Unique Bob Dylan poster — and story that goes with it — puts Naperville resident on ‘Antiques Roadshow’

Mark Rice knew he was going to make it onto “Antiques Roadshow.”

But it wasn’t his collector’s item alone — a decades-old Bob Dylan poster signed by the artist — that made landing a segment on the PBS series feel inevitable.

When Rice left Naperville for an appraisal event for the show being held in Ohio, he carried something he knew was far more valuable than a poster.

He had a story to sell, as sprawling and personal as a Dylan hit.

Rice, 72, started listening to Bob Dylan in the 7th grade. The year was 1963. He couldn’t recall the first song he ever heard, but he knew the first album: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.”

From junior high on, he was hooked. He’d make a habit of visiting his local music store in his hometown of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, whenever he could just to see if Dylan had put out a new album.

“Back in those days, there was no internet to tell you,” he said.

If there was a new album to be had, Rice made a day of it. Before even leaving the record store, he’d set up in one of the store’s three sound booths and take a listen, top to bottom.

“I would always listen to all of them, all the way through, from beginning to end,” Rice said.

Year to year, his steadfast affinity for Dylan’s music never faded. As he grew up, went to college, married. As new releases turned to resells. Rice still picked through records for Dylan.

That’s how he ended up with an aging album from the singer-songwriter — and a souvenir to go along with it — while on a fortuitous trip to Woodstock some 40 years ago. This is where his “Antiques Roadshow” tale really finds its footing, Rice says.

Rice is what you’d call a Woodstock regular. He first ventured to upstate New York for the seminal musical festival, Woodstock ‘69. But, like Bob Dylan, Woodstock was a place he couldn’t shake.

He returned to the area for college. He’d regularly visit while in school and years after.

It was on one of those visits in the 1980s, accompanied by his wife Laurie, that he stopped at an antiques store.

There, Rice came across none other than “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits,” released in 1967. He also scored the poster that came included with the album, a true late ’60s-fashion piece that embellished Dylan’s silhouette with psychedelic locks.

It was designed by Milton Glaser, the graphic designer best known for creating the “I (HEART) NY” logo.

Satisfied with finding the album-poster package, Rice went on to buy two more copies. They weren’t necessarily rare finds, more keepsakes than collectibles to auction off.

That is, until Rice had the posters signed. Not by Dylan. But by Glaser.

Six years ago, on a whim, Rice emailed the designer’s New York City studio wondering if Glaser, who was in his late 80s at the time, ever offered signatures. He didn’t know if they’d respond, but figured why not try? They did — with instructions for sending in the posters. Rice had them back and signed not long after.

He gave one to each of his two sons and kept the last copy for himself. He didn’t, and still doesn’t, have any intention of selling the rare, signed chattel. But when the opportunity arose to have it appraised and his story told on “Antiques Roadshow” — a series he and his wife had been longtime fans of — he jumped at the chance.

“I knew I was going to get on,” Rice said. “I just knew.”

“Antiques Roadshow” is a PBS program that tours the country in search of hidden treasure. Jumping from city to city, it attracts thousands of hopeful antique owners wanting to find out if their possessions are worth any money and maybe getting a shot at some airtime.

Attending one of Roadshow’s tour stops is essentially luck of the draw, determined through a ticket sweepstakes. Winners are given the opportunity to have their items evaluated by a an appraiser but they aren’t guaranteed they’ll appear on an episode segment.

When Rice heard the show would be stopping in Ohio last year, he entered and ended up being one of the 3,000 raffle winners.

So, come June 2023, Rice and his wife made the 400-mile drive from Naperville to Akron, his Bob Dylan poster and album safely tucked away in a blanket.

Rice arrived well before his allotted entrance time but was promptly sent to a designated appraiser. He laid out his story. They valued the poster at about $500. And that was that. But his Roadshow experience wasn’t done yet.

Instead of going home, he got a second look, this time by a specific “posters” appraiser. Even better, the twist brought Rice face to face with Nicholas “Nicho” Lowry, a regularly featured expert on “Antiques Roadshow” known for his handlebar mustache and bold suits.

Lowry asked Rice if he wanted to tell his story again — on TV. Rice immediately agreed.

Rice grinned his way through the segment as Lowry asked questions, he said. It was all going smoothly, when, as they started to wrap up, Lowry had his own detail to add to Rice’s journey to roadshow.

Lowry, it turns out, had known Glaser, who died in 2020.

“That was it,” Rice said. “That was the hook.”

In a call Friday, Lowry said he knew Glaser “through the design community” and that they were professional colleagues for about 15 years.

“I’ve been doing the show for 27 years, we’ve seen thousands of pieces … but I can’t think of another instance where I’ve seen a work by someone I knew personally,” Lowry said. A lot of the show “really is a person’s connection with the item that they have,” he said, “and then if the appraiser can make a personal connection, I think that’s even better.”

Rice said, “That’s what ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is all about.”

“From Woodstock to Milton Glaser to ‘Antiques Roadshow’ to having two appraisals to two (Glaser) stories. Two different people coming together on one afternoon in Akron, Ohio, the stories merge,” Rice said. “Which is pretty unbelievable.”

Rice’s segment will air at 7 p.m. Monday on WTTW-Channel 11.

As for how much Lowry appraised his poster for, Rice teased, “You’ll have to watch to find out.”