Once again, welcome back for an entry with a nice round number–fifty!–here at the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog. A month ago, I brought the blog back with a post examining a rumored link between Hugh Hefner and Barton W. Stone. While that link itself was a bust, it was still a productive inquiry all the same, since Hefner and Stone each had a historically ironic limb on their respective family trees.
Today, we radically shift from Playboy to PBS and investigate the possible connections between antique/auction expert, Lark E. Mason, Jr. (1954-) and the Churches of Christ. Mason, in addition to his academic writings, work with his eponymous art appraisal firm, and service on the University of Tennessee board of visitors, has long been a mainstay appraiser on PBS‘s popular and long-running program, Antiques Roadshow. Often spotted in a colorful bow tie, Mason is an expert in numerous fields but particularly in the areas of Asian art and furniture.
Mason spoke of his faith in a 2013 interview with artnet news, noting that in his spare time, he and his wife “garden and travel, and spend time with members of our Church community.” (1) Additionally, an event page from the Abilene Christian University Art/Design blog includes these two wonderfully juxtaposed sentences as part of its description of Mason, who was coming to give a lunchtime presentation back in 2010: “Lark was recently a principal in the auction and liquidation of the assets of Bernard Madoff, the convicted Ponzi scheme swindler. Lark is an elder in the Manhattan Church of Christ…” (2) This also makes Mason the second person featured on the blog to be connected to that specific congregation.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the ever-diligent Bobby Ross Jr. of the Christian Chronicle has already profiled Mason for that publication. In 2011, Mason made headlines for his appraisal of a set of five eighteenth-century Chinese cups made from rhinoceros horn, which he valued between $1-1.5 million. (3) At the time, this was the highest figure in the show’s history, though a couple of other objects have since slightly surpassed the top of that range. (4) Still, nothing to sneeze at!
That does it for this short but surprisingly high-rolling entry here at “Church of Christ Celebs.” Of course, check back a month from now for our next entry, which will profile actor and producer Claude Jarman Jr. of The Yearling and The Great Locomotive Chase. See you then!
(1) Helen Bu, “Q&A with Antique Expert: Lark Mason,” artnet news, July 8, 2013, accessed September 1, 2020, https://news.artnet.com/market/q-amp-a-with-antique-expert-lark-mason-51615.
(2) Beverly Rama, “Lunch with Lark Mason,” September 21, 2010, accessed September 1, 2020, https://blogs.acu.edu/artanddesign/2010/09/21/lunch-with-lark-mason/.
(3) Bobby Ross Jr., “Asian art expert, a Church of Christ elder, makes jaw-dropping discovery,” Christian Chronicle, August 1, 2011, accessed September 1, 2020, https://christianchronicle.org/asian-art-expert-a-church-of-christ-elder-makes-jaw-dropping-discovery/.
(4) “16 Most Valuable Antiques from ‘Antiques Roadshow,'” invaluable, July 5, 2017, accessed September 1, 2020, https://www.invaluable.com/blog/most-valuable-antiques-roadshow/.