BBC Antiques Roadshow guest taken aback as £250k item gets disappointing valuation

An unexpected turn of events unfolded on Antiques Roadshow when a precious item expected to be worth £250,000 got a disappointing valuation. Expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan handed out the disheartening news when the hit show visited Nottingham’s Wollaton Hall.

His job was to assess a figurine from the Kota tribe in Gabon. The owner anticipated the value around £250,000.

Sadly, instead of soaring to an impressive six-figure valuation, the owner was shocked to hear that it was worth merely £150.

That being said, it was quite a return compared to the modest £1.50 paid for the piece a decade earlier. Upon learning how much the guest initially paid, Ronnie amusingly responded: “You really took a risk, didn’t you?”

The crestfallen owner explained their initial interest in the piece saying: “Well, I was intrigued by the fact that it looked as if somebody had put a lot of work into making it.”

Ronnie, the programme’s expert, examined the statue before saying with excitement: “When you unwrapped this, my heart really skipped a beat because it’s one of my favourite tribal African figures. This is a Kota reliquary guardian figure and they put these on the bones of their ancestors to protect them and they polished this metal.

“And in the 19th century, they were brass and copper, this is just copper, the brass and copper were like gold to them. They’re so highly revered in the art world that they have one of these in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.”

The antique pro went on to explain more about it: “They’re such iconic examples of African tribal art. They hammer the metal over the wood sculpture and then they chase the metal with these designs.

“It’s the geometric form of them that makes them so desirable, and they influenced the greatest modern artists of all time because at the beginning of modernism, they are very, very sought-after.”

Ronnie raised hopes of a high valuation when he explained that one of these figures was sold for £250,000 a few years back. But then he had some bad news to share.

He said: “Unfortunately, this one is a very fine copy. It’s slightly the wrong size. This was likely made around 1980 and one of this kind is probably worth about £150. It is 100 times more than you paid for it.”

Though still more valuable than its original price, it was not the jackpot the owner might have hoped for.


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