Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Roundhay Park, Leeds 1 – At the picturesque Roundhay Park in Leeds, the esteemed Antiques Roadshow unfolds, where an array of astonishing finds are brought into the limelight. Among the highlights, a rare Rolex ‘double red’ Sea-Dweller watch emerges, exuding timeless elegance and intricate craftsmanship. A forgotten gold handbag, left in the quiet confines of a safety deposit box by an anonymous benefactor, unfurls its mysterious allure, complemented by an album showcasing rare and captivating photos from a historic Antarctic expedition.
Mark Hill, with a keen eye for beauty, admires a collection of art deco Goldscheider masks. These unique pieces strikingly divide opinion, their distinctive designs sparking diverse reactions among the audience and experts alike. Wayne Colquhoun’s excitement is palpable as he marvels at the expertly carved wooden Mouseman tableware by the esteemed maker Robert Thompson. The intricate woodwork stands as a testament to timeless artistry and finesse.
Amid the antique wonders, Marc Allum’s enthusiasm is piqued by a dust-covered album of rare and valuable Antarctic expedition photos, offering a frozen glimpse into the past. Their unexpected discovery in a Leeds library adds layers of intrigue to their already fascinating history. Meanwhile, Susan Rumfitt embarks on an enthralling exploration into the tale of the mysteriously bequeathed gold handbag. The narrative weaves a compelling story, as it had been silently left to a Yorkshire family by a shadowy and unknown benefactor.
In the realm of military artifacts, Bill Harriman, a militaria expert, stands in awe of a Second World War spy radio transmitter. Its intricate details whisper stories of espionage, of it being silently dropped behind enemy lines, ready to be employed by stealthy undercover agents during the turbulent times of the war.
In a delightful contrast, the team’s curiosity is piqued by a selection of modern treasures. A vibrant array of colourful Carlton Ware moneyboxes offer a cheerful diversion, while Mark Hill cannot resist the nostalgic allure of engaging in a retro game of Space Invaders on an authentic tabletop gaming system. The exciting array of finds at Roundhay Park ensures an episode brimming with history, mystery, and a celebration of artistic and technological mastery.
Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Roundhay Park, Leeds 1 –
A Spectacular Array of Finds Unveiled at Swanage Pier
The Mysterious Allure of a Rare Rolex Sea-Dweller Emerges
Among the most captivating discoveries unveiled at the Antiques Roadshow this year is a rare Rolex Sea-Dweller wristwatch, dating back to the 1960s. This particular model, distinguished by its ‘double red’ Sea-Dweller label, commands immense value among collectors today. First introduced in 1967, the watch was engineered for extreme water resistance, and intended for use by professional deep-sea divers.
The Sea-Dweller made its debut in the same era as the iconic Rolex Submariner diving watch. However, several key features set it apart from its sibling model. Its Oyster case was engineered to withstand pressures of up to 610 meters (2000 feet), making it significantly more water resistant than the Submariner. The watch also sported a helium escape valve to cope with helium pressure buildup during prolonged saturation diving.
Rolex produced the Sea-Dweller from 1967 until 2008, across several iterations. The earlier ‘Double Red’ models, showcasing the Sea-Dweller label in red on the first two lines, are among the rarest and most coveted by collectors today. Only a handful were manufactured in the first few years of production, making this Roadshow an exceptionally scarce specimen.
Discussing its appeal, Marc Allum notes that the watch exhibits all the key traits of an important early Double Red Sea Dweller. Its dial configuration and hands are consistent with production from circa 1967 to 1969. Allum estimates its value could be upwards of £100,000, describing it as the “holy grail” for serious Rolex collectors.
Intrigue Abounds Around an Unexpected Gold Handbag Discovery
A mystifying gold handbag unveiled at the Roadshow captures the imagination of many. The item’s surprising provenance sparks much intrigue – it was anonymously gifted several decades ago to a family from Yorkshire.
Handbag specialist, Susan Rumfitt marvels at the bag’s excellent condition and distinctive curved handle design, suggesting it dates to the late 1940s or early 50s. Sleuthing its origins, she deduces it is likely a rare example of a bag produced by the esteemed French atelier Moynat, during their postwar revival.
Moynat was renowned as a prestige trunk and leather goods maker that once counted Hermès among its competitors. However, the atelier shuttered during WWII, before experiencing a revival under new creative director Jean-René Guerrand. He ushered in Moynat’s second golden era, characterized by his innovative curved handle bag design. This distinctive handle shape can be seen on the Roadshow find, adding credence to the Moynat attribution.
Delving deeper into its history, the bag’s anonymity adds to its intrigue. Susan relays that it was unassumingly posted to a Yorkshire family along with a letter indicating it should be gifted to the lady of the house. With no return address or signature, the sender’s identity remains an utter mystery.
Given its scarcity and the shroud of secrecy surrounding its origins, Susan values the bag up to £15,000 – a magnificent appraisal for an unexpected find! The bag’s fascinating history, paired with its excellent condition, imbues it with a compelling charm. For the family that has quietly held it for decades, their patience is certainly rewarded this day!
Photographs Offer a Frozen Moment in Antarctic Exploration History
Another unexpected Roadshow discovery – a photo album brimming with remarkable expedition images from Antarctica’s ‘Heroic Age’ – offers a poignant glimpse into the past. The leather-bound album was donated anonymously to a Leeds library, with minimal clues about its history. However, the images it holds are invaluable in their depiction of early Antarctic exploration during the early 20th century.
Marc Allum, captivated by this find, explains the significance of this era. Spanning 1895 to 1917, the Heroic Age denoted a time of pioneering expeditions to Antarctica, characterized by perseverance and courage amid immense challenges. These explorers ventured into the utterly unknown and unpredictable, with their exploits becoming the stuff of legends.
Studying the album images provides tantalizing clues. Allum positively identifies photos from Ernest Shackleton’s famed Nimrod expedition of 1907-1909, including rare pictures of the pioneering march south toward the magnetic pole. Additional images depict the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1913, led by Robert Falcon Scott. This includes poignant photos of the team at crucial junctures – on Ross Island before their fateful polar journey, and at their Cape Evans base camp.
These photographs offer an evocative window into the era, showcasing Antarctica’s harsh environment alongside the unwavering camaraderie and spirit of adventure. Given their historical significance, Allum estimates the anonymous album could be valued up to £5,000 at auction. For polar history aficionados, it represents a remarkable chance to own images of immense rarity and importance.
Espionage and Intrigue – The Tale of a Wartime Spy Radio
An inconspicuous-looking radio transmitter sparks intrigue at the Antiques Roadshow, as militaria expert Bill Harriman identifies it as a vital tool for covert operations during WWII. This compact radio set was one of the earliest spy radios employed by British secret agents working undercover in occupied Europe.
Harriman explains that radio was a crucial technology for communication and coordination between Allied command centres and agents in the field. Transmitters like the Roadshow example were parachute-dropped at scheduled times and locations, allowing agents to send intelligence back to England. A wireless operator would encode messages via Morse code, to be picked up and decrypted by Allied listening posts.
This radio’s markings date its production to 1941 when spy radios were meticulously designed for easy assembly and portability. Compact enough to fit in a small suitcase, it was ideal for concealment and mobility. Harriman notes telltale signs of use like the side handle enabling the operator to extend the antenna wire quickly. Overall, its functionality and condition are impressive for a device of this age.
With great enthusiasm, Harriman values this rare survivor at £8,000 to £10,000. For history buffs, it represents a chance to own a critical piece of technology used in covert wartime communications. The radio’s serviced role conveys the perils and critical work performed by agents behind enemy lines during WWII.
Expert Craftsmanship Resplendent in Mouseman Tableware
A collection of antique wooden tableware catches the eye of furniture specialist Marc Allum, who recognizes the hallmark carved mouse signifying these pieces as the work of renowned artisan Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson. Active in the early 20th century, Thompson became famous for ornately carved oak furniture often bearing his signature mouse motif.
As Wayne Colquhoun inspects these dishes and utensils, he notes exceptional signs of craftsmanship and condition. Made between the 1920s and ‘30s, the pieces exhibit exquisite skill – the delicately carved mice are barely visible to the untrained eye. Colquhoun explains that Thompson personally approved each piece before allowing it to bear his Mouseman mark. The mark validates it as an authentic creation handcrafted by Thompson himself in his Yorkshire workshop.
Such personalization was unusual for the time, as most workshop pieces remained anonymous. But Thompson insisted his name be entwined with his creations. Today, the Mouseman stamp is synonymous with exceptional carpentry and commands significant auction value. Based on their pristine state and distinctive carving, Colquhoun estimates the tableware collection could fetch up to £4,000. For collectors, it represents the chance to own a slice of British craft history.
A Dazzling Selection of Vintage Ceramics
The Roadshow welcomes Andy McConnell, a ceramics specialist, to appraise a striking selection of vintage pottery assembled by a local Dorset collector. Ranging from the bold to the whimsical, this eclectic mix perfectly encapsulates the myriad creations of Britain’s 20th-century pottery industry.
Among the highlights are a pair of large elephant-shaped moneyboxes produced by Carlton Ware, a pottery company known for its creative and colourful wares. Dating to the 1920s, these glazed and hand-painted banks are prime examples of the playful artistry Carlton became renowned for. McConnell notes their excellent condition, explaining that children’s moneyboxes often exhibit substantial wear. Thanks to being especially treasured and safeguarded, this beautiful pair could fetch up to £300 at auction.
Equally eye-catching is an oversized Toby Jug crafted by Royal Doulton in the 1930s. Standing over 20 inches tall, the exaggerated caricature design provides an impish twist on a traditional English tavern image. McConnell values this rare, large-scale piece at approximately £600.
While appraising, McConnell weaves in entertaining insights on the potters, styles, and techniques behind this diverse ceramic display. Taken as a whole, the collection exemplifies the best of Britain’s innovative art pottery scene through the decades.
Mechanical Amusements: A Retro Arcade Game Treasure
A rare vintage arcade game unit on display captivates gaming enthusiast Wayne Colquhoun, who recognizes it as an iconic cocktail table version of the 1978 classic Space Invaders. This slimmed-down, standup format was designed for bars and cocktail lounges, allowing two players to engage in an intergalactic battle.
Colquhoun recounts the phenomenal popularity of Space Invaders upon its release by Japanese company Taito. Alongside Pac-Man, it catalyzed the video arcade craze worldwide. Its simple graphics belie the addictive, strategic gameplay that shops, restaurants, and bars sought to harness to attract customers.
Assessing its condition, Colquhoun notes the unit has all original components, from the eye-catching artwork down to the CRT monitor and circuit boards. He finds evidence of light restoration, but given its outstanding original state, he believes it can fetch up to £4000 at auction. A sizable sum, but understandable for a prime example of this iconic, nostalgia-inducing game. For collectors, it represents a wonderful chance to own a still-functional symbol of the dawn of the video arcade era.
Key Discoveries Spotlight Artistry, Innovation, and Historical Significance
The inaugural Antiques Roadshow of 2023 at the picturesque Swanage Pier proves to be an exhilarating exhibition of collectable finds. Ranging from the mystifying to the amusing, the featured pieces spotlight both exceptional artistry and technological innovation through the decades.
Several big-ticket items stand out this year, including the rare Rolex Sea-Dweller watch and the mystery-shrouded Moynat gold handbag left anonymously to its delighted new owners. Unexpected finds like the Antarctic expedition photo album and the WWII spy radio transmitter provide tantalizing glimpses into the past and the daring exploits they represent.
Meanwhile, craftsman Robert Thompson’s ornate Mouseman tableware and the giant Royal Doulton Toby jug exemplify British ceramic artistry at its finest. For playful contrasts, the Carlton Ware moneyboxes and Space Invaders arcade game interject colourful charm. Ultimately, the Roadshow offers not just appraisals, but stories – reminding us that behind every object, human experiences are waiting to be unveiled. The array of artefacts curated this year serves as intriguing time capsules, each with its own tales to tell.
Key Appraisal Insights from Antiques Roadshow Specialists
Marc Allum – The Allure of Precious Timepieces
As an authority on jewellery and watches, Marc Allum provides fascinating insights into some of the rarest timepieces unveiled this year. Discussing the highlight Sea-Dweller, he notes that vintage Rolex sports models have seen an explosion in popularity and value recently. However, the Double Red Sea-Dweller remains in a league of its own in terms of rarity.
Allum points out that only around 500 Double Red Sea-Dwellers were produced, making them extraordinarily scarce. The model’s record-breaking water resistance capabilities also make it historically important as an engineering milestone. For these reasons, Allum believes values will continue appreciated as collectors avidly seek out surviving examples in good condition.
Beyond monetary worth, Allum notes that vintage watches like this Rolex resonate with an enduring emotional appeal. They embody ingenuity and aesthetics from a pivotal era in watchmaking – when brands were at the peak of innovation and style. This imbues them with a charisma that fuels passionate collecting worldwide. For Allum, that passion is easy to understand. A watch like the Sea-Dweller represents both engineering genius and a work of art.
Susan Rumfitt – Revelations on Vintage Handbag Design
Susan Rumfitt provides invaluable fashion history context while assessing the gold handbag mysteriously gifted to its new owners. She explains that handbags by elite French ateliers like Moynat are serious collector’s items today. But this was not always the case.
Pre-WWII, these makers catered to a small clientele of wealthy women. But post-war, as fashions evolved, the brands struggled to stay relevant. Moynat was forced to shutter in the 1940s, only to be revived later under Guerrand’s creative direction. However, even his innovative designs could not sustain the atelier for long in the rapidly changing postwar world.
These realities make the Roadshow handbag a particularly rare survivor. Rumfitt believes it represents the fluidity of style in that era. Founded in the 19th century, Moynat embodied classicism, while Guerrand ushered in a mid-century aesthetic. This bag, very likely one of Guerrand’s creations, bridges past and future beautifully. For Rumfitt, it is a true testament to enduring quality and design.
Bill Harriman – The Ingenuity of Espionage
Assessing the spy radio transmitter, militaria expert Bill Harriman contextualizes its critical role in WWII intelligence operations. He explains that radio was revolutionary for wartime communication needs. Early sets like this one were transported in suitcases and designed for quick assembly in the field – imperative for evading enemy detection.
Harriman details how the radio was powered by batteries and set to specific frequencies to link agents with Allied receiving stations. Operators had to master Morse code to share intelligence covertly. It required immense skill and composure to assemble, operate, and disguise such a radio, while under scrutiny in enemy territory.
While WWII had unprecedented mechanized warfare, Harriman believes equipment like this transmitter represents the equally pivotal human element. This technology depended wholly on the gutsy resolve of spies and Special Operations Executive teams parachuting behind lines to put them into action under immense threat. As an authentic 1940s set, it stands as a testament to the engineering and valour that enabled such covert communications.
Wayne Colquhoun – The Appeal of Handcraftsmanship
Furniture specialist Wayne Colquhoun provides an illuminating perspective on why the Robert Thompson Mouseman pieces stand out as special examples of 20th-century craft. He believes Thompson exemplified the dedication to quality that defined the era’s best artisans. Thompson insisted on selecting his timber and personally approving each finished piece – extreme measures in an era of growing mass production.
By imprinting his signature ‘Mouse’ motif, Thompson fused his identity with his creations, counter to most workshop models churned out anonymously. He also interjected playfulness by hiding the mouse among the wood grain rather than prominently displaying it. For Colquhoun, this subtle touch is indicative of Thompson’s charm and humility.
Colquhoun suggests that today, the Mouseman trademark resonates on multiple levels. It signifies superlative carpentry skills, using traditional tools and techniques. But it also represents a bygone era of studio craftsmanship, before industrialization overwhelmed more personal production methods. Pieces bearing Thompson’s mark have become coveted not just as antiques but as symbols of that cultural heritage.
Andy McConnell – The Joyful Creativity of Art Pottery
Reviewing the displayed ceramics, Andy McConnell provides an enlightening historical perspective on British Art Pottery – a movement seeing small studios reject mass production in favour of creative designs and techniques. It emerged partly as a reaction against poor quality, urbanization, and mechanization.
McConnell explains that Art Pottery was highly diverse and often quirky. Many studios like Carlton Ware were experimenting with vivid glazes, hand-painting, and whimsical modelling in contrast to technological uniformity. The playful moneyboxes and large Toby jug lovingly curated by the Roadshow guest epitomize this trend.
McConnell believes this era represents a vital transitional period before studio craft was fully displaced by industry. The whimsy and individualistic spirit of that time resulted in wonderfully unique ceramics like those on display. While financially valuable, McConnell suggests their greatest worth lies in the Joyful creativity they represent from a pivotal chapter of British design history.
Spotlight on Standout Appraisal Moments
Rare Rolex Drives Record Appraisal
One of this year’s most gasp-inducing moments comes when Marc Allum estimates that the vintage Double Red Sea-Dweller Rolex could hammer up to £100,000 at auction. Considering the watch owner paid £100 for it years ago, Allum’s blockbuster valuation triggers stunned reactions all around.
Inspecting the pristine watch, Allum points out all the telltale signs that make it an exceptional survivor from Rolex’s first Sea-Dweller runs. Aside from its rarity as an early model, its condition is phenomenal, lacking any abrasions to its bezel or stretch marks on its bracelet. Allum believes serious Rolex collectors would bid feverishly for the privilege of owning this milestone timepiece.
When the numb-struck owner explains he purchased the watch secondhand on a whim decades ago, the story becomes all the more astonishing. The Roadshow once again brings a humbling reminder that treasures often lie where least expected.
Mystery Handbag’s Origins Captivate Crowd
Equally spellbinding is Susan Rumfitt’s step-by-step deduction of the gold handbag’s origins and approximate date of production. As she analyzes the hardware, handle shape, fittings and silk lining, her initial hunch solidifies – that this is a significant early example of a Moynat handbag, made under the helm of Jean-René Guerrand after WWII.
Rumfitt admits that without signatures, most bag makers are challenging to identify. But as she outlines telltale details pointing to Moynat, the audience listens raptly to her fashion detective story. When she ultimately provides a potential auction estimate of up to £15,000, the crowd reacts with awed gasps and enthusiastic cheers for the stunned owners.
Antarctic Album Sparks Imaging of Explorers’ Perseverance
Another standout moment comes as Marc Allum pours through a donated album of remarkable expedition photos from Antarctica’s Heroic Age. Allum’s visible excitement in handling the album is infectious. As he studies the images, naming them according to the expedition and noting visible crewmembers, the audience is transported back in time.
Allum’s vivid descriptions of the photographers and explorers manning cumbersome equipment in brutally harsh conditions are humbling. Discussing the images, he strikingly contrasts Antarctica’s remote beauty with the sheer ambition and hardship of those determined to document it over a century ago.
When Allum declares the anonymous album potentially worth thousands, it carries a deeper meaning. More than monetary value, the images represent indelible perseverance and camaraderie among explorers intent on expanding human understanding.
Game Unit Nostalgia Proves Timeless
While handling the original Space Invaders arcade game, Wayne Colquhoun recounts its impressive impact on pop culture following its release in 1978. His memories of crowds huddling around arcade machines transport many back to an iconic era in gaming.
Colquhoun notes that Space Invaders was the first game to move beyond simple amusements, offering engrossing gameplay and difficulty progression. When it arrives at the Roadshow in fantastically preserved condition, he articulates why such rarities hold enduring appeal. They exemplify how culture, business, and technology intersected to propel gaming into a revolutionary new interactive age.
As Colquhoun fires up a demo round, the unit’s iconic graphics and sounds electrify the crowd. His visible nostalgia reminds us that games possess a unique power to traverse generations and provide a joyous escape in any era.
Key Takeaways and Implications
This special seaside edition of the Antiques Roadshow offers an eclectic look at how diverse objects encapsulate slices of our cultural past. Several key takeaways arise:
Form and function can fuse beautifully. As demonstrated by the Sea-Dweller watch, an object can simultaneously represent a technical feat and a stylistic triumph. When utilitarian innovations also provide joy or inspiration, their appeal becomes universal and timeless.
Provenance has power. As seen with the handbag and photo album, an object’s origins, purpose, and journey often outweigh monetary worth in enriching its narrative. Knowing an item’s unique background infuses it with a magical aura.
Artistry transcends time. Exceptional craftsmanship still elicits awe centuries later, as evidenced by the Mouseman tableware. Such artefacts remind us of what humans can create at the peak of skill and passion.
Ingenious ideas catalyze change. As the spy radio’s role in WWII shows, innovations don’t just influence business, but history and culture. They occasionally revolutionize human capability and interaction, as video games later achieved.
Beauty comes in many forms. Whether assessing the elegant watch or the whimsical moneybox, the Roadshow experts appreciate nuances and details. Their discernment provides a lesson in perceiving beauty even in the humble or peculiar.
The 2023 Roadshow demonstrates why we find magic in personal treasures: They freeze remarkable memories, skills, and stories in time. They provoke our imagination and provide tangible links to people, places, events, and ideas that shape our cultural landscape. As the experts uncover here, even everyday objects can have astonishing tales to tell.
Conclusion: Enduring Fascination with Objects that Transcend Time
The Antiques Roadshow’s continued popularity worldwide speaks to the enduring allure of artefacts that connect us to the past. As this special seaside edition reveals, objects that survived eras of tremendous creativity, ambition, and change hold particular power. They allow us tantalizing glimpses into pivotal cultural moments and the people who shaped them.
The most captivating Roadshow discoveries are those that transcend monetary estimates to convey their intangible magic. Whether delighting crowds with their beauty, rarity, or hidden histories, these finds deliver joy and perspective by providing tangible ties to other times. They serve as time machines that reignite our imaginations.
The show offers the invaluable chance to have items appraised by experts whose insight reveals what makes these objects special. Beyond appraisals, their wisdom helps unwrap the human experiences encoded within antique items. This transforms them from dust-covered keepsakes into vivid windows to the ingenuity and artistry that defined their era.
Above all, the Roadshow reveals why we cherish possessions that embody memories, skills, innovations, and discoveries long gone but still meaningful. They ignite our natural curiosity about the past while reminding us how human creativity and aspiration remain constant across the centuries. Just as empires rise and fall, some creations still dazzle, amuse, and inspire, carrying their magic forward through decades and generations.
The show’s continued success worldwide is a testament to the universal appeal of uncovering treasures’ true worth, which lies in the stories they hold. As the Roadshow’s return to Swanage Pier memorably showcases, artefacts from ordinary attics and thrift shops can reconnect us to extraordinary people, places, events, and ideas that shaped history and culture. They represent portals to the past that ignite our emotions and imagination time and again.
Frequently Asked Questions – Antiques Roadshow 2023 – Roundhay Park, Leeds 1
What makes the Rolex Sea-Dweller watch such a valuable find? The Rolex Sea-Dweller unveiled is an extraordinarily rare ‘Double Red’ vintage model from the 1960s. Only around 500 were produced initially, making it highly coveted among collectors. It also exhibits the traits of an early model in pristine condition, exponentially multiplying its worth.
Why does the gold handbag have such intrigue surrounding it?
The handbag was anonymously gifted decades ago to its current owners, creating a mystery around its origins. Expert analysis suggests it was made by elite French atelier Moynat under its postwar creative director. This attribution and the secrecy around its gifting add to its fascination.
What made the Antarctic expedition photos so remarkable?
The album contains rare images from Antarctica’s ‘Heroic Age’ early 20th-century expeditions. Photos depict Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod voyage and Robert Scott’s fated Terra Nova trip. These images offer an invaluable visual record of remarkable journeys in perilous conditions.
What made the spy radio technologically revolutionary?
The radio enabled covert communication between Allied spies and command centres during WWII. Compact and portable, it allowed intelligence sharing from behind enemy lines. This pioneering communications technology proved vital in operations.
Why is Robert Thompson’s Mouseman furniture so prized?
‘Mouseman’ Thompson hand-crafted oak furniture of exceptional quality in the early 1900s. His signature carved mouse makes pieces easily attributable to him. His blend of studio production and trademark personalization created coveted works.