gray dishrag, beach towel or scrap in the dump all thought they had a half-million dollars," Kirkpatrick chuckles.