Antiques Roadshow guest floored over ‘illegally altered’ item’s true price

Antiques Roadshow brainbox Alastair Dickenson was on the hunt for even more valuables when he came across an unexpected item.

The expert who regularly features on the BBC programme was visiting Buckfast Abbey back in 2019, hoping to uncover hidden gems that would be worth thousands.

However, 70-year-old silver expert Alastair dropped an almighty bombshell on one man who hoped to walk away with more than he imagined.

The guest went along with a silver-gilt dish but was left in a state of shock when he was informed of the true history behind the piece of crockery.

Alastair proceeded to ask: "You've got here a pretty spectacular silver-gilt dish, where did you get it from?"

The unnamed guest said: "I brought it online, actually. I sort of dabble a little bit with silver and things and this was one of the things that came up and I've had it now for four to six months."

After further examinations, Dickenson says: "If we turn it over, it's got some marks here on the back which have all got crosses right through them.

"Do you know why they've got that?"

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The dish was marked with the letter F, which shows that an original would have been created in 1761.

Sadly for the chap, his dish was changed and made to replicate an original.

"It's gone to the London assay office and been put in front of the Antique Plate Committee, which is the adjudicating body that makes opinions officially on all things of a suspect nature.

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"And this was thought to be an illegal piece of silver, that's why it was sent," said Alastair.

He went on to say: "It was altered in the 19th Century from something much plainer into something different.

"It was probably something like a large meat dish or a salver that was converted into the sort of hubcap shape but deemed to be what's called an illegal alteration."

Alastair added: "So in order to make it legal, they cross out the marks, but they re-mark it," before revealing the piece had been altered in 2018.

The unnamed man paid £800 for the dish which was later valued between £700 and £1000.

However, the guest was left horrified when an authentic price was revealed.

"If this was genuine, we'd be looking at ten times that," exclaimed Alastair.

Stunned by the revelation, the hopeful asks if they could "scrub those marks", leaving Alastair to share some huge news.

"That would be another offence and a criminal offence, you can put fruit in it. You can have your cornflakes out of it.

"You could put it on the side of your car," he said.

Antiques Roadshow is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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