BBC Antiques Roadshow guest floored by expert verdict on family book

A BBC Antiques Roadshow guest was beaming – after an expert revealed the staggering truth about a book handed down by his family. Justin Croft led the inheritance rule.

The guest said the book, which was published in 1900 in Shanghai, was written by a family member. She explained, “He was my great-uncle, who went to China when he was quite young, and I think he spent most of his life in China as a missionary.”

Justin said: “My great-uncle would have gone from Scotland to China as a young man. Presumably in 1900 he became sufficiently fluent in Mandarin, which is a very difficult language to learn and write a dictionary and a conversation guide.”

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“It’s the most extraordinary photograph – it’s the same man,” he added. “It’s so interesting because one of their policies was that all missionaries adopt local customs and live as much as possible like locals.”

The guest told Justin, “It is. Although I don’t speak a word of Mandarin.” Justin explained: “It has commercial value. It’s quite a rare book. I’ve never seen one before.

“If it were to go on sale I think it would probably cost between £600 and £800 with the photographs.” She replied, “It’s more than I thought, actually.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

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