And Mason was no wet-behind-the-ears appraiser. This was – and is – a man with many years of experience under his belt. Mason is a recognized expert on Chinese antiquities. He spent more than a decade as design teacher, including a spell at the New York School of Interior Design. He worked at Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Department in New York for 24 years, rising to the position of senior vice president.
Mason left Sotheby’s in 2003 and founded a successful company, iGavelauctions.com. He continues his academic pursuits as an adjunct professor at New York University. And of course he’s been an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow for 22 years.
But on that day back in 2002, for once the eloquent Mr. Mason was at a loss for words. The segment started off well enough with a lady of mature years explaining that her grandparents had acquired the piece in question, a marble statue of a lion, while in China early in the 20th century.