Fiona Bruce opens a seasonal selection box from the Roadshow team, featuring updates on some of the year's most talked-about stories.
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This is my favourite time of year. We're well into the countdown
and in just a week we'll be opening the presents under the tree,
so tonight we're getting a bit festive
as we celebrate some of our most magical finds from the year,
and also seeing what happened after they were shown.
So welcome back to Hever Castle
as we open a selection box from the Antiques Roadshow.
For so many of us, the best memories of Christmas
are of piles of presents and the tearing of wrapping paper.
Those precious Christmas gifts
can be powerful reminders of people and places from the past.
Meet Teddy - he was given to me by my parents one Christmas
when I was little, and I've loved him ever since.
And it's things like this that we see so often at the Roadshow now,
but they're classed as vintage collectables no less.
Tonight we're looking at the history of giving,
and revealing how much some of these things can be worth today.
'Antiques expert Judith Miller will trace
'just when we started sharing Christmas keepsakes
'and reveals who's responsible for many of the traditions
'we now take for granted.'
And there's a fabulous picture
of the Royal Family round the tree at Windsor Castle in 1848
in the Illustrated London News, and everybody wanted a tree.
And our experts choose their ideal antique gift
from the thousands of objects
they've seen at Roadshows across the year.
What I've got in my hand
is one of the best ones I've ever actually seen.
There are lots of treats involved
with working on the Antiques Roadshow,
and I have to say one of them is, very occasionally,
to come across something that is THE best of its kind.
And here we have possibly
the most exciting doll to ever come onto the Roadshow.
A real, real significant find.
It is undoubtedly the oldest bronze
we've ever had on the Roadshow.
This is stored in the garage!
It ain't going to be stored
in the garage any more, that's for sure!
I mean, it's the most exciting thing I've seen for years.
Thank you very much, John. Thank you.
Thank you very much. You're a wee dear!
You're a treasure!
Now, jewellery has to be high on many people's wish lists
at this time of the year.
We're starting our look back at some of the most talked-about finds,
with a small jewel that made a big difference
in the life of one viewer.
It all began on a summer's day in Dartmouth.
What we see the least of are almost holy grail
of Victorian 19th century design, and the highest possible point
of that, for me, is the jewellery designed by
the Neo-Gothic architect William Burges,
who's really the greatest genius
of 19th-century design and architecture.
But he also dabbled in jewellery
specifically, and he made designs...
'Jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn
'made an appeal for a lost collection of jewels.
'The challenge - could we find them?
'Watching at home was Jill, who recognised one of the designs
'as looking suspiciously like a brooch she owned.
'Jill joined us some months later to show it to us.'
So, Jill, what did you think, when you saw Geoffrey there?
I was speechless for a second or two and I just thought,
"It can't possibly be my brooch," but I was...
He was looking at the first two brooches, but my brooch
was underneath and I thought, "No, it can't possibly be my brooch."
So I rushed upstairs and rushed back down again and I thought,
"It is, it is!"
Oh, so you were there, holding it up against it, trying to check?
Well, two days before the programme came on the television,
I'd actually be going to sell it,
and I'd put it out on top to sell, to take to the local market
because I thought it might be worth a few pounds.
Um, so it was really incredible, because it's been
stuck at the bottom of my jewellery case for twenty odd years and...
And which one do you think it is?
I think it's that one, I think it's that one.
'So was it one of the missing jewels?
'Time to ask Geoffrey.'
I don't think there's any shadow of doubt
and I think that that is absolutely...
I honestly can hardly articulate it.
I think it's absolutely marvellous.
And it's completely different manufacture
to what one might have expected.
It's slightly heavier and massier than I thought the design would be,
but in every sense of the word it is it.
-And so it's pulse-making, I mean honestly...
It's the sort of, it's a Tutankhamen experience on the Antiques Roadshow.
What is this worth?
-Well, I think something close to £10,000.
-Oh, my God!
'It was such an amazing find,'
wasn't it? How long had you been looking for that brooch?
Well, about 30 years. I was aware of the original designs
which were in the Victoria and Albert Museum,
very sensitive, full of context,
an architect and an artist making jewellery,
bringing my specialist subject into a much wider field,
and...and so I wanted to see it more than I can tell you.
Jill decided to sell the brooch, and we went along to the auction to see how it went.
There we go - the one you've all been waiting for,
and we'll open the bidding at £5,000.
£5,000 I'm bid here, at £5,000,
£10,000, £10,500, £11,000...
And on it went, far exceeding Geoffrey Munn's valuation.
£31,000, don't have any regrets, ladies and gentlemen...
The recently-discovered William Burges brooch,
then selling for £31,000.
-A staggering amount.
I daren't think any more of how I nearly came to sell it,
because it makes me feel ill inside!
Erm...it's...out of this world.
Jill was thrilled, absolutely thrilled.
And it went for much more than you valued it for,
even though it's quite a modest looking little thing, wasn't it?
Very modest little thing, only silver, only a little touch of gold,
four turquoise, perhaps intrinsic value £40-£60, something like that,
but an enormous art historical value,
because it is such a fascinating designer,
and the valuation of works of art is highly subjective,
it's not an exact science,
and this proved it very eloquently, because I had thought perhaps
of the highest possible figure I could think of,
which was £10,000. I was a little bit jumpy about that,
but actually by the time it was all paid up, it fetched £36,500,
because there was a buyer's premium on top of the £31,000 bid,
so nudging £40,000. Who was right?
It doesn't really matter, this is an utterly unique object,
great context, hugely exciting and I shall never forget it.
It just needs the right person to come along
who wants it that badly, I suppose.
And you had wanted it so badly for 30 years and then it turned up.
-I guess that's the power of television, isn't it?
-Television's a unique medium.
It creeps in at every level, it seems to invade our lives,
to inundate us in some regard, but nothing else could do this.
There isn't a medium on this earth
that could have pulled this treasure out
and shown it to me some time in my lifetime,
so I'll always be enormously grateful for that.
A little bird has told me
you're setting our viewers another challenge.
There is another long-lost object you'd like to find.
Well, this is white-hot excitement -
this is a uranium rod too hot to handle -
it's an object loaded with emotional significance,
with poetry, with poignancy
and I would love to find it more than I can tell you.
Well, we'll tell you more about that long-lost object,
which we hope you will help us find, a little bit later in the programme.
You know, that brooch wasn't the ONLY object by an important designer
that we unearthed recently on the Roadshow.
Remember our visit to Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire?
Silver specialist Alastair Dickenson would love to find these 19th century stirrup cups under his tree,
not just exquisite-looking objects, but also made by the best craftsmen.
And what I've got in my hand - I've got to say -
is one of the best ones I've ever actually seen.
It's got a nice set of marks down the bottom here,
made by the firm of Hunt & Roskell, who were one of the best makers
of the 19th century, and it's got a date letter here for 1869,
but what has made this possibly one of the best days
I've ever had on any Antiques Roadshow,
is the fact in front of us
we've got eleven more, and bulls happen to be one of the rarest forms
-of stirrup cup you can get.
-How long have you had these, or...
-They're not mine, I'm sorry to say.
-Not yours, ah!
-I wish they were - no, they're not mine,
but because I knew a little of the history of the herd,
-I was asked to bring them.
-They are kept very safe
under lock and key.
But if I tell you that this one -
which is a wonderful bull with a great big chubby neck -
it's a beautiful model, fabulously textured here,
really super, super example.
Something like this is probably worth at least £10,000
-So times twelve...
And for a set, there's not going to be much change left out of £150,000.
Gosh, better take them home carefully.
Like most treasures we see
at Roadshows, the family don't intend to sell.
We're told they're happily back home and have just been repolished,
ready to sit on the dining table for Christmas lunch.
Hilary Kay has spent 34 years
working on the Antiques Roadshow and has waited all that time
to discover this important early toy train.
There are lots of treats involved
with working on the Antiques Roadshow, and I have to say,
one of them is very occasionally to come across something
that is THE best
of its kind,
and this is one of those moments.
It is a train set, obviously,
and, for me, it is
perhaps the expression, one of the best expressions
of the master tin-maker's art.
This is all hand-made out of tin,
with occasional little pieces of brass,
a few tiny exceptions -
the little whistle here is turned wood,
the lamps here are turned wood,
the carved figures are wood covered in a sort of gesso
and then painted, but otherwise it is
exquisite metal-working at its very best.
On the bottom of several of these little pieces, there is the name "Buchner".
Now Buchner is... sounds German, is German.
I think around 1845-1850...
-That would fit perfectly.
-..is exactly where I would put this.
Oh, good, so I'm quite glad about that.
Well, let's talk about value.
-This is an incredibly esoteric thing, it is not mainstream.
There are probably half a dozen people in the whole world
who would want this, but they have deep pockets
and I would be confident in saying
that this would fetch something between £25,000
and £35,000 at auction and for insurance certainly £50,000.
It's still going back in the case and back in there, I'm afraid.
-And you've got the key.
Thank you so much for bringing it out.
Since Hilary said this,
we're told the train is a highlight
for visitors to Blair Castle's nursery.
We love those moments
when our specialists learn something new.
It was the magic name of Rolex
that drew the eye of clock and watch expert
Ben Wright at a Roadshow in Cumbria.
But what a story lay behind its acquisition.
My father was captured
in June 1940, and he was in the 51st Highland Division,
and they were captured and they had to march miles and miles and miles
across France, Belgium, Holland.
Finally they reached the camp - it was called Oflag 7C.
When they were captured,
all the watches were taken from them by the Germans,
and what interests me so much is
that this watch was ordered by my father
in 1941, direct to Switzerland, Rolex, Switzerland,
where it was delivered to him, erm...in the prison camp,
and I do not understand how
the Germans could let them have the watches,
and I believe that a lot of other prisoners
ordered similar watches because it was an incredible
morale booster for them.
It's the most remarkable and story and I...
I have never ever heard this story before.
I'm surprised you haven't.
I have never heard that you could order a Rolex from Switzerland,
-via the Red Cross, as I understand it...
-..whilst under guard.
And they would deliver it.
Isn't that extraordinary?
Rolex sent this watch, they had no payment for it,
and they were...they took it on trust that he would pay
his bill at the end of the war, like any good British gentleman would.
without the story, it would be worth between £2,500 and £3,000.
But with the story, with the story, it has to double in price.
-It has to.
-It has to.
-So it must be worth a minimum of £5,000.
And I wouldn't be at all surprised with the full story,
and such remarkable documentation, I wouldn't be surprised if it made more.
-But I know you'll never sell it...
Since showing that item,
we've been in touch with Rolex headquarters in Switzerland, who confirmed
that British prisoners-of-war WERE sent watches in camps
during World War II.
They were then paid for in peacetime -
a revelation for us all from our day at the Roadshow.
And I reckon jewellery expert John Benjamin would vote these two women
his favourite visitors of the year.
Their watch wasn't in great condition,
but it did boast a great pedigree.
They belonged to my father
and he inherited them from my great-uncle.
He worked in London
and he was a maitre d' in a gentleman's residence.
-What, like a club, a gentlemen's club?
-A private gentlemen's club.
He acquired them from a gentleman
who unfortunately ran up quite a substantial account.
He said to my great-uncle,
"Well, have you any other means by settling your account?"
It has to be said, it worked out rather well for the family!
-Would you not agree?
When my father says, "It's worth something in scrap," and I thought,
"I'll bring it along."
All right, well, first of all I'm going to start off by saying
-that the bracelet is simply white metal, it's steel.
Let's look at the case.
The face... Now you can see, it's worn out.
This is very difficult to touch because it's very loose.
You can see that here there's a tiny little individual number
-that's been stamped onto the case at the back.
-So we're moving things up a stage, this is numbered...
..platinum and 18 carat gold...
-..and the little mark there is French.
The reason that I wanted to unscrew
the screws from the sides of the case
-was to have a look at the movement.
Now you're going to be disappointed. It's not signed...
..but the movement is by something
called the European Watch & Clock Company Ltd.
Shall we move on to values?
I'm scared. I'm scared now!
This is stored in the garage!
-It ain't going to be stored in the garage any more, that's for sure.
-It's been 30 years...
30 years in our garage.
-Now do you remember I told you about the European Watch Company?
They used to make movements for a company
GROANING IN ANTICIPATION
-Oh, my God! Listen now, I don't...
-Are you ready?
-I was just going to say French.
Are you ready?
-It'll be all right.
-Worth getting fixed, really.
-Can we have them fixed?
Still reeling after that surprising news,
Mum and daughter have taken the next step by contacting Cartier.
Next stop, Paris.
We're in a festive mood tonight.
Ever since I've started working on the Antiques Roadshow,
I've wanted to make a special Christmas programme,
because I love the traditions associated with this time of year.
Judith Miller, our antiques expert, is here.
Judith, thinking about the traditions of Christmas,
we can see so much of that through the items
that have been brought into the Roadshow over the years.
Do you remember that painting we saw?
It was this year at Blair Castle.
Yes, lovely festive scene,
quite simple, just the tree with some decorations on it
and the children around it, and very Victorian,
because Christmas, as we know it, was really a Victorian invention.
That's when you first got the Christmas trees,
the decorations, the present-giving,
really instituted by the Prince Consort, Albert,
husband to Queen Victoria,
and there's a fabulous picture of the royal family round the tree
at Windsor Castle in 1848 in the Illustrated London News,
and everybody wanted a tree.
It's a very frugal little scene, isn't it?
Not many presents, hardly any.
The little girl holding what looks like an apple behind her back.
Yes, this is a scene from, you know, sort of later Victorian life really.
And these children, they don't have a tremendous amount
but it's a very exciting time,
and the other little girl with maybe a hand-made toy,
maybe by her father,
even the tree, possibly the father had gone out
and cut down the tree, and the children excited,
and you get that feeling from the painting.
It's been looked after. Your family looked after it beautifully.
And value, very desirable, the subject's desirable,
the artist is well sought-after,
certainly £6,000 to £8,000,
could quite easily make beyond £10,000 on a great day.
We saw an example of a hand-made toy, didn't we? That beautiful train
at Seaton Delaval Hall.
Yes, again, something made by a father, possibly for a son,
and taken little elements from the home,
a stair rail and a little leg of a chair,
and these things never survive.
That was a really exciting find.
We're right at the birth of railways.
The Stockton and Darlington, up the road, in effect, was opened in 1825.
The Liverpool and Manchester,
Stevenson, the great name associated with it, opening a few years later.
It's not quite The Rocket, you know, but it's looking like it.
If this is the world's earliest toy train - what's it worth?
That... I'd never thought of it in those terms,
it is quite literally one of those things that I won't part with.
I'll sell most things, but certainly not that.
-We'll never prove it.
-No, of course not.
It's either worth 20 quid
as a piece of curiosity, or it's worth
£5,000, you know, it's somewhere between those two,
-but we'll never prove it.
-No, never will.
We saw some beautiful Christmas cards a few years back.
Paul Atterbury looked at them
and valued them at only about £5-£7.
-Is that what they're worth now?
-No, considerably more.
When did we first start sending, receiving Christmas cards?
It's actually, in some ways, quite a recent thing.
People often sent messages
at Christmas but it really wasn't until the 1840s
when you actually had the Penny Post came in,
and that meant that the recipient didn't have to pay -
so some people didn't want to receive cards because they then had to pay,
but it was really in the...
you know, by the 1860s when there was tremendous progress with printing,
that you got vast numbers of Christmas cards
-and some elaborate ones.
-We've seen beautiful ones, haven't we?
There was some that Paul Atterbury looked at,
very elaborate with the cut-outs and the images, absolutely beautiful.
Now these are the most desirable sort.
Here we have a church saying "Happy Christmas"
and what you do is,
you pull the ribbon, and it animates, it all comes to life
and there inside is the church, the stained glass,
and inside, the children praying, as a wonderful image of Christmas.
As a total album, it might be £200, £300, £400. It's not the money,
it's what it represents about Victorian life.
We've seen lots of cards - haven't we -
at the Roadshow over the years, much more modern ones - I'm thinking 1920s, 1930s?
Well, one of my very, very favourite out of all the ones I've seen on the Roadshow,
was, I think, Rupert had this sort of this fabulous piece of original artwork
by Kate Greenaway
and it's such a typical scene of Christmas
with Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, at the bottom of the bed.
When did we first start seeing Santa Claus in the costume we now associate with him,
in red with the fur trim and a big white beard?
There are many images of him in red and white,
but there's also images of him in green and white, but I think
when the whole red Father Christmas came in, was actually the Americans,
around 1900, that's when we started to get a lot of these images,
and the Germans were making dolls with the red outfit on as well.
-We have it hanging at Christmas.
Yeah, just every Christmas since I can remember, we just bring it out.
-You treat it like a Christmas decoration almost?
-Yeah, it comes out with the decs at Christmas.
Extraordinary. I'd want to look at it all the year round,
but I suppose it's quite a nice thing to do,
-in a way.
-Well, in my opinion, it's worth at least £6,000 to £8,000.
Judith, we'll be talking about all things Christmassy a little more later, but first,
if there's one question I get asked
all the time about the Antiques Roadshow,
it's, "Do people sell their objects after they've been valued?"
Well, the answer is - not often.
But there are exceptions.
It's a really unusual thing to bring to a Roadshow, lovely thing to see.
Where did you get it?
I had a dear friend, an elderly friend, who died last year
and she requested that I choose several things
from her home, and this was one of the items that I chose.
'John confirmed that this was a cloisonne glass from China
'in the 19th century and landed the owner with a staggering valuation.'
Chinese cloisonne can be quite valuable.
I think if you put that in auction today,
it would be £8,000 to £10,000.
Goodness me! Wow!
Owner Diana tested John Axford's valuation after the show,
and his prediction was spot-on -
confirmation of just how keen the Chinese market is right now.
Geoffrey Munn's valuation
on a collection of 18th and 19th century gold boxes
also took their owner by surprise.
Luckily, he was sitting down.
So it's a bewildering collection to value.
Let's have a stab at valuing these in the front,
and then move backwards from there.
-This gold box is probably worth today £5,000-£6,000.
And this one here in the middle,
a micro-mosaic box -
it's a very bold one, I think that that's going to be...
And this one, a Russian cigarette case, very exotic,
very beautiful in the 18th-century taste,
overlaying a hard stone core,
well, um...£20,000 for that.
And so, I suppose, all the gold boxes on this table must be,
when you add them all up,
it must be nudging between £50,000 and £60,000.
The gentleman has since sold six of the boxes
and he's already £55,000 richer.
Roadshow favourite David Battie found one of his most exciting objects at our show
in Saltaire, screened earlier in the year.
-Do you like it?
-It's my favourite piece.
Where do you think it comes from?
Meself, I would say Chinese, but I'm not...I'm not a hundred per cent,
I know my grandad did mention Chinese, he had tried to look up.
-It is Chinese.
-Is it? Right.
What age do you think it might be?
I don't know, 200-year-old, is it?
It is undoubtedly the oldest bronze we've ever had on the Roadshow.
-Yes. The question is, exactly when this dates from.
I think with these cords on here...
..we're beginning to look as if it might be Yuan dynasty,
which followed the Song,
and that ran from 1279 to 1368.
I think that's when it dates from.
It's just brilliant.
You know, we're looking at something which is
pushing a thousand years old, you know.
-If this were in a smart dealer's catalogue in London...
..I could see it having a price tag
-of somewhere between £10,000 and £15,000.
That's really unbelievable to be honest.
Thank you, Grandpa.
Yeah, thank you very much, yes.
After that valuation, the owner decided to sell his bronze.
We'll take it to auction shortly.
Remember this handsome box
containing Queen Alexandra's tea cup?
..the original wrapping.
We've got the brown paper.
Buckingham Palace paper.
And it says, "Buckingham Palace '03." 1903.
And this is it. Made in Germany...
Ceramics expert Lars Tharp told owner Brian that his cup was attractive but...
These were actually mass produced, they were mass produced.
You've got this lovely portrait in the bottom, they were made
in their hundreds of thousands...
Perhaps surprisingly, Lars thought the cup was only worth a few pounds, but a sharp-eyed viewer
contacted us after the show to say
the wrapping, with Buckingham Palace stamps,
is rare and worth at least £400-£500 alone.
Lars will begin his philately course soon.
Well, I bought the guitar in 1982 off a friend of mine who had a band.
Guitar owner Clements brought this Gibson earlier in the year.
His question, was it once played by Bob Marley?
And one of them bought it off the Marley team
after the concert at the Hammersmith Odeon.
Rock and Pop specialist John Baddeley told us if Bob Marley's link could be proved,
it would make a world of difference.
Put that magical name on it, "One used and played by Bob Marley,"
you could be talking a figure of probably £25,000-£30,000.
We had lots of responses after the show,
and now Clements has proved it WAS owned by Bob Marley
and went on tour for five years.
So John Baddeley is happy with his valuation of £25,000 to £30,000.
And finally, remember this unlucky man
who proudly brought his newly-purchased
tea caddies to see us,
in Northern Ireland.
Expert Christopher Payne smelt a rat as soon as he saw them.
Did you pay a lot of money for them?
Wouldn't think to tell you.
You're not going to tell me?
Well, I wonder if there's a recourse.
Don't think so.
I'm not sure that I really should
be giving a value on the Antiques Roadshow of these,
because I don't want to give any credence at all
to the fact that these are... these are fake pieces,
they shouldn't be on the market. They're not old.
I'm afraid you were sold a pup.
Looks like it.
Tell me what you paid for them.
The larger of the two was £1,500 before fees,
the smaller one was £1,100 before fees.
Thank you for being so frank with us.
So you're talking roughly £3,000.
All's well that ends well.
We're delighted to report that the auction house has now fully refunded the gentleman -
a salutary lesson for us all to tread with care.
As you'll know, often it's not what an object is worth that makes it special.
We readily show pieces with little or no financial value
that have huge personal importance.
Perhaps the most powerful example of this
was during our special Remembrance Sunday programme.
It was a letter written during the Second World War,
a moving confession from a husband to his wife, opened after his death.
He volunteered as an air gunner and then did this in secret without my nan knowing.
So he volunteered.
I mean, when we talk about going into the bombers, as a gunner,
-I mean, that was the most dangerous job.
Whether you were a rear gunner,
or wherever it was, I mean, you were very, very easily picked off
by the Messerschmitts or whoever was defending the target.
It was my nan's nightmare, to be honest, and they discussed it,
and she said that was the one thing
that she really was afraid of him doing.
So this is a photograph of your grandfather, of Teddy,
and your nan on their wedding.
That's right yes, Maisie and Teddy on their wedding day.
So the entries in the log book finish in 1942?
He was shot down in Halifax with the rest of his crew.
So all the crew were...?
All the crew were dead, yes.
But then what about this? What is this?
It's the letter he left, explaining to my nan
why he...why he felt he had to put himself forward,
that would go to her, in case anything happened.
I can tell you that holding this in my hands,
actually the hair on the back of my neck is rising,
because this, to me, is an incredibly powerful document.
-Now I don't know if I can read it.
-So you've got it transcribed there.
-Read a little bit out to me.
"When you read this letter,
"one of two things will have probably happened.
"Either I shall be home, off operations, or I shall be missing.
"That is why I want to write this letter, dearest.
"Now this is where I have to confess to deceiving you, darling.
"I've never done it before,
"and I hope I never will have to do it again.
"I hope you understand..."
"..but I couldn't... I couldn't help it.
"he main thing was that I didn't say what aircraft I was flying in.
"Well, they were the big four-engined Halifaxes.
"Understand, darling, I was to fly over Germany of a night,
"and also sometimes of a day.
"It was the one thing you dreaded, wasn't it?
"That was the reason I didn't tell you.
"I hadn't the heart, darling, I love you too much.
"At the moment, there are only two months to go
"before our baby comes into this world.
"If you do happen to get this letter in unhappy circumstances..."
"..which I pray to God you won't, remember, darling,
"unhappy moments often turn into happy ones, and never give up hope.
"Remember, don't give up, and keep your chin up, darling.
"Au revoir, not goodbye, beloved,
"yours, with all my love, my dearest, Teddy."
That's quite some letter.
Not very much more one can say about that actually, um...
We've only really read a part of it
-because it is an incredibly powerful document.
-It is, yes.
..and it's all about the ones that are left behind.
We had a strong reaction from so many people
to the programme and that item in particular.
What we didn't have time to explain is that Teddy's wife,
the woman who received that letter, was watching too.
Now in her late 80s, Maisie Newman-Smith lives in a care home
in Norfolk, and I went to see her.
I think everyone who watched the programme with the letter from Ted
that he wrote to you was so moved by it.
-I know I was.
-Did you see it on the programme?
And what did you think?
Overwhelming, overwhelming, you know, it brought it all so back to me,
you know, and it was, you know... I had a little weep.
-Oh, I think lots of people had a little weep actually.
But he was such a brave young man, and so happy, so happy.
And he was 21 when he wrote you that letter.
21, yes, yeah.
I met him when I was 16 and he was 17 and we were, you know,
sort of girl and boyfriend and had a happy time together.
And what kind of man was he?
Very happy, and loved to laugh, and he loved to sing,
and he was tone deaf.
And we were just happy boy and girl together, you know.
He was going to take his articles and he would have become a solicitor
and our life was planned out, you know, what we would do,
we'd get married and have a life, you know, the usual thing.
But that's how it all was going to be, but then Mr Hitler intervened, didn't he?
In the letter, he wrote that he'd become an air gunner in Halifax bombers.
Yes, in the Halifax bombers, yes.
-And he didn't tell you because he didn't want to worry you.
-He was worried about the deception.
-What did you think when you read that? You had no idea.
-I couldn't believe it,
you know, I was absolutely stunned, but I understood how he felt.
I understood and I thought, well... How did I feel?
Stunned at the time, in fact, I think I went through a zombie period, you know,
where I just... Life just went on and I didn't feel anything.
And you were how old? You were what, 20?
You must have felt your life, your future as you'd imagined it, was over.
But it wasn't over.
I met Thomas Evan Newman-Smith and had a happy life.
So you married?
Yes, yes, and, um...when I met him,
and he was the most kindest, loveliest man that you could wish to meet,
understanding and kind, and he gave me back my life.
Well in his letter, Ted did say, "Let the world see that smile that I love so much,"
and I guess that's what you did.
Yes, I did, yes, I did, but we were young together,
happy together and the time we had very precious
and you know, he believed... he really believed in what he was doing,
and by doing that he was going to make things better,
and that's what I always think, you know.
He was a valiant young man.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet Maisie,
such a wonderful, positive person about life.
And following that Remembrance Sunday edition,
we're planning another special programme.
This time, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
with a programme looking at royal stories.
So what kind of objects are we looking for?
Well, remember this?
These are pictures of the Christmas broadcast, Sandringham 1957.
Now that was the first time
-the Queen did it on television.
-That's right, yes.
-The Christmas broadcast hitherto had a long tradition of being on the radio.
Suddenly there it is and, of course, in the technology of the time,
it was live, she had to do it almost as you and I are doing it here.
That's right, yes.
So what are these to you?
Well it's part of the history of my father.
He was the superintendent of lighting
-for outside broadcasts for the BBC during the '50s and '60s.
-A very important person.
Yes, he was.
So he was there. These were his sets.
He actually chose the Queen's dress as well
and set the set up so it would appear proper
when you actually watched it on the television.
Television was in black and white in those days.
Today we see in colour but in those days it was about tones rather than colours.
Dresses that might be the right colour might be the wrong tone for black and white television.
-So he said, "I'm sorry, Ma'am, you can't wear that."
-He did, he did.
-A very tough man obviously.
Um, and then who... who took the photographs?
The ones of Prince Charles and Princess Anne are taken by my father.
Other members of the crew would have taken the background pictures
but it was my father that took all these pictures here.
-So he was the cameraman in a sense of recording a scene.
-He was, yes.
-So there we have the Queen, on that occasion, 1957...
..wearing the dress that he chose and so he was there, snapping away,
-Without any prohibition - he was a very lucky person.
-No royal protocol?
I think it was a very impressive exciting part of television history,
and these very much bring it to life.
We've got lots of things here, we've got television history,
we've got royal family in a very intimate and informal way,
so we've got this very exciting archive.
Seeing those pictures gives a remarkable insight
into the Queen's first televised Christmas message
and we're looking for other stories that are associated with royalty -
objects or memorabilia.
If you've got something
you'd like to share with us,
then do contact us
either in writing at...
..or by email at...
But tonight we've come over all Christmassy on the Roadshow,
and I think some of you at home may be about to groan
when you realise what you've thrown away or reduced in value,
because our antiques expert and Roadshow regular Judith Miller
is about to reveal the most expensive childhood toys.
For example, look at this extraordinary find -
an incredibly early doll once cherished by someone
nearly 300 years ago, shown at our Swindon show earlier this year.
She is a seriously
early English doll and, as such, she's quite a major discovery.
You can imagine on the Roadshow, dolls are coming in here
in vast numbers, and here we have possibly the most exciting doll
that's ever come onto the Roadshow.
-A real, real significant find - I mean, you know...
I find this deeply moving, that something so inherently fragile,
almost ephemeral, has survived for nearly 300 years like this.
There have been a number of dolls of this importance on the market
in the last few years both in London and in...one in fact, in Las Vegas.
And based on the price of those dolls, I have a fairly accurate idea
of what I think she would make in a saleroom.
And that figure is...
Judith, it was amazing to see that doll, wasn't it,?
that had survived, what, 300 years or so?
And so rare, I mean, only the very richest families could afford
a doll like that, but of course as we move through time,
into the late 19th century, when toys became mass-produced,
and some of them would be very cheap at the time,
they were called "penny toys" for that very reason.
Some of them now, particularly if they're in good condition, will be worth quite a bit more money.
-Well, I have to say that these are sought-after today.
They jolly well are and I think that what you've got here,
I mean, some are worth a hundred or so...
..and some are worth considerably more.
-No! No, you're... No, really?
-No, see, I knew you were telling me fibs.
-I mean, looking at things,
-they won't be worth...
..and they're in rubbish condition.
Yes, they are!
What you've got here is going to be worth
getting on for £2,000.
Oh, give me a seat!
Condition's always so important, isn't it?
And what about cuddly toys, which we see so much of now
in our Christmas sacks and Christmas stockings.
When did they first start to become popular?
Well, of course the great name, isn't it, is Steiff?
We see a lot of Steiff bears on the Roadshow,
and they were started to be produced about 1900,
just into the 1900s and of course they were also produced
by American manufacturers at the same time.
That's really where we get the whole name "Teddy Bear"
because the great story of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt going out on a hunting trip
and he, you know, wouldn't shoot this bear and so there was a cartoon done
and it was called "Teddy's Bear" and of course the manufacturers thought,
"Here's a good idea, we'll make a small cute bear,"
and Steiff at the same time were making their bears
and they just absolutely took off.
And remember, those really rare Steiff skittles
'that we saw here at Hever Castle?'
So whose were they?
They were my father's, and he was born in 1906 and they were his toys.
So he was born in 1906 and so we assume that he was given these
-when he was five or so.
That's 1911, and they would have been new for him then.
I would imagine so, yes.
Was the family well-to-do, or what was their...?
Just ordinary family.
'And these were so early and rare,
'and I think the lady said that they didn't really have'
much money in the family, well, they must have had,
because those were expensive toys then,
and of course very expensive now.
Your father, born in 1906, this is about when he was five,
-so they've only had one careful owner, or two now, with you.
And do you have the balls to go with this?
-No, sadly I haven't.
-Did you have them when you were a child?
-I don't think it's going to make a huge difference actually.
They were really expensive in their day, these sorts of things.
-And they're still very expensive.
Somewhere around £8,000 and £10,000.
No! Really? Really?
Even without the balls?
Even without the balls.
One of my favourite Christmas presents
that came along on the Roadshow was...
Do you remember that toy model village that had been given to the lady's father?
And she herself had never opened it. It hadn't been opened in something like 100 years.
It was a fabulous gift and an amazing story.
As you can see, it was a present for my father, but I found it just a few weeks ago
on the top of a wardrobe in our family home,
and it was wrapped up in brown paper
and I didn't know what on earth it was, opened it up,
and thought it looked as if it had never been played with.
We were a naughty, because we just had to put the thing...
Get it out the box,
put it all together
and just let her see
what it really looked like.
Yeah, so what do you think?
I think it's beautiful.
Yes, very nice indeed.
Yeah, this really looks as if it hasn't been played with, doesn't it?
Well, spectacular condition, and valuation...
I think this would easily sell
to a collector for
Some of the stories about the Christmas presents we see are very moving, aren't they?
Like the Mickey and Minnie dolls that were given to that little boy
who died of influenza
and afterwards his parents wrapped the dolls in his pillow case.
Very, very sad, it really was, and, of course,
the thing again about Minnie Mouse, is that she's such a rarity.
Mickey is much more... We see Mickey far, far more often than we see Minnie
and the condition, because obviously this poor little boy was ill, so once again
the condition was spectacular.
But this one, in this condition, and it's Minnie, which is rarer
than Mickey - I would not hesitate putting £3,000 to £4,000 on her.
Wow, well, she's quite pricey, isn't she?
-I just think she's heaven.
Of all the toys that we've seen at the Roadshow this year, say,
Judith, which one would you have most liked to receive?
Got to be Mr Turnip Head, the Pelham puppet.
Anyone who was a child in the '50s will have had a Pelham puppet
and I was given one called Gretel
and I don't know where Gretel is now,
but even if I had Gretel, she would be worth a maximum
of maybe £40 to £50 because she was very, very common,
whereas Mr Turnip Head was so rare, and I loved the little granddaughter.
Would you like to know how much he's worth?
-Because he's very old.
-He's very old.
Yes, and as old as Granny and I.
So, that's not very old.
Before we let that one slip, but, um...
would it surprise you,
if I told you that he would probably sell for about
NO! Goodness gracious.
Well, I must say, I've never seen another one, ever, ever.
Well, he's more special than I ever thought he would be.
It's a rather tragic note, though,
Fiona, when your child opens the present on Christmas Day,
you've got to say to them, "OK, keep it in tremendous condition.
"Don't play with it much, and keep that box."
Seems a bit mean, but thank you, Judith.
And while we're looking back on our year,
let's spare a moment for some of the more curious items
to come our way like this oddity, sprung upon Penny Brittain.
-Is that worth £100
and made in Austria?
What on earth is that?
-I'll whisper in your ear.
-(It's a mummified dog's willy.)
A mummified dog's willy.
And I'm holding it.
'Sorry about that, Penny, but we just couldn't resist it.
'I've also had my fair share of bizarre finds.'
I mean, what level of fame
do you have to have reached where your rejected loo roll
becomes something that is sold at an auction?
-I mean, my goodness!
-Obviously The Beatles, yeah.
-And you've got this letter here.
"Most of things went very smoothly with The Beatles at Abbey Road
"but not this roll of toilet paper
"which they complained was too hard and shiny." They also thought it disgraced...
Well, these two books were given to my husband
when he was nine years old and he was at prep school in Farnham in Surrey.
He was told that they would be his summertime reading, age nine.
They were chucked into his cupboard
and totally forgotten about, and 25 years go by
and I get married to this nine-year-old,
and look what I found inside.
-Better take them out and see what's in there.
'And what about those pillars at the British Museum
'that the owner paid £50 for?
'He'd been told they were part of Nelson's famous ship HMS Victory.'
This sort of story is crucially dependant upon provenance and evidence.
Do you have the paperwork?
-First valuation is £50, becomes £500 on the basis of that story.
If you can get paperwork
from the Victory, from maritime historians, saying, "Yes, we can guarantee
"these were in the ship and came out in 1930," you have then got something hugely valuable.
I would say ten times that, £5,000-£10,000 per pillar.
But, sadly, tests proved they are not from the Victory
but they are of the same age and Portsmouth Harbour are now keen to try and work out
which 18th-century ship they might be from.
And Paul also found another curious item -
this ordinary table had possibly the biggest story to tell.
Once owned by clean up TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse,
it was brought in by her son Richard to Layer Marney Tower in Essex.
This is the table upon which she prepared her campaign.
Yes. The table would be covered in papers. I didn't understand what any of them were.
They were strewn all over the table, she'd always be on the telephone
and she was brilliant at manipulating the press,
and getting stuff into the press that she wanted to talk about.
-She was great at her own PR, wasn't she?
What was she like as a mother?
What was she like to live with?
We certainly felt side-lined and secondary to the campaign.
-So it's rather unfortunate that she started the campaign
when we were young teens.
-It was a crucial time for you.
-Yes, you know,
no sex and violence when that's the only thing we were really interested in.
-Yeah, you wanted to go and see The Clockwork Orange.
But I think the greatest witness to history we've seen this year
must have been this beer jug,
discovered by John Foster at Lulworth Castle in Dorset.
At school, the one person we all learned about was Oliver Cromwell.
You ask anyone, that's who they learned about.
It's unusual and unbelievably exciting
to have Cromwell's name round the top of this jug.
The great thing about this is obviously Cromwell,
one of the most controversial political and military figures in English history,
I mean, really defeated the Royalists during the Civil War,
turning England to a republican state for a short time.
I mean, it's got everything you need.
And as a jug or a jack, I mean, it's an exciting thing.
And really would have a good value.
I mean £3,000-£5,000 something like that.
But with this connection,
with Cromwell, I would have thought comfortably £20,000 to £30,000.
-Good beer, mate.
-Shall have to fill that up with beer.
Well, I mean, it's the most exciting thing I've seen in years.
And we hear that Cromwell's beer jug will be heading
to a big auction house for sale next year.
Watch this space.
We started our look back on the year with that exciting discovery
after Geoffrey Munn appealed for a long-lost brooch
designed by William Burges.
His dream came true, it turned up
and made a hefty windfall of £36,500 for its owner, Jill.
Now Geoffrey I understand you have issued an even bigger challenge
for something even more exciting.
It certainly would be extraordinarily exciting
because this is the only piece of precious metal work
designed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
really the foremost character in British art in the late 19th century.
It was made as a memorial to his blighted love affair with Elizabeth Siddal.
He drove her mad with anxiety and through his infidelities
-and his neglect.
-She was his great muse, wasn't she?
and he drew her and painted her a thousand times
and she's part of our inner psyche now,
we see her in the Tate Gallery,
we see her reproduced in every catalogue,
she has a very fragile beauty, striking red hair,
but it wasn't enough for him and he was straying elsewhere
and she became very, very anxious and resorted to laudanum to numb her senses
and it ended her life.
After that had happened, his grief was followed by crushing remorse
and he looked for a way to commemorate her,
and this took the form of a gold watch for his own pocket,
decorated with all kinds of allegory and symbolism
relating to their tragic love affair.
-Does anything remain of this watch?
-Yes, there is, we know an enormous amount about it.
We have the original design by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
which you see here -
pen and ink and it's annotated in pencil
with strict instructions to the craftsmen how to make it.
-Oh, so this is his handwriting?
-Yes, indeed, so every time
Rossetti opened this watch from his pocket,
he would see himself next to tears being perpetually circled
by the spectral image of Elizabeth Siddal.
And this was made, what, in gold?
In gold, decorated with black enamel
and we have a photograph of it taken in 1927
and so in a sense we know absolutely everything about it,
and nothing at all - it's a great enigma.
And you've been looking for this for how long?
Well, it's 33 years. In a sense I know everything about the watch, you'd say,
"Well, why do you want to find it?
"You have the original design by Rossetti,
"you have a photograph of it - you even know who made it
"and that it was finished in 1862 so what's new?"
But one could hold it in one's hand and one would know
that this was the thing that Rossetti had treasured
and what a massive emblematic function it had
within his own existence.
How much do you think it might be worth?
Well, it's an extraordinarily difficult object to value
and I'd be very hesitant about it.
-So let's start at £40,000 and go up.
-It could be more.
You don't ask for much, do you, Geoffrey? My goodness.
Search your house, look under the sofa,
see if you can find this long-lost watch, and if you do,
contact us, or better still bring it along to one of the Roadshows.
We're just planning our next set of visits around the UK
for next year and we'd love to see you at one of them.
That's just about it for this Christmas Special,
our thanks to our hosts here at Hever Castle,
and look - they've even laid on some instant snow for us.
From all the Roadshow team, a very merry Christmas,
and we'll see you next year.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Fiona Bruce is in a festive mood as she opens this seasonal selection box from the Roadshow team.
The most talked-about finds of the year are updated as Fiona reveals what happened after the cameras stopped rolling. Stories featured include the remarkable discovery by a viewer of a lost brooch by Victorian designer William Burges after she saw an appeal on the show. Following the exciting valuation, the piece went on to sell for three times the anticipated figure at auction.
Plus Fiona reveals the history of gifting at Christmas, and looks at the most valuable antique toys eagerly sought by collectors.