There have been some spectacular finds over the past 40 years of the Antiques Roadshow, but the most expensive find ever has recently been revealed.
The highest ever valued item has been revealed as a 13.3cm tall Fabergé flower, valued at an eye-watering £1 million. It is one of just 80 known surviving botanicals from Russian jewellery firm Fabergé, and it is positively steeped in history.
It was taken in for valuation in June, when the BBC was filming the latest season of Antiques Roadshow at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, near Birmingham.
Simon Shaw, the show’s executive producer, described it as ‘one of the most significant jewellery finds in 40 years’ of the programme’s history.
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Image credit: The Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Charitable Trust
Ahead of the show’s anniversary special, the BBC has kept quiet about the monumental find. But after rumours of the piece circulated around the art world, a Fabergé expert stepped up and revealed its origins.
It was recognised by Tatiana Fabergé, the Swiss based great-granddaughter of Peter Carl Fabergé. She identified the brooch as a botanical study created by Fabergé in Imperial Russia during the early 20th Century.
She said the piece was a gift from an aristocrat to a British army regiment. It was intended to be a regimental trophy for their service in the Boer War, and has stayed in the Army ever since.
She said: ‘In the book Fabergé Flowers on page 61 there is the exact same flower, which is in the Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry Charitable Trust.’
It features a delicate pear blossom sprig with an engraved gold stem, sat in a crystal vase. ‘QOWH South Africa 1900’ is engraved across the vase.
A spokesperson for Fabergé said: ‘Georgina, Countess of Dudley, presented the study to The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, QOWH, in the early 1900s as a regimental trophy. Three pears feature on the county’s Arms, hence the choice of pear blossom.’
The episode featuring the flower is due to be screened later this autumn.
Other valuable discoveries in the history of Antiques Roadshow include a model of Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North and the third version of the FA cup, both given seven-figure valuations.
Do you have anything lurking in your loft that could give these a run for their money?