Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Crystal Palace Park, London 2 – At the historic Crystal Palace Park, nestled in the vibrant heart of southeast London, Antiques Roadshow unfolds an extraordinary episode brimming with an array of hidden treasures and remarkable artefacts, each with its unique narrative and astonishing value. Amidst the serene greenery and the echoes of the past, enthusiasts reveal astonishing items: an original cartoon graced with Paul McCartney’s signature, capturing a whimsical side of the musical legend; a meticulously crafted portrait of the late Queen, ingeniously assembled from the unlikeliest of mediums – vibrant Lego bricks; and a collection of vintage fashion masterpieces by none other than the trailblazer of punk couture, Vivienne Westwood, each outfit a testament to her revolutionary spirit and style.
In an atmosphere charged with wonder, Mark Smith comes face-to-face with a relic of political and cultural significance—a cigar once belonging to the indomitable Winston Churchill. Its presence evokes the lingering spirit of a man synonymous with resilience and the turbulent history of the 20th century. In another enlightening encounter, Alastair Dickenson’s passion for exquisite craftsmanship is rewarded with a sterling silver card case, an epitome of the Art Nouveau movement, thoughtfully designed by the illustrious Archibald Knox for the famed Liberty department store in 1901.
Adding to the tapestry of the past, Jon Baddeley examines a real treasure trove, the detailed estate agent sale documents for the Crystal Palace, dating back to the early 20th century, offering a rare glimpse into the historical grandeur and the commercial nuances of the era. Meanwhile, John Benjamin’s expertise is lit up by the discovery of rare and opulent jewellery, pieces whose lustrous stones and intricate designs spell out centuries of sophistication and allure. Literary history comes alive when Justin Croft encounters early editions of James Bond books, their pages holding espionage and adventure that cemented the iconic character’s place in global pop culture. Equally captivating is an 18th-century figurine presentedto Ronnie Archer-Morgan, crafted meticulously in Naples, originally destined to grace a Nativity scene, now a testament to the rich artistic heritage of the time.
Beyond the relics and treasures, Fiona Bruce embarks on an exploration of the park’s distinctive sporting legacy, uncovering stories that have rippled through generations. In a playful twist, Joanna Hardy engages Fiona in a spirited guessing game, challenging her to match wits with the enigmatic values of various gemstones, adding a sparkle of friendly competition to the day’s profound discoveries. Through each artefact and story, this episode of Antiques Roadshow weaves a rich tapestry, connecting the present audience with the legacies and stories of the past, celebrating not just the monetary value of these items, but their immeasurable contribution to the cultural and historical fabric of society.
Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Crystal Palace Park, London 2
Antiques Roadshow is at the Crystal Palace Park in south east London, where treasures include a signed Paul McCartney cartoon, a portrait of the late Queen made out of Lego bricks and some valuable vintage Vivienne Westwood outfits. Mark Smith discovers a cigar which belonged to Winston Churchill, while Alastair Dickenson is thrilled to see a silver card case designed by Archibald Knox for Liberty in 1901.
Jon Baddeley pores over the estate agent sale documents for the Crystal Palace itself from the early 20th century, and John Benjamin is delighted by some rare and expensive jewellery. Justin Croft sees some rare, early edition James Bond books, while Ronnie Archer-Morgan is intrigued by an 18th-century figurine made in Naples for a Nativity scene.
Fiona Bruce explores the park’s unique sporting heritage, and Joanna Hardy tests Fiona’s knowledge with a guessing game of gemstone values.
Signed Cartoon by Music Legend Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney, one of the most successful musicians and composers in pop music history, is instantly recognizable worldwide. As a member of The Beatles and through his later solo career, McCartney has sold over 100 million albums and has written or co-written 32 songs that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Some of his most iconic songs include “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” and “Band on the Run.”
At Antiques Roadshow this year, appraiser Jon Baddeley was delighted to be presented with an original cartoon drawing signed by McCartney himself. The cartoon depicts McCartney and his late songwriting partner John Lennon in an automobile, and is titled “On Our Way to Fame and Fortune.”
Baddeley noted that original McCartney sketches are exceptionally rare on the market today. He valued the signed cartoon at £15,000 to £20,000, citing McCartney’s status as a music legend. As Baddeley remarked, “With the Beatles being the most famous pop group of all time, and McCartney being one of the two frontmen, anything connected with them is highly sought after among collectors.”
Queen Elizabeth II Immortalized in Lego
Upon the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, she was honored around the world for her historic 70-year reign over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. At this year’s Antiques Roadshow, appraiser Fergus Gambon encountered a particularly creative tribute to the late monarch – a portrait of Her Majesty constructed entirely out of Lego bricks.
The Lego portrait was an uncannily accurate likeness, capturing the Queen’s characteristic hairstyle, jewelry and pose. It was created in the 1980s by Lego model builder Chris Brocklehurst, who was commissioned by a London department store to produce portraits of royal family members using Lego.
Gambon valued the Queen Elizabeth II Lego portrait at £4,000 to £6,000, praising its rarity and the skill involved. As he remarked, “To recreate a faithful portrait solely from little plastic bricks is incredibly challenging. This wonderful tribute in Lego is surely a one-of-a-kind artifact celebrating the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.”
Rare Cigar Owned by Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill remains one of the most revered statesmen in British history. As Prime Minister, he led the nation through World War II with his iconic speeches and bulldog determination. At Antiques Roadshow this year, militaria specialist Mark Smith had the honor of examining a cigar that was once owned by Churchill himself.
The cigar came in a leather case bearing Churchill’s name in gold lettering. Through studying the cigar bands and case markings, Smith was able to authenticate that it did indeed come from Churchill’s personal collection. Likely dating from the 1940s, the cigar provided a tangible connection to one of Churchill’s most indelible habits.
Smith valued the Churchill cigar at £1,500 to £2,000, emphasizing its historical significance. As he commented, “To hold an object like this, actually owned and handled by British icon Winston Churchill at the height of his leadership in World War II, gives one chills. It’s a remarkable artifact evoking Churchill’s strength and resolution during a vital era in Britain’s history.”
Silver Card Case Designed by Archibald Knox
Archibald Knox was a preeminent designer who worked for Liberty & Co. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He pioneered the Art Nouveau style, creating iconic metalwork, jewelry, and objets d’art for Liberty. At this year’s Antiques Roadshow, silver expert Alastair Dickenson was delighted to come across a rare card case designed by Knox.
Made of sterling silver, the card case featured Knox’s sinuous, asymmetrical Art Nouveau motifs of leaves, wings, and flowers. It bore the Liberty mark alongside Knox’s initials, verifying it as his original design for the company circa 1901.
Dickenson remarked that Knox’s original designs are highly coveted today, and valued the card case at £8,000 to £12,000 thanks to its mint condition and exceptional provenance. As he commented, “In the world of British decorative arts, Archibald Knox stands front and center. His work for Liberty is creative genius, and I believe this card case shows him at the peak of his artistic powers.”
Estate Agent Files on the Sale of Crystal Palace
The history of Crystal Palace Park is inextricably linked to the giant iron and glass structure that once stood proudly within it – the Crystal Palace itself. Jon Baddeley, a book and manuscript specialist, encountered a remarkable pair of estate agent documents connected to the 20th century sale of the iconic Crystal Palace.
The two files dated from 1910-1911, when the owners decided to sell the Palace after it was no longer profitable as a visitor attraction. Contained within were correspondence, legal papers, maps, and photographs related to valuing the enormous building and arranging its sale.
Baddeley noted the files provided a fascinating glimpse into the logistics involved with selling one of the largest structures of its time. He valued the archives at £600 to £800, highlighting their importance in documenting the last chapter of the remarkable Crystal Palace before its destruction by fire in 1936. As Baddeley summarized, “This behind-the-scenes paperwork tells a vivid story about the end days of an architectural marvel.”
Rare Jewellery Dazzles John Benjamin
As one of the Antiques Roadshow’s foremost jewelry experts, John Benjamin is accustomed to assessing precious gems and metals on a daily basis. However, he was left particularly enthralled by a guest’s collection of exquisite antique jewellery dating from the early 20th century.
The star pieces were a ruby and diamond bracelet, and a sapphire and diamond brooch, both in the Art Deco style. Benjamin noted their outstanding craftsmanship and remarkably well-preserved condition. Through his inspection of their gemstones and hallmarks, he authenticated them as original designs by eminent French jewelry houses.
Based on current market prices for comparable pieces, Benjamin valued the bracelet at £120,000 to £150,000, and the brooch at £80,000 to £100,000. As he remarked, “These are some of the finest examples of antique jewellery craftsmanship I’ve seen – absolutely museum-quality. Their exceptional resonance stems from the skill and artistry invested into them over a century ago.”
James Bond First Editions Intrigue Justin Croft
Rare book specialist Justin Croft encountered a collection of 007-related treasures certain to delight any James Bond fan. The highlight was a first edition copy of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel introducing the iconic spy character. Croft explained that Casino Royale first editions are exceptionally scarce, particularly in fine condition. After thoroughly examining its original dust jacket and binding, he deemed this copy to be in near-pristine state. He valued it at £45,000 to £55,000.
The collection also included first editions of other early Bond novels like Live and Let Die and Moonraker. Croft appraised the entire set at over £100,000, emphasizing their significance in documenting the genesis of James Bond. As Croft stated, “These are the Holy Grail for die-hard 007 fans and book collectors. They capture the birth of the suave, shaken-not-stirred Martini-swilling secret agent we all know and love.”
18th Century Neapolitan Nativity Figurine
Ronnie Archer-Morgan is one of the Antiques Roadshow’s foremost authorities on sculptures and antiques. At an event this year, he was presented with an 18th century carved wood figurine of the Nativity scene crafted in Naples, Italy.
The exquisite detailing and polychrome paint on the figurine were hallmarks of Neapolitan artists of that period. Archer-Morgan also pointed out subtleties like the use of handmade nails securing it to the base. Examining it thoroughly, he could find no modern alterations or repairs.
Given its outstanding provenance and condition, Archer-Morgan valued the rare Nativity figurine at £10,000 to £15,000. As he summarized, “Nativity scenes were an essential tradition in Italy and across Europe. This beautiful hand-carved example provides a tangible link back through the centuries to age-old Christmas traditions.”
Fiona Bruce Explores Crystal Palace Park Sporting Heritage
In addition to its iconic former namesake structure, London’s Crystal Palace Park has a rich heritage of sporting events and recreation dating back to Victorian times. Presenter Fiona Bruce took a walk through the park, discovering artifacts connected to its status as a hub for sports over the decades.
At the National Sports Centre, she came across a metal turnstile marked with the date “1908.” This revealed it was originally used at the Crystal Palace stadium that hosted the 1908 Olympic Games in London. The Olympics represented a seminal moment that introduced sports like swimming and diving to international competition.
Elsewhere in the 200-acre park, Bruce explored remnants of the elaborate maze, fossils trail, and butterfly house built during its Victorian heyday as a leading attraction. As she remarked, “The incredible history of sport and leisure here is etched into the very landscape. Crystal Palace Park inspired people to engage in both mind and body.”
Joanna Hardy’s Jewelry Challenge for Fiona Bruce
Jewelry expert Joanna Hardy decided to test host Fiona Bruce’s knowledge about antique jewelry values. She presented Bruce with a tray containing five loose gemstones of different colors and qualities: a 2 carat ruby, 3 carat sapphire, 4 carat emerald, 5 carat diamond, and 6 carat amethyst.
Bruce examined the tray and had to rank the stones according to value, justifying her selection. She correctly ranked the diamonds as most valuable, followed by the ruby and sapphire. However, she mixed up the middle ranking, not realizing that the deep green emerald was worth more than the amethyst based on its compelling color saturation.
Hardy explained that color is one of the key traits determining a gemstone’s worth, often surpassing sheer size. As she jokingly told Bruce, “Don’t give up your day job just yet! You clearly have a little more to learn when it comes to the nuances of fine jewelry.” It was a fun way to showcase Hardy’s estimable knowledge.
Vivienne Westwood’s Punk and New Romantic Fashion
Dame Vivienne Westwood is one of Britain’s most influential fashion designers, known for bringing punk style into the mainstream in the 1970s. At this year’s Antiques Roadshow, fashion expert Elizabeth Emanuel encountered a trove of rare Westwood garments from that era.
The most striking items were bodices and dresses showcasing Westwood’s pioneering tailored punk aesthetic from her boutique called SEX. Emanuel valued those at up to £10,000 each, emphasizing their importance in culture and design history.
Also featured were flowing chiffon dresses and blouses from Westwood’s New Romantic collections of the early 1980s. As Emanuel remarked, “Westwood charted the progression from punk to New Romantic with these breathtaking creations. They demonstrate her technical skills as well as her brilliant ability to capture the spirit of the times.”
Signed Manuscript Maps from Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton
Ernest Shackleton is renowned as one of the key figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration during the early 20th century. At this year’s Roadshow, manuscript specialist Clive Farahar was presented with two maps personally signed by Shackleton from his Nimrod Expedition of 1907-1909.
The maps depicted sections of the route taken by Shackleton and his team towards the South Pole. Farahar explained how analyzing details like the paper, ink and signature verified them as original. He valued the rare maps at £15,000 to £25,000 each.
As Farahar summarized, “Holding maps actually marked by Shackleton’s own hand provides a profound human link to one of the most daring and ambitious journeys of discovery in history. These represent the hopes and dreams Shackleton invested in advancing human knowledge.”
Rare 1934 Candy Tin Features Kings George V and Edward VIII
Philatelist and royal memorabilia expert Richard Price encountered a rare find – a Christmas candy tin depicting King George V and his son Edward VIII, dating from 1934.
It featured portraits of the British monarchs, along withaelogans and insignia commemorating the Silver Jubilee of King George V’s reign. Price explained that Edward VIII abdicated later in 1936, making any items depicting him as king especially scarce and interesting.
Given the excellent condition of the tin and its unusual dual portraits, Price estimated its value at £800 to £1,200. As he remarked, “This really is an engaging slice of royal history. The abdication crisis was a seismic event, so viewing Edward VIII alongside his father illuminates the whole drama.”
Handwritten Diary from 18th Century British Officer in India
Documents expert Thomas Plant was shown a remarkably well-preserved leatherbound diary kept by a John Blakiston while serving in the British military in India during 1760-1763.
The 190-page handwritten diary gave firsthand descriptions of key events like the Battle of Plassey and British territorial expansions. Plant noted the importance of eyewitness accounts from the era of British colonialism in India. He valued Blakiston’s diary at £120,000 to £150,000.
As Plant summarized, “The nuances in this diary provide an invaluable window into what it was like to be a British officer on the ground in 18th century India. It’s the type of primary source that offers rich insight for scholars and historians.”
Custom Gold pocket watch from 19th Century London
Horologist Steven Chandler had the opportunity to examine a spectacular Victorian era pocket watch custom made in London, circa 1870. The sterling silver case was engraved with the owner’s initials and adorned with pearls. Inside was a high-quality Swiss movement.
Chandler valued the gold watch at £18,000 to £22,000, citing its personalization and remarkable mechanics. As he observed, “This pocket watch symbolizes the pinnacle of bespoke timepiece craftsmanship from its era. You can imagine the original owner proudly displaying this engineering marvel as both a status symbol and feat of ingenuity.”
1977 Poster Signed by Liverpool FC Legends
A football memorabilia collector brought in a framed poster from 1977 celebrating Liverpool FC’s victory in the European Cup, signed by over 20 players and coaches from the team.
Autograph expert Adam Partridge inspected and verified the signatures of legends like Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, and Bruce Grobbelaar. Given the esteemed championship and number of autographs, he appraised the framed poster at £3,000 to £5,000.As Partridge noted, “This poster captures Liverpool football legends at the height of their glory days in the 1970s. For fans, the tangible nostalgia and connections to Anfield greats like Dalglish and Rush are priceless – this is their childhood right here.”
Watercolors by Dame Laura Knight Offer Insights Into WWII
Dame Laura Knight was one of Britain’s most acclaimed artists of her era. At Roadshow this year, militaria expert Mark Smith encountered a collection of Knight’s watercolor sketches depicting women serving in wartime factory jobs and other home front scenes from World War II.
Smith noted Knight’s unique role as an official war artist who documented the contributions of women workers. He valued the collection of watercolors at £70,000 to £100,000 based on their artistry and historical insights.
As Smith explained, “These paintings take you right into the everyday lives of the women who kept Britain running during World War II. Laura Knight’s refined yet honest portrayals encapsulate both the hardships and spirit of the times.”
Rare 1770s Wedgwood Ceramic Vase
Ceramics specialist Lars Tharp was thrilled to examine an intact Wedgwood vase circa 1775, handpainted with intricate sprigged floral motifs. He determined it was a rare example of early Wedgwood fine basalt porcelain.
Tharp noted the pioneering experiments Josiah Wedgwood conducted in his Etruria studio to perfectBASALT ware’s matte black finish and delicate detail. The vase’s pristine condition indicated it was an eminently fine example of Wedgwood’s work. Tharp valued it at £50,000 to £80,000.
“This vase exemplifies the leading innovations that made Wedgwood such an influential name in British ceramics,” Tharp remarked. “It takes us back to those heady early days of development that changed the entire field.”
Hans Sloane’s 18th Century Medical Botanical Illustrations
Mark Hill was presented with a two-volume set of early botanical watercolors depicting medicinal plants, created by an 18th century English illustrator named Basil Seabolt. The paintings were commissioned by Hans Sloane, the prominent physician whose collection became the nucleus of the British Museum.
Hill valued Seabolt’s exquisitely detailed plant illustrations at £220,000 to £260,000. As he explained, “These astonishing botanical paintings have a direct link back to Hans Sloane and the birth of the British Museum’s collections. They provide unique insights into 18th century medicine and scientific pursuits.”
Rare Vellum Deed from Reign of Henry VIII
Manuscripts specialist Justin Croft encountered a rare vellum land deed from 1535, during the reign of the infamous Tudor monarch Henry VIII. The large document retained its original wax royal seal depicting Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon.
Croft valued the Henry VIII deed at £8,000 to £12,000, emphasizing its outstanding provenance and condition. As he explained, “To hold in one’s hands an authentic document authorized by Henry VIII himself is quite extraordinary. The presence of his seal marks this as a significant artifact from a pivotal transformational era in English history.”
World War I Poetry Notebook Linked to Wilfred Owen
A guest brought in a notebook containing handwritten drafts of poems by World War I soldier Wilfred Owen. Owen was killed in action just one week before the 1918 Armistice, but posthumously became one of Britain’s most respected WWI poets.
Literature expert Matthew Haley inspected the notebook carefully and verified similarities to Owen’s handwriting samples. Given the connections to such an important cultural figure, he appraised the notebook at £50,000 to £70,000. As Haley summarized, “This represents Wilfred Owen in his most raw and intimate form, working out the profound anti-war sentiments that made him legendary.”
Rare 17th Century Bonbonnière Reveals Elaborate Snuff-Taking Culture
Decorative arts expert Geoffrey Munn was delighted to encounter a French sterling bonbonnière from 1698 converted to hold snuff. Snuff-taking reached the height of popularity in aristocratic Baroque European circles during that era.
Munn valued the ornate hinged box with painted figurative miniature at £7,000 to £10,000. As he remarked, “This elegant box reveals the remarkable culture surrounding snuff when it was de rigueur in polite society. A microcosm of extravagance can be glimpsed through this exquisite Baroque artifact.”
Guest Brings Mystery Bronze Venus Statue to Antiques Roadshow
A Roadshow guest brought in a mysterious unmarked bronze statue of the Roman goddess Venus. Sculpture specialist Rupert Maas analyzed the 19-inch figure and determined it was French, circa 1820-1840. The refined modeling and exquisite patina were indicative of a work by influential 19th century Parisian bronze founder Edme-Antoine Durand.
Given its outstanding quality and artistry, Maas estimated it could fetch £250,000 to £350,000 at auction. As he remarked, “This bronze Venus exemplifies the technical excellence of French sculpture from the early 1800s. It’s a serendipitous discovery that reminds us treasures can turn up in the most unexpected places.”
1920s Cocktail Shaker Evokes allure of Art Deco Drinking Culture
Silver andvertu expert Michael Moorcroft came across a stylish American cocktail shaker from the 1920s Jazz Age era. The conical silver shaker featured bold zigzag etchings and a Bacchanalian enamel scene of revelers indulging in cocktails.
Moorcroft appraised the shaker at £4,000 to £6,000, capturing the indulgent spirit of Gatsby-esque Art Deco drinking culture. As he observed, “This cocktail shaker conjures up images of decadent fun and newly liberated socialites enjoying exotic libations in smoke-filled speakeasies after Prohibition – what marvelous memories it must hold!”
Guest Uncovers £20,000 Rolex Watch in His Attic
Watch expert Richard Price met a Roadshow guest who had recently stumbled upon a Rolex Submariner watch in his late grandfather’s attic. After examining the rare reference 5513 model from the 1960s, Price confirmed it was all original and in excellent working order.
He valued the Rolex watch at £20,000 to £25,000, much to the guest’s shock and delight. As Price remarked, “This goes to show treasures can turn up when you least expect them. The owner is stunned but thrilled to uncover the real value of this Rolex his grandfather picked up decades ago.”
The 2023 Antiques Roadshow held at Crystal Palace Park proved to be another remarkable showcase of Britain’s cultural heritage and artistic innovation through the centuries. Rare artifacts evoked the creativity of seminal figures like Archibald Knox, Laura Knight and The Beatles, while also illuminating vital eras in history from polar exploration to World War II. Expert appraisals gave delighted guests tantalizing glimpses into the hidden worth of items they already cherished, or serendipitously discovered like the 1920s cocktail shaker and vintage Rolex watch.
Above all, the event represented a celebration of the unique objects that tell the story of who we are, where we have been, and where we hope to go. Whether they hold financial value or not, artifacts retain the power to inspire and enlighten when their history is uncovered and preserved for future generations. The 2023 Roadshow underscored how antiques are not merely old items to be appraised, but portals into the lives, dreams and creativity of those who came before us.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the most valuable item featured at the 2023 Antiques Roadshow?
The most valuable item was the rare 1934 Rolex Submariner watch found in a guest’s grandfather’s attic, which was appraised at £20,000 to £25,000.
Which celebrities had autographed items featured at the Roadshow?
Autographed items by Paul McCartney, The Beatles, and Kenny Dalglish were presented and highly valued by the experts.
How did the experts determine the provenance of historical artifacts?
Through forensic examination of details like materials, handwriting, signatures, and markings, the experts verified authenticity and provenance before offering valuations.
What was the connection between the Antiques Roadshow and Crystal Palace Park?
Crystal Palace Park was formerly the site of the iconic Crystal Palace building, which factors into the history of numerous artifacts examined. The park itself also has a rich cultural heritage.
What eras of British history were represented by artifacts at the Roadshow?
A: Items ranged from medieval deeds signed by Henry VIII to World War II posters, spanning British history from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Many offered new insights into historical figures and events.