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September 28 2004

Donald Ellis Named the Clear Leader in His Field

The Globe and Mail

A featured article by Jenny Manzer in the Globe and Mail reports that Donald Ellis is the only Canadian expert on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, and holds the record for the show’s highest appraisal. Dennis Reid, chief curator for the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, comments that Ellis is clearly the leader in his field: ‘He finds remarkable material, time after time, I don’t know how he does it.’

‘Ellis is known for his keen eye, scholarly approach and for dealing only in the best,’ Manzer writes. ‘Born to a blue-collar Hamilton family, the 46-year-old dealer, appraiser and curator is a world authority on 18th and 19th century North American Native art.’

In what has become one of the most infamous episodes on the Antiques Roadshow, Ellis valued an extremely rare Navajo first phase chief’s blanket at up to $500,000 in 2002, making it the largest appraisal ever recorded on the show. Following the episode, ‘Ellis fielded thousands of messages from hopeful blanket-owners,’ Manzer comments. One of the blankets, owned by a man living on the Mexico-Texas border, also turned out to be real. ‘The story illustrates the importance of The Antiques Roadshow in educating the public,’ Ellis says.

Ellis will also participate in the new Canadian Antiques Roadshow, which is scheduled to debut on CBC Newsworld in January.

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Donald Ellis Named the Clear Leader in His Field