Antiques Roadshow guest lost for words as £10 bowl is worth tens of thousands

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An Antiques Roadshow guest was left in joyful tears after hearing the valuation of his £10 wooden bowl.

The man appeared in the new episode of the BBC show and brought three tribal art decorations to Ham House in Richmond-upon-Thames where expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan took a closer look.

Among the items, Ronnie said the heavy bowl, from the Admiralty Islands in Melanesia, is a "collector's dream".

"You'll find few of these around the world. Where I go to see the one I've always coveted is in the Courtauld, in Roger Fry's Collection, I used to go there and almost drool, looking at one of these.

"This bowl is amazing – amazing patina, amazing carving."

The guest told him: "I bought it in the 1970s and that cost me certainly under £10."

The black and brown coloured bowl features an animal form with four legs standing at the bottom.

Ronnie said: "It's obviously utilitarian because it's a bowl but its zoomorphic form suggests that it's ritualistic or for ceremony.

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  • "They're usually made from wood. This is certainly from 19th century, if not earlier. This could have been brought back by Captain Cook."

    He also took a look at the other two items – wooden clubs with long handle – and valued the pair to a price between £3,500 to £4,000.

    As for the bowl, Ronnie revealed: "This I would value at auction at £20,000 to £30,000.

    The guest was left visibly shaken and said: "Oh my God! You are joking! That's incredible. I'm shaking.

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    "Wow. You really have taken by breath away."

    The expert "I was blown away when you got this out, and I promise you, I have been back to the Courtauld dozens and dozens of times just to look at Roger Fry's example, which is not as fine as this."

    "I'm totally, totally lost for words, I really am," the man replied. "I thought it might be worth between, I don't know, £700 and £1,000 or something, but that is beyond my wildest dreams."

    • BBC
    • Antiques Roadshow

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