Fiona Bruce is joined by Michael Aspel, who shares his highlights from eight years on the show, and jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn takes us to a prime spot for buried treasure.
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With over 30 years of precious heirlooms to choose from,
we've a few old masters in the vault.
Time to dust down a few of them
as we open the archives for Priceless Antiques Roadshow.
We Brits love to explore,
and we don't like to return home empty-handed.
We often see souvenirs of the days when British travellers,
often aristocrats, toured the globe to amass remarkable treasures.
Coming up, we illustrate how that instinct is alive and well
on our team.
That's marvellous. That's a great treasure.
That's a pottery wig curler. Perhaps it was dropped
from the palace at some stage by some rather grand gentleman.
It's been lying there for 300 years.
Also, general expert Clive Stewart-Lockhart reveals
the one object he would have done anything to record.
It's probably one of the things on the Roadshow
that I'd love to have had, not just recorded. I wanted to take it home.
And Michael Aspel picks his personal favourites
from the Roadshow archives.
I was so lucky that in my very first show, an object came up
which meant something, personally, to me.
This is Kenwood House in North London,
handsome home to the first Earl of Ivy who, at the age of 25,
began collecting what was to become
one of the finest groups of 18th century paintings in England.
He bought this house just to accommodate it.
Collecting is a great British passion, and the Antiques Roadshow
has always been a magnet for collectaholics.
I think collecting is in the British genes, actually.
I think we're all guilty. I think we've all got it inside us.
We are all secret hoarders.
-I have to ask...
What's a nice boy like you doing collecting beads?
Here is a man who not only likes the test card, he adores them.
What started this unhealthy interest?
At the foundation of every wonderful collection
is a personal passion for the subject.
When I see collectors that are really living the dream
and, kind of, dressing like their heroes,
I think it's fantastic.
AS DONALD DUCK: Boy, oh boy, oh boy!
SHE IMITATES DONALD DUCK
Well, thank you. I can see you have a lot of fun in your household.
I think we do, yes.
Now, the guy who collected the Disney material
was pretty much your typical Disney collector.
So you're something of a Disney fan, I take it?
I think I'm a Disney fan, freak, you name it, yes.
I saw these in a shop in Bath, both together...
Had to have them.
The figurines for toothbrush holders are all original purchases
-by my family.
-Tell me about this.
I found this on Charing Cross Road, and there's the magic signature.
I'm afraid my wife is not called Eileen, but I think you'll have to...
She'll have to change her name! ..nickname herself Eileen.
I think so, "Also known as."
You can't believe this collector. He was completely passionate.
I went to see Fantasia for about, oh, it must have been
nearly the 30th time, and that gave me the cue to write to the Disneys
and say how much I'd loved the film, and they wrote back and said,
"Well, we feel that someone who's seen Fantasia for 30 times
"ought to have the original programme."
How did you get all these signatures of the animators and so on?
I went to Los Angeles and visited the Disney studios,
and I simply asked them,
"Please, could any animator or artist who worked on Fantasia sign?"
He could do the Donald Duck voice and the Mickey voice
and anything else in between.
-AS MICKEY MOUSE: Sure, that's swell!
-Thank you, Mickey!
I love talking to enthusiasts on the Roadshow,
and I love the challenge to try and interpret their passion
to a wider audience.
MUSIC: Theme from "The Addams Family"
My grandmother used to say,
"It's not the corf that carries you orf,
"it's the corfin they carry you orf in."
This is an extraordinary collection!
-It is a bit different, yes.
I have to ask, do you have a professional interest in this?
Yes. Yes, you could possibly say, yes.
-I am a funeral director, yes.
When I asked the owner whether he had some kind of business
connection with this, because he was dressed quite soberly,
I couldn't believe it when he said he was an undertaker.
It was just a gift.
Let's just talk about what they were for.
We've obviously got powder compacts here, this one and this one,
dating from the 1930s, probably,
and then something which I think is just great,
this one in the middle, here, that actually says, "Snuff it."
So, obviously, a snuff box.
It's a collection to die for!
HE LAUGHS FEEBLY
As long as you come to me!
Some collectors are truly devoted to their collections.
This owner drove all the way from the Netherlands
to get his cameras on camera.
There are many times on the Roadshow
where I'm confronted by a collection that stops me in my tracks.
This is one of them. I have never seen a collection of Nikons
like this in one place at one time.
I suspect I am very unlikely to ever see a collection like this again.
The gentleman who owned the collection, of course, he is
one of the leading authorities, by the nature of what he does.
To me, when I think of Nikon, I think of photo journalism.
And we've got the F series.
Well, the F has become a legend.
It came out in 1959
and has photographed every major incident around the world.
It was there when Kennedy was shot, when man walked on the moon.
It's quite interesting filming a piece like that, having to be intelligent about it,
knowing that you're talking to someone who is really very good at their subject.
Is this the whole collection, or...
-No, it's about 5% of what I've got.
5%? But, essentially, if I said
there's £150,000 worth on this table, I'd be being conservative?
Very, yeah. You'd get the half of it, probably.
We don't know everything about everything,
and when you see a collector,
they have spent their life - maybe 20, maybe 30 years - on one subject.
And what comes out of a conversation with a collector is the passion
and enthusiasm for that one subject.
So which of you two is the collector?
It's me. They're my cigarette cards, they're my guinea golds.
I've been collecting those since I was about 15 or so.
And I thought, "Gosh, you know, we see a lot of people on the Roadshow,
"am I gonna have time to look through all of these cards?"
But he'd made my life easy, because he had only collected one firm.
He'd only collected Ogden's cards.
Because the cards are so fascinating.
The subjects dealt with range from dogs, cars, footballers, cricketers,
war generals in the Boer War, actresses,
you name it, they had cameras, they took pictures of them.
Yes, we've been as far as Preston for one card.
Which one was that, is that here?
Oh, gosh, this one. That is quite a rarity, actually.
It is. It's a set of one to 1148, and that was the last card I needed
to complete the run through.
Gosh. And you found it.
-How did make you feel?
-It was wonderful.
-That was magic.
I love that! I love that precision about collecting.
So much so, that they were prepared to drive, you know,
the breadth of the British Isles.
It's fanatical, that's what you are.
It's... compulsive is probably not the right word.
It gives you an aim in life, it gives you something to do,
and it's exciting, sometimes.
That card alone, if you went to sell that at auction, would probably
reach about £1,000 to £1,200. So when one has to put a value
on your collection, my goodness -
I think you certainly would see it being valued at around £50,000.
When I said, "Crumbs!" in that programme, I meant it.
Because you don't think of your cards being of that value.
You just think of the individual cards that you look at, enjoy, touch,
sort out etc, and you don't think of the whole picture.
-Oh, that's brilliant.
-That's the new bank account!
God forbid, if we had a fire, the wife is under instructions -
we open the door, throw the cards out of the window and let the house burn.
Not surprisingly, many of our Roadshow experts
have themselves felt the collecting urge.
Well, do you know, I think I was born a collector.
I can trace my collecting back
to the age of four, when I acquired this jug.
I've been collecting ever since.
I collected stamps,
but my first real love was books, old books.
And I bought my first old book when I was 12.
And it was Aesop's Fables, 1708, and it cost me two old pence.
This is going way, way back.
As a child, I collected badges.
Not just one or two, I probably had about, oh...
200 or 300, maybe, badges.
I was really interested in badges.
So anywhere I went, I collected a badge, and I mounted them on boards.
And they were in my bedroom, and I had all these different badges.
I used to make labels for them
underneath to remind myself where I'd got these badges from.
And, gosh, d'you know, I've still got those badges now in the attic.
I must get them down.
That makes me feel a bit better about my childhood doll collection.
Rarities always send a tremor through the hall
at the Antiques Roadshow. The experts will huddle round an object
that they think is particularly special.
Generally, only one of them will get to record it and, of course,
the experts who aren't there on that day will miss out completely.
Clive Stewart-Lockhart from the Collectables team couldn't make it
to our filming at Skegness in 1996 so he saw a very unusual bottle
for the first time when he tuned in to watch the programme.
David Battie and Paul Atterbury were very reluctant to let this little object out of their hands.
Clive could only watch as he realised his dream object had got away.
The item I would love to have recorded - in fact, I'd have loved to have had as well,
not just recorded, it's one of the things I wanted to take home most -
was the William Burges piece which was recorded by
Paul Atterbury and David Battie in about 1996, I think it was.
We have here what looks like a piece of oriental porcelain
-with a Western Victorian mount. Am I right?
-I think so.
This lady had turned up at the show with this little object.
She had no idea what it was.
The Chinese pot is interesting.
It is simply a vehicle for decoration.
This is a piece by William Burges. Do you know who that is?
No, apart from his name...
-But that doesn't mean anything to you?
-Not a lot.
She had some clues but she knew nothing about Burges.
She knew nothing about who he was, where he came from. Anything.
-Where do we begin?
-We could be here for hours.
One of the most important Victorian designers...
..of architecture, of metalwork.
This Chinese pot which was an 18th century Chinese pot,
had been taken by Burges and then adapted.
We've got pearl, we've got moonstones.
Burges was an extraordinary man.
Everything he did was a, sort of, riot of decoration.
Burges's eccentric decorative ideas can be seen today
in his designs for Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch.
For a bottle like this, there is no precedent. He wasn't modelling it
on anything. He was using purely his inventiveness.
It's a fascinating object but Clive has a more personal reason
to covet the Burges bottle.
I was brought up abroad in Africa and Mauritius
and came back to England for the first time to live here in 1968.
We lived just around the corner from a house called Tower House.
Tower House was this extraordinary castle in Kensington, built by William Burges.
Every time I walked past the house,
almost every day, I would look longingly at this funny little castle
and wondering who lived there and what went on.
He built a house for himself in London -
Tower House in Melbury Road which itself is the house of dreams,
with astonishing painted interiors.
This particular piece, which he made for himself,
comes out of that house. Furthermore, there is
a set of photographs of his house taken in the 19th century
by Francis Bedford, the album is in the V&A in London.
This bottle is illustrated in that book.
Clive's teenage obsession with Tower House wasn't only about
its Victorian owner.
In fact, at the time, it was bought Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
So as a young man who was interested in Led Zeppelin,
that was interesting as well.
ROCK MUSIC PLAYS
So it had all sorts of resonance for me.
It was so weird for a boy who'd been brought up abroad
to see this funny little Victorian, Gothic castle.
'This was one of Burges's own treasures.
'This was something that was in the possession of the great man himself
'and it was in that house at one time.'
It was a very tangible piece of history - a marvellous thing.
We're getting to know our team of experts better in this programme.
Some of the most familiar faces have the most surprising passions and pastimes.
Take jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn.
His day job is overseeing an exquisite collection of priceless gems.
When he's off duty, he goes in search of more modest treasure
and he's ideally located to find it.
This is most important view to me. I'm completely passionate about it.
MUSIC: Vivaldi's Gloria
I walked in here and I thought, I have to live here.
It was a complete love affair.
It's incredibly urban.
It's very sort of boogie-woogie and New York with cars hurtling round
and yet, it's absolutely seething with history.
History does eat me up. It's a complete and utter passion.
It's a challenge to try to invoke the ghosts of the past,
to understand what it was like for our predecessors, their lives.
Here, I could hardly go outside the door without running into a ghost.
The River Thames has become a magnet for Geoffrey.
Here he can really explore his passion for the past.
I love the Thames. It's like a vein to the heart of London.
It was critically important in the past as a means of communication.
It was the road. And so people travelled in silent boats
in a rather silent world, a world without engines,
really only horses and crying merchants and sails and oars.
It would have been splendid.
It's not life on the water that brings Geoffrey to the river
but the mud at its edges.
I'm souvenir hunting.
Souvenirs from the past.
You won't find too many tourists down here but, for me,
it's a fantastic spread of archaeology.
It's called mud larking.
You do need a licence to do it. That's desperately important.
Once you've got all that together, there's nothing more interesting,
nothing more pulse making.
It's a muddy paradise, isn't it?
Very good to have varifocals.
You have to have pretty...oops!
..pretty sharp vision.
That's a great treasure.
That's a pottery wig curler.
It dates from the 18th century
and was used to curl formal horsehair wigs.
Perhaps it was dropped from the palace at some stage
by a grand gentleman, some sort of Gainsborough figure.
It's been lying there for 300 years.
Mud larking has very ancient roots.
It was a way in which people could come down on to the river to find
something of value and then sell it or use it to keep themselves alive.
People actually used to pick through the sewers, never mind the river,
for things of value. It's abject poverty at that time.
That is a horse's tooth.
It's obviously a sad place for horses but that's what it is.
It's a very historic place.
The Romans were here, the Vikings were here. The Tudors were here.
The tide gently washed the objects they'd thrown into the river backwards and forwards.
One day I'm going to find a Viking axe head, I know it.
I haven't yet and I want to very much.
Can you imagine a small boy, aged over 50, finding a Viking war axe?
That's the job. Put history back on these modest things and make
something more of these shards, these little links with the past.
I've found fantastic things - wonderful, wonderful things.
None of them are worth anything.
Each one has a very, very special story to tell. I'm very excited.
It's brought out the small boy in me. I think it's the wellingtons.
'A lot of people who see me on TV talking about jewellery
'think that's the pitch at which I'm interested in art. It certainly isn't, actually.
'I'm interested in the past no matter how it expresses itself.
'To me, the clay pipe is just as much a valid part of the past
'as a marvellous piece of court jewellery.'
These objects are silent witnesses.
They will tell you a lot. You have to encourage them with your knowledge -
it doesn't have to be enormous - but certainly your imagination.
It can be on a very intimate level.
I've really enjoyed myself no end.
I've got a little table of treasures here, each one reeking with history.
It's my job to find out a little more about them, really. I think I will.
There's plenty of evidence to work on and plenty of ghosts.
Since we filmed with Geoffrey, he reported his finds to the Museum of London, as all mudlarkers must.
They've identified this as a shard of Chinese porcelain,
painted three or four centuries ago in China.
This sailed the seven seas in a wooden cargo ship to London.
There it was almost certainly in use in the old Palace of Westminster.
When it got broken, it was ditched in the Thames as rubbish.
Every day, two tides have risen and fallen over it for centuries
and it remains perfectly clean and unspoiled by mud and water.
We love finding buried treasure on the Antiques Roadshow.
One man saw his fair share
during eight years at the helm of the programme.
Michael Aspel takes a look back at his favourite Roadshow moments.
It's hard to believe it's eight years exactly that I did on the Roadshow.
I look back to the very first one that I did and I can't remember
the terror I felt when I started.
As I've said many times, I didn't want to spoil a perfect programme.
Barnstaple is the oldest borough in England.
In Saxon Times, it was given the right to mint its own coins.
If only old age brought everyone that privilege.
I was so lucky that in my very first show, an object came up
which meant something personally to me.
I bought it off a chap that was dealing in bric-a-brac
in Newport Market in South Wales some 22 years ago.
What did you pay him?
What is it? £70, £80.
I think I gave him a tenner to get it fixed, which was a lot of money.
That's a lot of money. As a watch,
it's probably worth in fact more like a couple of thousand or so.
-But, this is a repair bill.
Made out to a TE Shaw of Clouds Hill, Morrison in Dorset.
-Do you know who he is?
No, I haven't got a clue.
It's Lawrence of Arabia.
The watch, the aviator's watch that had belonged to Lawrence of Arabia.
Simon Bull was the expert who revealed it to the stunned owner,
who must have said, good God 50 times during this.
-If I'm correct...
-..after the First World War...
..he was somewhat of a complex character and he rejoined, I think,
-didn't he rejoin the RAF under the name of Shaw?
-I think he was killed under that name on his motorcycle when dressed in his RAF kit.
To be perfectly honest with you,
I always thought he was a character of fiction, I did.
No, no. It's the T E Lawrence,
it was a marvellous film. And he wrote the book.
Not only was he a boyhood hero of mine, Lawrence not Simon Ball,
but it was the dates on these things.
It was the year I was born.
-So, a couple of grand, a couple of half grand just as a watch.
How much you could add for the Lawrence connection, I don't know.
He's one of the most fascinating characters of the early part of this century.
it's a guess. I'd double that.
-Maybe five, maybe ten.
I'd better get it insured then.
I took it as a great omen and so it was.
I was so excited when the Ian Fleming books came in.
I had read every one of them.
They were published when I was a young fella.
They were my meat. That's what I loved.
I remember discussing them heatedly with friends, as if they were deep literature.
It says "To Una, who worked like a slave, from Ian Fleming, 1957."
Now, who is Una?
Who worked like a slave for him.
I worked for him as a secretary.
But he also,
it was agreed that I could type his books and personal things as well.
So, you had to do that on top.
'To see the hands of the lady who actually physically created'
these books, it was just wonderful.
I wanted to go and embrace her and say, thanks for many happy hours.
I think people would have misunderstood that.
Here's another one on Dr No by Ian Fleming.
Again, "To Una, with apologies for her sudden death."
What is that all about?
Right at the beginning,
he did call the victim Mary Trueblood.
So it was named after me.
Right! To have a sudden death right at the beginning...
-Yes, she was shot at the beginning.
-At the beginning? Dear, oh dear.
Well, ten signed Ian Flemings, I reckon something like £6,000 a copy.
So many people at home watch every week and say, "I had one of those and I threw it away." Whatever.
I had all those Bond books - as brand new pristine things.
You could never have dreamt they were going to be treasures one day.
If only I'd known.
The Palace, Hampton Court.
The sheer scale and beauty of Powys Castle in mid-Wales
is quite operatic.
Welcome to a very special edition of the Antiques Roadshow Down Under.
People are always asking, "What's the best place you went to on the Roadshow?" It's impossible to say.
Every one had its own merits. I fell in love with several places.
The one that I remember most, I think, is Portmeirion.
It was just amazing.
I had my best night's sleep
on the whole of my time with the Roadshow at Portmeirion.
I fell into a deep, dreamless, refreshing, renewing sleep.
I remember it, not only for the look of the place - the magical look.
I remember opening the bedroom window and thinking, this is another world!
A window opened next to me and there was Lars Tharp saying, "Yoo-hoo!", which spoiled it a bit.
Prideaux Place, the house was lovely. The owner was charmingly eccentric.
Someone in his family had had a piece of music
that had been written by Ivor Novello.
This piece of music had never been played.
They brought a piano out of the house and put it on the lawns and this
piece of music was played for the first time ever on the Roadshow.
I thought it was enchanting.
At the end of a good day, it's that sense of achievement and sense of
pleasant tiredness and that if the sun is going down in the right way,
it's about as convivial and enjoyable as anything you can imagine.
Michael Aspel confirming that some Roadshow moments are truly unforgettable.
That's about it for this episode.
We'll be back with more revelations next time,
including the most ancient objects the Roadshow's ever seen.
This is a souvenir of a very, very remote past and very exciting.
We discover the real reason for Henry Sandon's lover affair
with Worcester pottery.
I was curator of Royal Worcester in the Perrins Museum for 17 years.
'I've loved the Worcester factory most of my life.'
We take a look at some of the spookiest items
that have ever appeared on the show.
It had this one, black, glass eye,
that, wherever you were filming it from,
you could feel this beady eye following you around.
As we trawled through three decades' worth of archives,
we spotted some rather striking style statements.
Visitors to the show and specialists alike
cut quite a dash over the years.
I'll leave you with a few unforgettable fashion moments.
# They seek him here
# They seek him there
# His clothes are loud
# But never square
# It will make or break him so he's got to buy the best
# Cos he's a dedicated follower of fashion
# He's a dedicated follower of fashion. #
Marvellous. Absolutely marvellous.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd - 2008
Email us at [email protected]
Fiona Bruce is joined by Michael Aspel, who shares his most memorable moments from eight years with the programme. Jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn takes us to a prime spot for digging up buried treasure, and we relive some of the bizarre style statements that the show has witnessed.