• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Britain's biggest ever valuations on Antiques Roadshow

Mar 19, 2023

The Antiques Road Show-offs! Britain’s biggest ever valuations on classic TV show… and what happened to those owners who insisted ‘I’ll NEVER sell’?

  • Items collecting dust in people’s attics have been valued at more than £1million
  • But while some went for their asking price, others did not receive a single bid  
  • MailOnline looks back at some of the biggest valuations on Antiques Road Show

It is a tried and tested format, the antiques expert takes the guest on a long journey, delving into the intricate history of the object on the table before them.

The owner of said object nods and smiles patiently, Fiona Bruce looks on, intrigued… while road show viewers at home are screaming ‘tell us what it’s worth!’.

For some lucky owners, the wait is worth it, the hefty price tag means they will be taking considerably more caution on their way home, and promptly calling their insurance firm when they get there.

But for poor old Doris and her cracked Toby Jug, it was at least a nice day out.

Over its 44 years on the BBC, the Antiques Road Show has featured many a masterpiece. So, MailOnline has had a look back at some of the biggest valuations and found out what really happened to the owners who insisted they would ‘never sell’.

Banksy’s ‘Mobile Lovers’  

Valuation: £403,000 

Sold: £403,000 

Banksy’s ‘Mobile Lovers’ appeared on the wall of the street artist’s former youth club – Broad Plain Boys Club in April 2014. 

The artwork depicted a couple hugging while both staring at their phones, a statement on modern-day life. 

A few months later the 120-year old Bristol youth club found it was struggling financially, and so brought ‘Mobile Lovers’ to the Antiques Roadshow to prevent closing.   

The experts valued the work at £403,000 in August 2014, with the money saving Broad Plain Boys Club. 

Banksy’s ‘Mobile Lovers’ saved a struggling boys club in Bristol after it appeared on their wall in 2014

The club was struggling financially and so Dennis Stinchcombe (left) took it on Antiques Roadshow where it was valued and eventually sold for £403,000

A philanthropist bought the Banksy mural for its asking price – £403,000. 

In recognition of the financial boost they received thanks to Banksy, members of the Boys’ Club partnered with the Young Bristol Creative Team to make a ‘Thanks Banksy’ mural. 

Dennis Stinchcombe, who has been the club leader for 47-and-a-half-years, told MailOnline this week: ‘Banksy was a member of the club when he was a young boy of 14 or 15 you see. I believe he saw our appeal for money to save the club and wanted to give back. I wouldn’t ever reveal what his name is and who he is, but he went to the club and grew up around here.

‘When there was a lot of publicity for it, there was a man outside who told me to take the painting off the door so it didn’t get damaged – to this day I believe that was him as well.

‘We still have about £20,000 left of the Banksy money in our account, so it’s still keeping us going. It’s not just the money that helps us, having his name behind us helps us enormously to keep us going.’

Mr Stinchcombe’s wife Edna, 66, who also runs the club, added: ‘We’re very grateful [to Banksy]. He’s become a major part of our lives and just having his name behind us has given opportunities to thousands of children in Bristol. It’s amazing.

‘I must say if he ever wants to help again, it would be nice if he could do it on my house next time so we could have a nice retirement!’

Dennis Stinchcombe (pictured), who has been the club leader for 47-and-a-half-years, believes Banksy wanted to give back to his former club

Broad Plain Boys Club still have about £20,000 left of the Banksy money which is keeping them going

Van Dyck painting

Valuation: £400,000 

Sold: Originally failed to sell

Every Antiques Roadshow fan dreams about stumbling across a valuable painting in a shop and selling it for an enormous profit. 

But for Father Jamie MacLeod this dream became a reality when he bagged an Anthony van Dyck painting from an antique shop in Cheshire for £400 in 1992. 

The painting hung collecting dust in the hallway of a retreat he was running for the clergy in Derbyshire – at one stage falling off its hook and crashing down onto a CD player. 

But the work of art received its shining moment on Antiques Roadshow in 2014, when experts valued it at £400,000. 

An Anthony van Dyck painting appeared on Antiques Roadshow in 2014 and was valued at a whopping £400,000, after hanging in the hallway of a retreat run by its owner, who bought the painting for £400 in 1992

However, despite this valuation, tragedy befell the forgotten piece when it went under the hammer at Christie’s Auction house in July 2014. 

It failed to sell after not receiving a single bid, even though the owners planned to use the cash to restore the Whaley Hall church bells in Derbyshire.

 Speaking to MailOnline, Antiques Roadshow said: ‘The picture was eventually sold to a private collector for an undisclosed sum.

‘It’s now on loan to the Rubens House Museum in Belgium.’ 

However, tragedy befell the painting when it went under the hammer in 2014 and failed to sell after not receiving a single bid 

Fabergé flower 

Valuation: £1million  

Sold: Owners ‘refused to sell’  

One of the highest valued items on Antiques Roadshow featured in 2017, when two soldiers brought in an item that had belonged to the British army regiment – a Fabergé flower. 

The floral ornament had been treated as ‘part of the furniture’ by its owners and collected dust over the years. 

Expert Geoffrey Munn said the flower was ‘a sensation beyond our wildest dreams’ on the show, describing it as ‘a towering masterpiece’ which he valued at £1million. 

A Fabergé flower which had been collecting dust in its owner’s home was given a shocking £1million valuation on Antiques Roadshow in 2017. However, the owners refused to sell despite the unbelievable value 

But upon hearing its value the guest replied: ‘It’s not for sale. It certainly isn’t for sale.’ 

The flower was crafted out of gold, jade, diamonds and silver and stood in a carved rock crystal base. 

Speaking to MailOnline, BBC presenter Mr Munn said: ‘The flower is the mascot for The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars and is very unlikely to be sold.’ 

The guest who brought in the flower said: ‘It was formed in 1794 to protect the shores against a Napoleonic invasion. 

‘It was agreed that the regiment should serve only within the United Kingdom. However, in 1899 when the Boer War was going badly, it was decided that some of [the regiment] as volunteers would be mobilised.

‘When they left the shores, the Countess of Dudley, whose husband, the Earl of Dudley was a member of the regiment, he was second in command, she presented each and every soldier that went out with a sprig of pear blossom, worked in silk that they were to wear in their hat.

‘As a reminder of the county that they had left, ie, the pear blossom emblem of Worcestershire.’ 

He added: ‘It’s rock crystal, it’s icy cold even on this hot day, and it’s immensely difficult to carve.’ 

The squadron, known as B (Staffs, Warwick and Worcs Yeo) Sqn The Royal Yeomanry, confirmed to MailOnline that the Faberge will never be sold.

George Harrison’s guitar 

Valuation: £300,000 – £400,000 

Sold: £190,000 

A rare guitar used by Beatles stars George Harrison and John Lennon was valued at between £300,000 and £400,000 when it featured on Antiques Roadshow in 2020. 

Experts believe it may have been used to record at least two tracks on the White Album, released in 1968. 

However, despite its staggering valuation, the guitar was sold for a significantly smaller sum of £190,000 in 2020. 

Auction house Bonhams described it as an ‘iconic guitar from a remarkable man’ during bidding in London, according to the BBC.

The owner, Ray, said he was given the instrument (pictured on the Antiques Roadshow) because he could play it better than George Harrison

Session musician Ray Russell was given the guitar, made by Bartell of Californian, in 1984 by George Harrison, Bonhams claimed. 

During that time Mr Russell was working on music for a movie called Water, by Harrison’s production company Handmade Films. 

He told Antiques Roadshow that Harrison asked him to have a go and then said: ‘It’s doing better for you, why don’t you have it.’ 

Antiques Roadshow expert John Baddeley, who valued the guitar at up to £400,000, said: ‘I think in 25 years it’s by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever seen.’  

Richard Dadd painting – ‘The Desert’ 

Valuation: £100,000 

Sold: £100,000

Got an attic full of junk that needs clearing out? For one couple this led to them cashing in a staggering £100,000 when they went on Antiques Roadshow in 1986. 

The couple had unknowingly been storing a long-lost painting by Richard Dadd – a famous artist known for creating supernatural pictures, many of which he completed from psychiatric hospitals. 

Appearing on Antiques Roadshow in 1986, the painting, called ‘The Desert’, was valued at an eye-watering £100,000 – smashing the show’s records at the time. 

Luckily for the owners, the painting later sold to the British Museum for that very price. 

A long-lost Richard Dadd painting called ‘The Desert’ had been collecting dust in a couple’s attic for years, before they took it on Antiques Roadshow where it was valued at a staggering £100,000, breaking the show’s records at the time

Tudor sleeve 

Valuation: £100,000 

Sold: Unknown

In October last year, one guest was lost for words after an old Tudor sleeve she owned was given a staggering £100,000 valuation on Antiques Roadshow. 

Expert Hilary Kay, who put the huge value on the sleeve, said: ‘The sleeve I have to say, I’ve never seen another. 

‘I mean it is such an exciting moment to be faced with something from the 16th century, which is in such incredible condition.’

In October last year, one guest was lost for words after an old Tudor sleeve she owned was given a staggering £100,000 valuation on Antiques Roadshow

Expert Hilary Kay, who put the huge value on the sleeve, said: ‘The sleeve I have to say, I’ve never seen another’ 

The item was an ivory silk satin sleeve and support, which Ms Kay explained would have fitted inside a sleeve to give it volume.  

‘It is a fantastic, incredibly important historical collection. And what’s it worth?,’ said the expert. 

‘I think it was in a box,’ the guest said, adding: ‘I have no idea. I didn’t even know anything about this at the beginning so I don’t think I want to know.’

‘Well, tough,’ the Ms Kay replied. ‘I think we’re talking about a minimum of £100,000.’ 

FA Cup trophy  

Valuation: More than £1million 

Sold: Not been sold 

One entry to break the £1million barrier on Antiques Roadshow was a retired silver FA cup in 2015. 

Owned by local residents, the cup went against the conventional mould of antiques and caused some controversy on the show.  

The third FA cup trophy, the cup served its time between 1911 and 1991, and claimed the title for the longest serving cup. 

Silver expert Alstair Dickenson, who valued the trophy, told MailOnline: ‘It’s definitely not been sold. It was in terrible condition as well – so badly treated over the years. 

‘The FA cup that I looked at is the most famous one and is at the collection of the FA. 

‘There was another one sold which was the predecessor of the one I looked at. I think that made close to a million. 

Let down: BBC One viewers were left feeling ‘cheated’ last night after the most valuable item in the 38-year history of the Antiques Roadshow – worth more than £1million – turned out to be the FA Cup (pictured)

‘That’s the one no one knows about. I feel fully justified that the one everyone sees and remembers is worth that much.

‘if it had been sold it would have been big news.’

On the show, Mr Dickenson said the cup had ‘got to be worth well over £1million – the highest value he had given in his 20 years with the programme.  

Mr Dickenson believed the trophy had been initially designed for use as a champagne or wine cooler due to its multiple engravings an of grapes and vines. 

The Football Association confirmed to MailOnline that the unsold FA Cup trophy remains in their possession.

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