An Antiques Roadshow guest has been left stunned by the true value of his op shop find, after guessing it could be worth $400,000.
During the show, which was filmed at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, UK, expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan investigated a piece of African tribal art that had been picked up on a whim.
“When you unwrapped this, my heart really skipped a beat. It’s one of my favourite tribal African figures. Where did you get it?” Archer-Morgan asked the owner of the striking piece.
The BBC guest confessed he found the object — a metal totem in the shape of a human figure — at a charity shop in Cambridge more than 10 years ago.
After examining the item, Archer-Morgan revealed his expert opinion.
“It‘s from a tribe in Gabon (in central Africa),” he said.
“They are just south of Nigeria and this is a Kota guardian figure and they put these on the bones of their ancestors to protect them. They polish this metal and in the 19th century, the brass and copper — this is just copper — but the brass and copper was like gold to them.”
Archer-Morgan said pieces like the one displayed on the show, which aired on Sunday, were “highly revered in the art world” and a similar one was even on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
“They are such iconic examples of African tribal art,” Archer-Morgan said.
“They hammer the metal over the wood sculpture and then they chase the metal with these designs and it’s the geometric design of them that makes them so desirable. They also influence the greatest modern artists of all time. They are very, very sought after.”
The guest appeared to get his hopes up as Archer-Morgan revealed a similar sculpture had fetched more than £200,000 (A$388,000) a few years ago.
However, his dreams were soon dashed after it was determined the same whopping price tag likely didn’t apply to his op shop find.
“Unfortunately, this one is a very fine copy (but) it’s slightly the wrong size and this was probably made in 1980,” Archer-Morgan guessed.
“One like this is probably worth about £150 (A$291). Unfortunately not the quarter of a million that one of them actually made.”
The owner, however, revealed the price he paid for the item 10 years ago — and he’s still expected to turn a healthy profit.
“It was right among the junk, and it cost me the grand total of £1.50 (A$2.90),” he confessed.
“I was intrigued by the fact that it looked as if somebody had put a lot of work into making it.
“(£150) is a lot more than I paid for it. It’s 100 times more than what I paid for it.”