Antiques Roadshow: Couple are stunned the value of their Chinese vases
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BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow visited the Medieval market town of Tewksbury, in Gloucestershire, in one episode of the sought-after show. During the episode, antiques expert Fergus Gambon was left “almost speechless” when he was presented with a rare and exceptional 18th Century dolls house – with a price tag to match.
Expert Fergus, 57, saw the owners clutching a small cardboard box with three vintage dolls and a piece of doll furniture inside when they arrived on set.
To his surprise, he later learned the three dolls lived in an 18th Century house which was also hundreds of years old.
He said: “I thought to myself, if those dolls live in a house as old as them, [then] we are talking about something quite incredible.”
The owner of the dolls explained they date back to 1705, and have been his family from around that time.
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He went on to explain the dolls house was built in 1705 for a lady called Miss Westbrook, which was then passed down through the female line of his family.
“This then becomes a bit of a problem, as there is now no female line as I am one of three boys,” he told Fergus.
The dolls house itself is still at the owner’s house, so the Antiques Roadshow team couldn’t resist seeing it for themselves, and they travelled to inspect it in person.
When seeing the dolls house up close in the owner’s home, Fergus said: “I was looking at something which was unchanged for essentially 311 years – something which was made as a toy and preserved in your house, which is why it’s so moving.”
Fergus admitted when he saw the dolls house, he recognised it as someone he knew had been doing some restoration work on it.
“It was something that I lied in bed dreaming at night that one day I’d be able to see,” he said.
“[The three dolls] really confirm its importance.
“I think some of the contents came from 1705, while some of the contents came from the next generation.”
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The delicate dolls, which still have their original hair, paint, clothing and bodies, astounded Fergus.
He emotionally said: “I find this completely staggering and amazing as I have a passion for early dolls houses. I never ever thought I would see such a wonderful house.”
When it came to valuing this collection of “national importance” expert Fergus said it was an “impossible task” – but after thorough research he managed it.
He estimated the value of the house – along with its contents – is worth between £150,000 and £200,000.
The owner was “astonished” by Fergus’ staggering estimation which took him completely by surprise.
When Fergus told the owner the price does not matter, he responded by saying: “It does a bit.”
Fergus explained the collection is of “national importance” ahead of the owner’s decision with what to do with the heirloom. So will he keep it in the family or sell it on?
This episode of Antiques Roadshow can be watched on BBC iPlayer.
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