The Antiques Roadshow draws audiences across art enthusiasts, history buffs, and antique lovers alike. The show’s 2018 season makes 22 seasons for the show, which has won a total of 16 Emmy Award nominations. The show is one of the most-watched ongoing series in television history, drawing in a reported 8.5 million viewers per week. Over the years, there have been a number of truly spectacular finds which were found to have values amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds and we take a look at some of the most valuable findings from the show’s history, many of which turned out to have an important historical origin.
Value: More than £1 million
The FA Cup Trophy that was used the longest in the history of the league was examined by Alastair Dickenson, and decidedly valued at £1 million. Dickenson, a 20-year veteran of the roadshow, is an expert in silver and a big football fan. In 2015, upon being brought on the show by Gabby Logan of BBC Sports and Eddie Gray, a classic FA superstar, the cup’s valuation set a new high-record for the show. The cup has a long and significant history in the FA, having been presented to winning teams between 1911 and 1992. This particular cup was number three of four FA Cups to have ever existed, and was crafted by Fattorini and Sons in Bradford, England. Coincidentally, it was the Bradford City team who first won the cup after winning the 1911 final against Newcastle United.
Value: £1 million
The Fabergé ornamental flower is considered to be “one of the most significant jewellery finds in 40 years of Antiques Roadshow history,” according to Simon Shaw, an executive producer of the show. The flower is considered to be extremely valuable, both in terms of its quality and rarity. Jewellery expert, Geoffrey Munn, has stated that the flower is perhaps Fabergé’s best pieces of work, noting that it is a “sensation beyond our wildest dreams.” The flower, pieced together from gold, jade, and diamond, is a mere five inches tall, but has been valued at £1 million. At the time of its discovery on the show, it was only one of three pieces to be of such high value. In total, there are around 80 Fabergé flowers and fruit pieces known to exist and they are rarely sold, which we assume likely ups the flower’s value even more.
Value: £1 million
The Angel of the North statue is one of Britain’s most revered contemporary sculptures. In 2008, the final maquette, or model, of the sculpture from which the masterpieces was designed appeared on the antiques roadshow. The maquette and the sculpture itself are both owned by the Gateshead Council and were designed by Antony Gormley. The statue itself is 66 feet high, with the maquette being just a fraction of this. Despite this, the maquette, made of bronze, is still quite substantial in size. It required a team of people to carry it in for the show, where it became the first item of such high value to be featured on the show. Today, the maquette is on display at the BBC One Show.
What was once just a stagnant flower pot used as an imaginary goal post by the owner’s young children turned out to be quite the gem when it was showcased on the Antiques Roadshow in 1991. The pot, which was valued at a mere £10,000 when it was featured on the show, turned an unbelievable profit at a 2012 auction when it was sold for £560,000 — a price tag that doesn’t even include the auction house’s commission. The owners had received the pot as a wedding gift, and were stunned to learn that the pot was actually a French ‘Japonisme’ urn. Adorned with cranes and gilt bronze, the pot was first purchased by the owner’s parents for £100 back in 1946, before handing it off to him as a wedding gift. Little did they know, they were purchasing a one-of-a-kind piece made for the Paris Exhibition by Christofle in 1874.
The famous anonymous street artist who operates under the name ‘Banksy’ created a piece entitled ‘Mobile Lovers’ which shows a young couple embracing while paying attention to their mobile devices behind their lover’s back. The work was painted upon a door across from Bristol’s Broad Plain Boys’ Club. Although the Bristol City Council tried to claim ownership of the work, Banksy himself made a public statement gifting the painting to the Boys’ Club. The Club was in desperate need of funding at the time the painting was gifted, and in 2014 was sold for £403,000. Bristol is Banksy’s hometown, so it is no surprise that the would offer such a gesture to this community. The buyer of the artwork in 2014 remained anonymous, however it has been said that they are a philanthropists who enjoys making investments in youth organizations. Dennis Stinchcombe, a leader at the Boys’ Club remarked “Mobile Lovers has been a fantastic gift to us, without it, the club would definitely have shut within the next 12 months or so. The sale of the work has given us a cushion, to assist us in carrying on with our valuable work with the young people of Bristol.”
In 1992, an antique painting was purchased for £400 in Cheshire, England by a priest, Father Jamie MacLeod. After appearing on the Antiques Roadshow, it was discovered to be a genuine Anthony Van Dyck painting worth £400,000. Within art history, Van Dyck is considered one of the great masters of painting. Adding to its value, many content that the work is a practice sketch for Van Dyck’s ‘The Magistrates of Brussels’, which was destroyed in a military attack 1965. Freddie de Rougemont of Christie’s Auction House notes that the sketch also “provides a fascinating insight into Van Dyck’s working method and also constitutes a significant surviving document for the artist’s lost group portrait of the Magistrates of Brussels.” When asked what he intended to do with the valuable painting, Father MacLeod stated that he would sell the work and use the money to purchase new church bells.
In 1994, a brilliant looking silver collection appeared on the Antiques Roadshow. This appearance soon became one of the most talked-about moments in the show’s history. The collection was examined by Ian Pickford, who was impressed by the rarity of the collection. An early version of a wine taste and a set of stirrup cups were among some of the pieces in the silver collection. The owner, a young man, had received the silver from his father, who had collected all of the pieces. Upon sale, the silver set brought in and impressive £350,000.
Antiques Roadshow expert Marc Allum was presented with a gold Leica 2 Luxus camera that had been purchased by the owner 45 year prior. Although the owner didn’t believe the camera was anything to write home about, nothing could have been further from the truth. As it turned out, this camera is actually very rare indeed, being one of just four to have ever been made. During its appearance on the show, the camera was given quite a low valuation of £5,000. However, there happens to be a market for Leica camera collectors, most of whom would give the world to own such an extraordinary piece. After the show, the owner held onto the camera for another 12 years, until it was placed up for sale in Hong Kong. The Leica collector crowd did not disappoint with their fandom, as the Leica 2 Luxus camera was sold for a final price of £320,000.
John F. Kennedy was arguably one of the most famous and beloved presidents in United States history. Even the tragic and controversial way in which he passed has added to the mystique of his legend. This legacy is so significant, that it instantly adds value to anything the man had ever touched. That’s why it’s no surprised that a leather jacket he once owned was valued at a hefy £200,000-300,000 after it appeared on the Antiques Roadshow in Walmer Castle, Kent. Supposedly worn by Kennedy in the 1950’s whilst courting a Swedish lover, the jacket was revered as an “iconic piece” by Roadshow’s featured expert, Jon Baddeley. The jacket is expected to be auctioned sometime in 2018.
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a well-known Victorian artist who once created an intriguing masterpiece of depicting his friend, Leopold Löwenstam, an engraver. The stunning portrait arrived on the Antiques Roadshow in 2016 at Arley Hall, Cheshire. This was a monumental occasion, as the piece had not been shown publicly since 1917. Luckily, the painting had fallen into the hands of Löwenstam’s great-great grandson, who then brought the work onto the show to have it valued. The appearance of the painting was quite at treat, according to Roadshow expert, Rupert Mass, who noted that Alma-Tadema is one of the most highly valued artists of the Victorian era. Alma-Tadema’s highest valued works was valued at a staggering £27.4million. Although the painting of Löwenstam doesn’t have quite as high of a price tag, it was still highly valued at an impressive £200,000 to £300,000.
John Lavery was a famous Irish painter who crafted an amazing, sunny scene that appeared on the Antiques Roadshow in 2007. The painting had been purchased by a man sometime between 1920 and 1940 and given to his daughter. Later, the painting was passed down to the man’s granddaughter, who decided to bring the painting on the show to have it examined. The piece was valued at a jaw dropping £250,000. Roadshow expert, Rupert Mass, analyzed the small 1ft x 1ft piece in Hereford, England, and noted that the work showed an impressionist influence, similar to that of Manet or Degas.
What was first believed to be a copy was revealed to actually be the original work — a painting done by Sir William Orpen. The painting depicts Orpen’s mistress, a WWI spy. The work was brought to the Antiques Roadshow in Greenwich, England. First valued at around £30,000, the value was later raised to £250,000, by Roadshow expert, Rupert Mass, after it was discovered that there was a second version of the painting. The painting’s owner noted that the piece was evidently worth more than their house, and weren’t sure what they were going to do with the painting.