Michael Aspel and the team take a trip to Banqueting House, in the heart of London. A valuable brooch proves that diamonds really are a girl's best friend.
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This week, the Antiques Roadshow's cameras zoom in
on a unique square mile of our capital city.
Here, kings and queens have walked
and their ministers have trodden the corridors of power.
This part of London is the birthplace of the pinstriped bureaucracy we know and love.
A place of spin and political mischief.
Well, you might say that -
I couldn't possibly comment.
Downing Street, Whitehall,
the address that Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip
and television's most fascinating villain, yearned to call home.
Millions of us watched as he trampled his way to the top.
People come from all over the world to see for themselves the icons and the institutions of SW1.
The Queen's Household Cavalry have their photographs taken a thousand times a day,
but they never smile or offer autographs.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the road is our venue for today,
Whitehall's Banqueting House.
It's seen countless royal and society occasion.
It also witnessed, on a dark January day in 1649, one dreadful event.
Having been found guilty of treason by Cromwell's men,
King Charles I walked through the Banqueting House for the last time.
He was taken out onto the scaffold and executed
to a great groan from the crowd below.
Eleven years later, his son Charles II was restored to the throne
and returned to the Banqueting House to general rejoicing.
This, then, is the background to today's Antiques Roadshow.
Shall we see treasures?
Our experts will hope so -
I couldn't possibly comment.
We've got the royal arms appearing on the front here,
those are actually the Hanoverian royal arms.
This wonderful inscription: "God Preserve King George 1725."
But what's it doing with the Yeoman Warders?
Well, it was presented, as we understand,
by a Yeoman Warder in the 1720s
to commemorate the swearing in of a Yeoman Warder.
Right. So what exactly is a Yeoman Warder?
Well, we all come from a military background.
We are the part of the Sovereign's bodyguard
known as "The Yeomen of the Guard in extraordinaire".
We live and work in the Tower of London,
but to qualify to become a Yeoman Warder,
you have to have served a minimum of 22 years military service,
currently in the Army, the Air Force, or the Royal Marines.
-You have to have been awarded, during your service career,
the long service and good conduct medal which we...
So you have to keep your nose clean then!
Basically, 18 years of undetected crime is the way that we look at it.
You also have to have achieved the minimum rank of Warrant Officer
during your service in the Armed Forces,
and be between 40 and 55 years of age on appointment.
The pewter bowl is all to do with the swearing in,
which takes place after a Yeoman Warder has been at the Tower for about six or eight weeks.
And, after his induction, he takes the oath of allegiance
to Her Majesty the Queen in front of the constable
or the resident governor of the Tower of London,
and then the tradition is he comes down to the Yeoman Warders' Club
-where we drink a toast.
-And what do you drink?
Oh, it's port usually, which is put in a glass bowl
which is kept inside the pewter bowl and it's a great tradition
that's been going on for literally hundreds of years.
We really wanted to just make sure that it is the genuine item.
-It is absolutely genuine.
-It is a jolly rare punch bowl.
Punch bowls of this date in silver, you don't see that many of them.
In pewter, pewter is a difficult thing on the market,
it's not very fashionable as a collector's area,
but this one is historically so fascinating.
Almost impossible to put a true value on,
-You're never going to sell it.
-No, not at all, it'll stay with us.
What are you going to put on it?
I don't know whether you've got it insured at all,
but I would think you'd have to insure it for at least £5,000.
Really? My goodness!
Because it is such a rarity
and there's so much history attached to it.
Well, that's absolutely fascinating.
-Thank you so much.
This is a beautiful Russian Easter egg, an Imperial Easter egg
made in the 19th century, probably about 1860, something like that.
Superbly hand painted,
not like those ones that are coming out of Russia now,
which are mass produced and printed.
Every tiny little inch is painted
and the gilding of course is so wonderful as well,
that blue colour is marvellous and the gilding is great.
How did it come into your possession?
Well, it was... It belonged to my grandfather
who was the Count Boris Konstantinovich Konstantinov
in Russia, and he was of course dispossessed after the Revolution.
He had a daughter, my mother,
she was orphaned at the age of 10,
and she was taken out of Russia by a cousin
who took certain things to remind her of her family,
so this is what she has from her father.
This came with her?
This came with her in 1928,
first to Germany where she was hidden for four years
and then sent on to America in 1933
and it's just remained in the family ever since.
And when my mother passed away, it came to me.
Of course they're difficult to display, how do you display it?
My mother arranged a meat thermometer that has a pole,
so she would pole the egg on it, and she had a little finial on top.
So it now sits in my cupboard on the famous meat thermometer.
But they shouldn't be on that.
-It might be causing a little bit of damage on that.
It should be threaded on a ribbon and hung, the proper way of doing them,
so if you can do that, it will be kinder to the egg.
Well, we must be kind to the egg.
Now, it's of fair value.
The Russians are madly collecting their home-made things now,
going back to the past, and this one, 1860-70 something like that,
they'd love this over in Russia.
I reckon, because of its qualities,
I think you're looking at something like between £3,000 and £4,000.
Oh, lovely, very nice, a good egg.
Now my colleagues tell me this is something I can get my teeth into,
which you don't understand the joke
-until you realise it's actually a dental cabinet.
-Yes, it is.
Why do you want to own a dental cabinet?
Well, we didn't. I didn't know it was a dental cabinet.
I was shopping for a second-hand violin for my son,
and it was in the next door shop window and I fell in love with it,
and went in and bought it.
And what did you love about it?
Its shape and its colour and the fact that this went up and down
and it has lots of drawers.
I agree with you, I mean I still hate the dentist.
-But if you can imagine going back to the end of the 19th century,
the wonderful leather chair, foot treadle, drill
and this would have been in the corner,
holding all the dentist's instruments.
It does lots of things, doesn't it?
I mean there's a tiny little cabinet at the top
and you open up the roll top here.
You could have put some instruments out here with the mirror back,
and then all these little drawers open up
and you would have had all your probes and drill heads.
-There's some still left in here, aren't there?
So this would have been attached to a foot drill,
and "zzzzz", they would have been drilling your teeth.
Oh, he's actually left some teeth behind as well!
So what do you keep in it now?
Well, we keep bits and pieces in it, the spare keys,
but the thing that I loved about it was it's a sort of a celebration
of Victorian professionalism really,
and the sort of thing you'd see in the set of a Bernard Shaw play
like "The Doctor's Dilemma".
There's two market values to this.
There are people who collect dental instruments
and, you know, this would make a wonderful housing
for a collection of dental instruments.
Also, it will be a wonderful collector's cabinet for anything small,
so for coins or medals
or something that would fit nicely in these drawers,
-because it all locks away, doesn't it?
-If you just lock that one lock there, all these lock.
This locks, that locks, so it's a very secure collector's cabinet
-and I think it's worth more as that than as a dental piece.
-How much did you pay for it? Can you remember?
-About 80 quid.
-80 quid, how long ago?
'75 or '6, something like that.
So 20, 25 odd years ago, right.
Today, probably you'd get between £1,500 and £2,000.
-So, a lovely piece.
As you say, it's a delightful Victorian extravaganza
-and I'm sure it gives you much pleasure.
-Thank you so much.
It does, I'm so glad you like it too, thank you.
-A glass and pewter jug.
-What's the history?
-Well, the history of it...
I don't know much about the history of the jug
-except that it is late 19th century.
I got it from my father buying it in Portobello Road before the war.
-Before the war?
-That's when we... Before the Second World War.
How much did it cost him, have you any idea?
It wouldn't have been much - everybody always says that -
-probably a shilling, half a crown maybe.
-So... Well, that's good because I don't want your expectations to be overambitious.
I picked it up because it is a wonderful design, incredibly elegant,
this long tapering piece of green glass and then these pewter mounts,
and looking at the mounts we've got something
-which is absolutely typical of the Art Nouveau.
You say late 19th century, I'm going to quibble a little bit,
I'm going to go for maybe ten years later.
This is typical of the Art Nouveau style that was used by Liberty's,
that great shop in Regent Street.
-Oh, yes, yes.
-Around that time.
And if we turn it upside down, we've got a mark and it says "Tudric"
which is one of the two trademarks
that Liberty sold their pewter through
in the early years of the 20th century.
Now, the clue to who designed this is in that Celtic motif
and let's just have a look, if we're talking about design,
that's not just a sort of straightforward strap handle,
that is a handle which is stepped down at the top
and then it steps back up again at the bottom.
If you look at it side on, it swells, tapers and swells out again.
-Every element of this has been thought out.
And the glass has been made specifically for the pewter
and vice versa, the whole is an organic piece of design.
The only tragedy is that, at some stage, the tip of it has been punched
so that this lid is sort of sitting back,
you see it sort of doesn't quite flush.
Oh, yes, it doesn't quite... no, I've noticed that.
Yes, that it doesn't quite fit.
-Well, I think I know who designed this.
Almost certainly a man from the Isle of Man called Archibald Knox.
-He was one of Liberty's principal designers.
In fact, when Liberty died Archibald Knox actually designed his headstone.
Highly thought of designer.
Oh, indeed, mm.
So in 50-odd years it's crept up a little bit.
I mean, we've got allow for this, this damage up here,
but I think it's crept up
-to somewhere in the region of £1,500 to £2,500.
-Oh, no, really?
I was thinking of perhaps 200, but really, as much as that?
Oh, well, thank you very much.
I was totally intrigued
when you brought me this enigmatic piece of painted wood.
Let's start with where did you get it from?
Well, I live in a large block of flats
and my husband, who was then my boyfriend,
came in one day and said "Yvonne,"
we have a bin room just around the corner from where I am,
he said, "Oh, come and see some interesting things in here."
So we ran and we just happened to see this.
He said "What's this?"
"Oh, painting on a bit of wood." I said "What do you think?"
He said, "Well, it looks OK, you know we'll hold on to it."
And we put it on the mantelpiece and sort of just left it, and that's it.
Well, on one hand, it is a piece of painted wood
and possibly the sort of thing that might end up in a dustbin,
but when we turn it round we get a bit more of the story, don't we?
Yes, that's right.
And it says here, "Vesuvius, November 22nd 1886
"from Castle Mare di Stabia by Herbert Sidney."
And have you done any research yourself?
I looked on the internet, and sure enough I found that he is, you know,
an artist of some renown and there is information about him there.
Well, he was indeed and he was actually quite a prominent painter
but before we go any further there is something missing here, isn't there?
-The bottom half is missing.
-Yes, the bottom.
I suspect there many even be a bottom two thirds or even more, who knows?
-So at some point this picture has become broken up.
So we're in the rather delightful position of being able to speculate
on what the rest of the picture might have consisted of
and here we have the advantage of knowing a little bit about Herbert Sidney's work
because he did do history pictures with titles
to the effect of people running from blowing up volcanoes,
and it may well be that at the bottom of this tempting looking mountainscape at the top
was some real action scene.
Could have been anything from two or three figures fleeing,
to figures fighting, to horses galloping.
In other words you can sit and look at this fragment
and just imagine what there might have been beneath.
-Absolutely, yes. It's a pity it wasn't erupting.
-An erupting volcano would have been rather better, I must say.
I think what had happened was, this is on panel,
therefore canvas which would normally last the test of time,
might get a bit blistered, might get a bit rotten,
it's not like wood because if wood drops it sometimes cracks.
We know that Elizabeth I would go into houses
and if she didn't like portraits of herself,
she'd knock them into pieces and hurl them into the fire.
-So wood, although it's hard, is also very vulnerable.
Now I suppose we have to talk about value.
-Well, the value of this picture depends on whether we can find the other bit.
So if someone out there...
Please help me!
Exactly. And if you two could get together,
you could end up with a rather valuable marriage.
Well, let's just wait and hope,
-because, as it stands, it ain't worth much.
-I understand that.
It was a nice find anyway.
I've brought along my umbrella,
and I just wondered if you'd ever seen anything like this before.
-Well, I've never seen one with a donkey's terminal before.
But before I talk to you about it, tell me a little bit about the story.
It was a gift to my great grandmother from Queen Mary,
because my great grandmother was her lady in waiting,
from 1923 until Queen Mary's death in 1953.
So at some point your great grandmother must have said
to Queen Mary, "I really love that."
I'm sure she would have done, yes.
-And they remembered.
-And now it's come down to you.
Yes, it's come down through the girls' line.
One thing that is very unusual
is that it's got this lovely glazed cotton outer cover to keep it safe.
-I mean that is a real mark of distinction, if I may say so,
but if we take it off, let's have a look.
-Is it in good condition?
-Yes, it is.
Now you see that's another lovely thing.
You normally expect to see umbrellas,
-I mean our standard umbrellas are black.
But this wonderful vibrant purple.
-And, of course, this was probably made, let's say about 1890,
and in the 1890s -1900s there was a very formal etiquette about mourning.
And if you were in full mourning, you had black,
-if you were in semi-mourning you were allowed to use purple.
So, this is an umbrella on a day when you're in semi-mourning.
So you've got this fabulous carved donkey's head.
It's the sort of thing that would have been bought in the shops around the Louvre in Paris,
-it's a real tourist, up-market tourist type gift.
Fantastic carving, I mean look at the bridle
and this lovely sort of swag and tassel.
I mean it's absolutely super
and the donkey's face has just got such character.
-Yes, he's smiling at you, isn't he?
-He is, absolutely.
-This is bamboo.
And then this lovely... Why don't you put it up?
OK. Are you superstitious?
Well, sort of.
Yeah, the lovely thing is, I mean it's practically never been used,
because what happens is of course the umbrella goes at the seams,
so it's in super, super condition.
-I know you're never going to sell it.
I think, with its outer case...
lovely provenance, couldn't be better if it tried,
makes it quite a rare and special little thing.
I think it would be worth about £1,000.
Um, I'm stunned.
-You'd better get on and have some girls yourself.
If at this point I shouted, "Order! Order!"
I should be slapped on the wrist by the lady with me, because that's her line.
The only woman Speaker in 700 years of the British Parliament,
her voice has echoed around Whitehall, the House of Lords,
and today the Banqueting House.
Baroness Boothroyd, welcome to the Antiques Roadshow.
Thank you for having me.
And may I say, many congratulations, Antiques Roadshow.
-What a great show it is.
-Thank you very much.
You've seen the back of a few Prime Ministers in your time,
and rumour has it that you've watched quite a few of the Roadshows
over their 30 years, right?
That's right, I see it whenever I can, early Sunday evening,
a nice time of relaxation. It's a great educational show.
I try not to miss it.
What particularly has caught your eye, over the years?
Oh, Michael, I love jewellery.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend as far as I'm concerned.
I love jewellery and so...
I saw one piece, because opals are my birth stone.
It's not everybody's favourite stone,
but I did see one lovely piece
which you can have as a tiara or a necklace,
and I thought that was lovely.
It is an Edwardian necklace, it dates from about 1900
and it's a fantastic display of Australian opals
and the thing about opals is
they're a mineralogical jelly,
they're not a sort of crystalline gem stone
in the same way that rubies and sapphires and diamonds are.
Lying on the table, we have this curious piece of metal.
Tell me what that is.
Um, that's for a tiara.
For a tiara, a tiara frame, and we have to make the necklace.
-I wanted my daughter to wear it for her wedding.
-Wouldn't she do that?
No, she wouldn't. She wore it as a necklace.
It's not much to ask of her, and it sits upside down like that,
and many necklaces do make tiaras
when they're put up on these base metal frames.
Let's think about it financially,
everybody's lusting after it, looking at it.
I don't know what it's worth and I wouldn't part with it.
No, I don't think it would be very easy to buy this necklace
for any less than about £5,000 or £6,000, maybe even more today.
Oh, my God!
Oh, that's quite a lot then.
Well, the price of a good man's above opals, certainly.
-Oh, I think so.
So apart from your first love, which seems to be jewellery,
what else has attracted you over the years?
I like looking at furniture.
Some of the large pieces that are on display
and come to the Antiques Roadshow I'm not envious about,
because I associate myself with things,
and those big pieces wouldn't fit in my tiny home, so I'm not envious.
But I like the smaller pieces,
and there was one piece called a credenza. I liked that.
I could find a spot in my living room
where that would fit very nicely.
One should never judge a book by its cover
how do you come to have a piece like this?
I wouldn't put the two of you together, obviously.
Well, the truth is, my grandmother left me this in 1976
and my grandfather bought it
from a house clearance, and I think he paid 30 shillings.
My grandmother said to me, "Mark, if anything should happen to me,
"is there anything in this house that you'd like?"
-And I said, "Well, I've always liked the credenza."
-I think it's so attractive, it's so visual.
I think you're looking at between £5,000 and £7,000.
So, you've got a place in your home for that piece of furniture,
but were there any bits in Parliament that you wish you could have taken home?
Oh, nice pieces when I was in Speaker's House.
Lovely collection we have in Parliament, yes.
There were one or two I would have liked. Alas, I had to kiss them goodbye, say goodbye to them.
-Not a perk of the job?
-No perks there, none at all!
-Betty Boothroyd, it's a joy to meet you, thank you very much...
-On behalf of the Roadshow in its 30th anniversary.
Well, here we are in one of London's most iconic buildings,
only to find some reminders of another.
Tell me how you came by these clocks.
Well, unfortunately, they aren't mine.
They do in fact belong to my boss
who picked them up about ten years ago on Brick Lane market in east London.
Which is just a weekly market, is it?
Just popping down there on a Sunday
looking for sort of fabulous old bits of junk and that sort of thing.
He saw a pile of old bits of kitchen and appliances, and he was going through it and found these
and spoke to the dealer who told him that they were in fact the clocks from the Stock Exchange.
He didn't necessarily believe this, but bought them anyway as they were only £10 each.
-And how many were there?
-There are nine.
-So another six like these?
-And I think that's it, that's the complete set.
-But you're clutching a book.
And that shows a photograph.
Well, he contacted the Stock Exchange to
find out, you know, really to verify if they were what he'd been told.
As you can see they're here and, I mean, that is them.
-This is brilliant, because this is the trading floor of the Stock Exchange.
It's brilliant to have that photograph,
it pinpoints these timepieces exactly in that building
-at that moment in time.
-The Queen opened the new Stock Exchange and that trading floor in 1972.
-So it's quite likely that these were installed in 1971 or 1972.
And they're rather wacky things, actually, because if we can open this one up,
you would expect there to be some sort of movement behind it.
But, in fact, all you've got are a series of wirings and condensers
that, in turn, would have been wired up to one central clock.
-And one central clock would have sent a series of messages to these nine repeaters.
Because you wanted the time to be absolutely accurate
through all nine of these.
OK. What would the little lights have done?
I would imagine that the lights probably flashed a few moments before
-trading ceased in either one of the trading centres.
So you could look at the wall and you could just remind yourself that Tokyo Stock Exchange is about to shut.
But if you were a big city whizz kid, right,
and your bonus this year is only £8 million
and you want something for your loft building that you're going to really enjoy
and have a whizz of a time with your mates.
Have them on and flashing, it would be amazing.
It would be something else, wouldn't it?
So I think this lot, the nine of them,
in the right sale, to the right audience,
might make perhaps between £1,000 and £2,000 each.
-So you might be talking about between £10,000 and £20,000 for these.
-So, will your boss be pleased?
I think definitely. How could you not be, with that?
At £90, it was certainly an investment, I think.
-Great, thanks for bringing them in.
-Thank you very much.
Well, I know what this is, familiar action, but I've never ever seen one looking like that. What's the story?
Very few of them were made, they were manufacturer's demonstration pieces.
That particular one was made by Ericsson of Beeston in Nottinghamshire in 1937.
But specially made for exhibition purposes,
-because it's all polished inside.
-It is indeed.
Well, I know what that is. I don't know what this is.
This is a House of Commons Division Bell transmitter, this is the apparatus that
was used in the House of Commons to signal to the MPs that a division or vote was about to take place.
Right, so let's get this right. So, before every vote, there is the famous division bell.
-I think we've all heard of the division bell.
I hadn't realised it actually really was a bell.
-And so this would sound and it would repeat its sounding several times, is that right?
And then after six minutes the doors of the lobbies would shut.
The door keeper shuts the door and locks them and any MP who comes after that is too late.
-He cannot vote, so this is democracy.
It was in the Palace of Westminster, the House of Commons -why isn't it now?
It was sold at the British Telecom auction.
The museum sold off the contents of its stores and so on, and that included this apparatus.
It says number one, is it the first one?
It's the first one made, late 19th century, 1880s-1890s, I would say.
So this had been there since it was installed in the late 19th century,
day by day, operating the division.
Yes, but it's the only one of the original transmitters that survived.
-This is it?
-This is it.
-This is the only one.
So, only here can we hear the division bell driven by the original technology?
-Think of who's used this, or heard it.
We start with Gladstone, you know, Gladstone heard this bell.
-Mm, he certainly did.
-So did Asquith, so did Lloyd George, so did...
Well, right up to Churchill.
-Every Prime Minister would have heard it.
-That's quite correct.
Let's deal with two things. We have to talk about value.
Now, you're the telephone enthusiast, specialist collector,
you have much more knowledge than me, so I'm going
to reverse the normal process and say to you, what's that worth?
That is worth £5,000 to £6,000 depending, you know, on the day.
And it's my turn to say, "Good heavens, you can't be serious!"
And now I'm going to say to you, what's this worth?
First of all, I'll say I agree with you entirely on that.
It is such a rarity, this is Mecca for a telephone collector.
And I think that price is perfectly reasonable.
What's this worth? Well, as a piece of technical machinery,
without its wonderful political historical overtones, it's worth a few hundred pounds.
If you factor in that this is the only surviving division bell
telegraph machine, I could imagine someone paying, God, £15,000 for it.
Well, I'm going to be the Clerk and I'm going to call the division.
It's a unique sound.
-Actually, can I ask you, can you do it?
-Yes, why not?
We say, "Clear the lobbies!"
-Clear the lobbies!
-Clear the lobbies!
So how come you're bringing me a rusty old tin of whatever it's supposed to be...roasted veal?
Well, the simple answer is that it's not just any tin,
it's probably one of the first tins of preserved food in existence.
It was taken by Captain, subsequently Sir William Parry,
on the Arctic Expedition in 1824, and, uniquely, it was taken twice.
It was brought back to England in 1825 and taken out again in 1826 to the Arctic.
Now, this was deposited after 1826 in the Museum of the Royal United Services Institute,
which used to be in this building in the Banqueting House,
and it was kept with the preserved meat inside.
It was essentially as a result of the success of these tins that the Royal Navy adopted, in 1831, canned
food as one of its requirements and the canning industry took off.
Brilliant, so it went out to the Arctic on a voyage,
it came back from the Arctic, it went out to the Arctic, it came back from the Arctic
and we're talking about the 1820s here, aren't we?
-We are indeed.
-And then it comes back into the museum.
Why does it have this dirty great ugly hole in the bottom now?
Well, unfortunately it was opened in 1939 by
-some curious gentlemen together with the tin industry at the time.
I suspect their idea was to prove that the canning industry started so well and did so well.
-But did they eat what was inside?
-No, they didn't, but they subjected it to chemical examination.
And as it turned out, the veal in 1939, over 100 years later,
was perfectly fit for consumption.
Well, isn't that brilliant? Because I think this early preservation of food is most interesting, really.
The fact that in 1811, when the British started doing it, but with
metal, with iron, effectively tinned iron,
and then by excluding the air, you were able to prove, by taking it
to the Arctic and back and forth, that for over 100 years it would keep meat fresh,
meat and vegetables fresh, it's quite extraordinary, isn't it?
And you know that it's A proper one because it's got this sealed little nipple
and that's where the air came out.
Absolutely riveting. Do you like veal yourself?
-I don't, actually.
And I most certainly will not try the one from this can.
when you come to valuing an object like this, it's difficult.
Frankly, it's a question of the association of personality.
If this had been to the Antarctic with Scott, that tin could be worth
several thousand pounds, £5,000 to £8,000.
But as it is, even though it's earlier than Scott
and very interesting as far as the canning industry's concerned, and the preservation of food,
I would imagine that if that came on the market, it would probably realise a tad under £1,000.
But it's nevertheless a heck of an interesting tin. Thank you.
We've got an unusual combination here. We've got
a lifesaving medal,
an Iron Cross second class,
so there's a nice story here, I'm sure.
Well, my husband was in the Merchant Navy and during the war, in 1944, he
dived off the liner Queen Elizabeth and rescued a German prisoner of war from drowning.
And as a result he was awarded the medal and the German gave him his swastika,
and the crew of the ship presented him with an inscribed cigarette case.
And these are the letters from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society who presented the medal.
So, what were the prisoners of war doing on the Elizabeth?
Well, I'm pretty sure they were going to America
and then the liner would come back with troops on board.
That's right, they did so. And also they took Italian prisoners of war to America,
because in the convoy I was in
there was the Empress of Canada, and she was full up with Italian prisoners of war.
But they sunk her.
I remember that, yes.
So, now, you've got the silver medal for saving life from the Humane Society,
you've got the letter explaining it, and here we have a picture of him?
-Which is your husband?
He was mostly in the library or the swimming pool,
but sometimes he was the waiter.
And of course, he's not with you any more?
-No. He died in 1976.
Yes. But what a lovely combination.
Now, we've got to come to value.
-Your humane medal on its own would be about £300, £350.
But, of course, you see, with this lovely story and the Iron Cross,
you know the whole thing, I mean you can sort of double that value.
Because, if a collector had the opportunity to buy it, which he won't,
it is worth twice that amount.
-It's lovely to know.
-Thank you very much indeed.
Well, this is a wonderfully romantic Russian scene.
The moon is out and this troika is rushing over the snow there.
-So this album is completely full of Russian royalty.
Over 55 images. So did you buy them all together?
No. I collected them over a period of time and I actually bought the album separately.
I bought it because it was a Russian album
and thought it was appropriate to put the family back into something that they would have been in.
Yes, absolutely. So here we've got
the Empress, Empress...
Marie with her son, Tsar Nicholas II as a baby.
Tsar Nicholas II as a baby, now you hardly ever see photographs of Tsar Nicholas II as a baby.
And also, it's hand-coloured.
It's hand coloured, you're quite right.
So tell me, what made you start collecting Russian royalty?
When I was quite young, I watched a programme called Children Of Destiny
about the Tsar's children, and that's what made my interest in the Russian royal family.
And when I was about 17, I saw an original photograph of Nicholas
and Alexandra at the time of their engagement, and I bought that, and from there the collection grew.
It's absolutely splendid.
Now, here is one that particularly interests me.
You explain who these people are. This one I think is Ella, isn't it?
Yes, it's Grand Duchess Elizabeth with Grand Duke Serge.
He was murdered in a dress rehearsal in 1905 of the First Revolution
and she was thrown down a mine shaft by the Bolsheviks in 1918 in the Second Revolution.
-And she became a saint.
And she became a saint, became a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church.
-And I believe the horrible story, you could hear her singing hymns at the bottom of this shaft.
She was meant to be a great beauty, in the whole of Europe everybody thought she was enchanting.
The Kaiser wanted to marry her, Kaiser Wilhelm of the First World War
was in love with his first cousin Ella,
but sadly they never married and she married Serge instead.
That's a very romantic story. Look at this, this is absolutely splendid. This is Queen Victoria.
-And Edward VII, Tsar Nicholas.
Empress Alexandra and Grand Duchess Olga.
-And Grand Duchess Olga, now that is absolutely...
-At Balmoral in 1896 when they came over for their visit,
and the Empress brought her child to see her grandmother, which was very important to her.
She was very close to Queen Victoria and she'd been brought up by the Queen, and so Alexandra looked on
Queen Victoria as her mother, and Queen Victoria looked on her as her child.
It's a beautifully presented thing. You've got, what, over 55?
55 in this particular album, which I think is quite remarkable.
-I mean, how long has it taken you to collect this lot?
-Probably about 20 years,
I probably couldn't start it again now,
with the price they are today, but over 20 years, I would say.
Well, you probably have as much idea about how much they're worth as I do,
because you keep your eye on the market.
But I'm going to hazard a guess.
I reckon that you've got an album there that's worth
upwards of £35,000, would you agree with that?
Um, yes, slightly shocked.
But happily will agree.
I was going to say that you don't look surprised, but that's a bit better!
That's the sort of reaction we encourage. Thanks for bringing it in.
OK, lovely. Thank you very much.
We bought a new house and we had to remove a bay window and we found it
under there and I've had it ever since,
but my husband just keeps saying it's a bit of old tat.
-Bit of old tat! Have you worn this bit of old tat?
-It's beautifully made,
it wouldn't matter what it was made of, really, it's so superb.
And have you thought about the imagery behind it at all?
I mean, is it something that you feel there's a message there?
Apart from an obvious one, that it sparkles like mad.
Sparkles like mad! No, I just liked it and I just kept it, I just thought it was very pretty.
It's a jolly good thing you did keep it.
It's actually like a lot of jewellery, there's a subliminal message of love here.
These are forget-me-not flowers.
In the Victorian language of flowers, forget-me-not stands for true love.
When you turn it into diamonds, it's forever true love, and they're true lovers' knots here.
It's a highly sophisticated piece of setting
and I think it's safe to tell you now that this is gem setting.
These are indeed real stones, they are diamonds.
So much for my tat!
So much for your tat, and it's going to be awkward when you go back home,
because you'll have to tell him all of this!
And this is a little jewel from 1900, which is probably the most perfect time for craftsmanship in jewellery.
It's very minutely observed.
The design rules the composition, not the stones.
They're secured in what we call mille grain settings, there are tiny little pellets running round these
channels of metal, which is an indication
that what we have before us now is a piece of the highest possible quality gem setting from 1900.
And it gets better and better because, when we turn it over, we can see that
there's a bit of engineering in the form of a hinge that tells us that this was almost certainly strung
onto some pearls to be worn high at the neck of an Edwardian lady.
And we call it a "collier de chien", a dog's collar
ornament, in diamonds, and a breathtakingly poetic one it is too.
It may well be made by a firm such as Cartier or Boucheron.
-Oh, my goodness.
-Or La Cloche.
Well, it's a bombshell, isn't it?
It's a bombshell to me.
Good, good! And is it going to be a test of true love when you go back
and tell him that I told you that it might be worth...
..£8,000 or £9,000?
Oh, my God!
You're Palace Manager of the Banqueting House
-and one of your myriad tasks is to look after this intriguing object which is downstairs in the hall.
Now, I can see that it represents the Banqueting Hall from the outside, but
in a certain way at a certain time, by the looks of it.
Yes, it's the proposed contingency plan for the coronation of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson.
-The coronation that never took place.
We found it in a box in the Royal United Services Institute, which is next door to us,
when we were refurbishing in 1991 and we rescued it, framed it, because it's an intriguing object
because it's part of the constitutional history of England.
Now, I take it, therefore, that because she was a twice divorced American,
they didn't like the idea - "they" being the powers that be -
of having the coronation over at the abbey.
It was to be in this secular building.
Yes, I guess that's why.
So this was done by the party planners to the royal family at the time.
And I can see it's "Hampton and Sons".
Yes, and November 1936.
So 1936 being just before, as it were, news breaks that it's not going to happen.
-So it gives you an idea of just what a constitutional crisis it represented.
How on so many levels, so much was being prepared
-here at the Hall and elsewhere.
-That wasn't to happen.
-No, that's it.
Have you considered a value for this object?
Never, because it was...
I suppose because it was in a box and it was all folded up and... No, we haven't.
Well, I think it's very intriguing and one knows quite a lot about the
emotive commercial nature of things to do with Edward and Mrs Simpson.
-Well, in 1997 there was a huge sale of all the objects
that were associated with them and I remember being utterly amazed, as I think many other people were, when
-just a single piece of wedding cake associated with their marriage made just under £18,000.
-Oh, my God!
And it seems to be the combination of the constitutional crisis, which was big, the romantic association of the
couple, and just general nostalgia for that period.
It seems to have done it for a big group of rich people, all of whom
beat it out to try and buy anything to do with the event.
But as the Banqueting House Manager, a piece of cake as old as that would not be of any value to me at all.
Well, I couldn't agree more.
On the basis of that, I would confidently value this drawing
-at over £20,000.
-What?! Oh, my God!
You'd prefer that piece of cake now, wouldn't you?
Yeah... No, but it's amazing. Wow.
Hovering above us throughout the Roadshow
has been something that makes everything on the floor level seem fairly insignificant,
although we have seen some fabulous pieces today.
The ceiling here at the Banqueting House was painted by Paul Rubens to glorify the Stuart dynasty.
It took him four years to complete and he was paid £3,000 and a large lump of gold.
Well, masterpieces don't come cheap.
More treasures very soon, but for now, from Whitehall in London, goodbye.
Michael Aspel and the team take a trip to Banqueting House, in the heart of London. A valuable brooch proves that diamonds really are a girl's best friend, and a rare collection of photographs of the Russian royal family have a staggering price tag.