AN Antiques Roadshow guest was left stunned by the value of an ornament sealed in a mysterious box for 40 years.
Sunday's edition of the BBC show saw furniture expert Lennox Cato meet a lady with an ornate wooden box.
The huge octagonal box had beautiful blue lapis decoration and Lennox asked the guest if she had any more information on the model that was kept inside.
She replied: "It was made in 1888 by my great grandfather who lived in the shadow of St Paul's, which is where we think he got the inspiration for the work.
"It's been kept in that box that was locked for over 40 years. We knew it had something good in.
"We thought we'd best jimmy it open after all this time and this was what we found and it was well worth the jimmying with a screwdriver."
Lennox said of the oak and rosewood piece: "To me it's copying a piece of Grand Tour, something which they would have gone to Italy and seen, then sculpted."
The little windows between the columns were made of pitch pine and mother of pearl.
Lennox said: "It's very desirable outside of the family because people like to collect, I would call this a model."
He added: "I'm quite happy to put a value on this in a region of £5,000 to £6,000."
The guest was shocked, and turned to her sister saying: "Blimey. That was unexpected but it's not going anywhere, it will stay in the family, one way or another."
She added cheekily: "Technically it belongs to all six of us, so I'm one of six. But as they volunteered me to stand here, I think I should get preferential treatment, don't you?"
Lennox asked: "So now it's yours?"
The lady replied with a giggle: "I think so. Yes…she might not agree."
Antiques Roadshow airs Sundays on BBC One and is available on BBC iPlayer.
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