'Antiques Roadshow' Guest Gets Disappointing News About This Vintage Item

During a special episode of Antiques Roadshow that aired earlier this month, PBS took viewers through some of the most visually interesting items to come up on the show. One of those was a poster for "The Great Karlini," a magician in Europe during the early 1930s. The poster's owner thought it was worth between $8,000 and $10,000, but appraiser Nicholas D. Lowry had some bad news.

In the segment, filmed in Chicago in 2014, the poster owner said he got his hands on it after a friend's mother died. The strikingly designed poster shows the face of a magician named Karlini, with green smoke and a glowing magic wand. As Lowry explained, there was a magician who used the stage name Karlini. He was Dutch and his real name was Ludwig Trinka. He toured in Germany and Austria during the early 1930s. Citing an Internet source, Lowry noted that Trinka was arrested twice by the Nazis during World War II and possibly collaborated with the French Underground. This information is published on MagicTricks.com, although that site does not provide further citations for its bio on Karlini.

The person the owner obtained the poster from claimed it was worth as much as $10,000. Lowry didn't agree. Although he confirmed the poster really was from the 1930s and authentic, he said it was only worth about $1,000. That is because Karlini just is not as well-known as other magicians of his generation, especially. Only an authentic poster featuring Harry Houdini, who died in 1926, would be worth $8,000 to $10,000, Lowry explained.

The owner did not seem too disappointed by the poster's less-than-expected value. "The reality is, it's going back on the wall," he told Lowry. "I'm going to keep it, so.. all right, but thank you." The appraisal was featured in the episode "Body of Work," which debuted on PBS on Nov. 1. The full episode, which featured other appraisals of unique items with body parts, is available on the Antiques Roadshow YouTube page for free.


The American version of Antiques Roadshow debuted in 1997 and is produced by WGBH, the PBS member station based in Boston. The series is based on a British series of the same name, which has been airing since 1979. The American Antiques Roadshow was renewed for a 26th season, which will debut in 2022. Episodes were filmed in Middletown, Connecticut; Bretton Woods, New Hampshire; Long Island, New York; Williamsburg, Virginia; and Hamilton, New Jersey.