Written by IainB
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Sunday, 18 January 2009

image for Antiques Roadshow unusual items
Valuation: £4.50

The popular BBC antiques programme, Antiques Roadshow, has revealed some of the more unusual items brought in for valuation.

"Our most valuable item was a maquette of the Angel of the North," said host Fiona Bruce. "That was valued at a million. But we've had some really strange items that have baffled the experts."

One such item was a large wooden carving made to look like the tree it had come from. Tim Wonnacott had been responsible for working out it's value.

"It was a strange thing, all right," he said. "About two feet tall, and intricately carved. It's the sort of thing that you cannot really put a price on, because nothing like it had ever appeared at auction, to the best of my knowledge. In the end, we decided it was African, and worth about five pounds. The man was very disappointed."

One of the more common items to appear are cutlery sets, but a set brought into the show in 1986 blew the mind of evaluator Alistair Dickinson.

"It was made of human bone," he said. "And not just any bone, it was the bone of the grandfather of the man who brought it in. Apparently his last will and testament indicated that he should be made into cutlery. I don't think they'd ever used it to eat with though."

One Roadshow had to be evacuated when it transpired that somebody had brought in a World War Two unexploded bomb. Although it was worth thirty thousand when it arrived, after the bomb squad had turned it into shrapnel, it was worth about eighty pence.

Michael Aspell, the former host of the show recalls his most bizarre item. "It was a large copper box that the bloke thought was a family heirloom, because it had been in the loft for twenty years," he said. "Bunny [Campione] asked if the man had insurance for it." Aspell laughed at the memory. "When he said no, and asked if he should get some, Bunny replied he certainly should, because it was the bloke's cold water tank!"

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