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Program 107

Forde Abbey


In the gardens of Forde Abbey, host Michael Aspel and the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW UK crew uncover a wealth of treasures, including a 2nd-century cameo ring given to the owner when she was 16 years old, two ebony busts that had been relegated to their owner's garden, and a 19th-century telescope.

2nd-century cameo ring appraised by Geoffrey Munn

Cameo ring The owner of a cameo ring explains that her husband bought it for her from a scout jumble sale when he was 16 years old and paid 2 shillings sixpence for it (in Great Britain's former currency). "He was a very discriminating fellow," says expert Geoffrey Munn. He explains that cameos are judged not only on the carving but also by the way the stone has been used in the subject matter, and he thinks this stone has been used very well. It reminds him of Egyptian art so he thinks it may be a Romano-Egyptian cameo of the 2nd century A.D. He says it is "an object of great nobility and great rarity" and values it at £2,500 ($3,750).


Ebony busts appraised by James Rylands

Ebony busts The owner of two ornamental portrait busts explains that they came from his grandfather's house, but that he had kept them in the garden for a time because he thought they were so ugly. He admits he doesn't like them, but says that after speaking to the expert he "might like them better!" The busts date from about 1650 and James Rylands admires the ivory bases and ebony plinths, suggesting an insurance value of £5,000 ($7,500). The owner is very surprised: "Glory to goodness! Heavens above! No more in the garden, poor things."


19th-century telescope appraised by Hilary Kay

Telescope How the owner came by the telescope was a "piece of good fortune." He had been searching for large furniture but saw the telescope at an auction and felt he couldn't live without it. The next day he arrived at the auction just as it was going under the hammer for the last time. He bid and got it, but had to ask a man standing next to him what he had paid for it. The price was 14 pounds 10 shillings (in Great Britain's former currency). Hilary says it is a very good early 19th-century reflecting telescope by Bate of London. The brass telescope is 3 feet long and Hilary explains it's all done by mirrors. At auction she suggests it would today fetch between £3,000 and £5,000 ($4,500 and $7,500). "I'm glad I came!" exclaims the owner.


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