Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked by value of ‘horrible’ book bought for £10

Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked by value of ‘horrible’ book bought for £10

June 21, 2023

Antiques Roadshow expert distracted by gentleman’s watch

Looking at the book, the Antiques Roadshow expert sarcastically thanked the guest for turning up with something so worn down.

He quipped: “You’ve brought in the most horrible copy, I think I’ve ever seen of a late 19th-century flora.”

Discovering the book was initially written by botanist George Bentham, the novel that the guest had brought in was a sixth edition which was revised by J.D. Hooker in 1896.

The antique expert continued: “It’s a perfectly ordinary flora, one that you would carry around in your pocket, but the great thing about it is these incredible floral gems inside it.”

As Clive flicked through the book, viewers were able to see there were hand-drawn illustrations of different plants and flowers on the pages to reflect the contents within.

Wanting to know more about how the item came into the guest’s possession, Clive asked where it had come from,

She replied: “I brought it just as a flora book because I like that kind of thing, I had no idea about the illustrations inside it, so it was a great surprise when I opened it.”

The guest informed Clive the book once belonged to Mabel Hannan who was gifted it by her husband in 1897.

Questioning if it was Mabel who had done the drawings, the guest replied: “Yes, she journeyed around, mostly in Britain.

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“She noted where she saw her different plants and flowers and recorded it by illustrating it and writing the dates and the place by the side of them.”

The guest revealed the last date she could find in the book was from 1938, three years before she died.

Clive replied: “That’s extraordinary, I mean this is just incredible. There are over 400?”

Confirming the official number, the guest shared there were in fact 412 illustrations within the flora book.

He continued: “Well, I’ve never seen anything like it or of such enormous quality.

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Putting a value on what it would go for if it were put into an auction, Clive said: “I think something like this, of this quality, I’m going to put £1,500 on it.”

Shocked at the high price, the guest replied: “Gosh!”

Asking how much she paid for it, she revealed it wasn’t more than £10.

He replied: “I think you had an incredibly good buy and it’s so lovely to see it here”.

She continued: “I just wanted to pay tribute to the lady who did all that work and so meticulously recorded it.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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