Antiques Roadshow expert places high value on ‘smuggled’ family heirlooms | Television & Radio | Showbiz and television
Antique silver trade specialist Ian Pickford has seen his fair share of unique items, but one guest’s Chinese silver dish came with a unique story. The owner of the silver dish explained how her ancestor ‘smuggled’ it out of China during Antiques Roadshow.
In a classic episode of Antiques Roadshow, expert Ian quickly identified which region and period the shiny silver dish came from.
Not fully aware of what was on her hands, the smiley owner was happy to recount the family history of how she came to have the inheritance.
To a non-expert, the dish may look like any other serving plate, but is actually worth more than four figures.
At first glance, Ian was quick to say, “It’s amazing what you can tell about families from the money they produce. My immediate takeaway with this dish is that someone one of your family was in the Far East.”
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The owner told the host and nearby antique enthusiasts the story of her grandfather, who lived in China.
“My grandfather lived in China when he was a little boy, and when the troubles started he had to be smuggled out with his family,” she said.
“So they had to dress him like a little Chinese boy.”
Sure it would have been around 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion, he was able to give context to his grandfather’s struggles.
As a ‘wonder dish’, he was told that Chinese silverware was highly collected in modern times and the piece would fetch between £1,000 and £1,500.
If she wanted to trace the design further, he offered three potential starting points where the article could have been created.
“The three most likely locations are Hong Kong, Shanghai or Guangzhou, these are China’s trading ports.”
“That’s where these Chinese goldsmiths made for the European market, which they exploited brilliantly.”