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What is it like to go to the filming of the Antiques Roadshow?

The Antiques Roadshow were filming today (13.9.18) at Buckfast Abbey in Buckfastleigh, Devon.  I was keen that if I had a free day I would pop along, and with the beautiful sunshiny, balmy Autumn weather it was the perfect day to attend.  Here is a description of the day, what we saw and what we found out, plus some tips on taking your objects to be valued.

The gates opened at 9.30am and my husband and I were there at 9.35am. Already the car park was filling up nicely.  As it was, we meandered down a leafy lane and joined the orderly queue in the lovely Buckfast Abbey gardens. We waited for 4.5 hours, snaking gently around the lawns to get to reception. We then queued a further hour to meet the valuers. It was all very amiable and the stewards were friendly and chatty, however I did so wish I’d thought to bring a chair and a picnic!

Whilst waiting we took it in turns for a wander, I saw the glass expert, Andy McConnell being filmed with a man and his selection of blue glassware. Fiona Bruce having a chat with one of the shows presenters and some of the other valuers meeting people 1:1. I couldn't hear what was being said as I was a bit too far back, but it was really interesting to see how they make the programme. If you wanted to go along simply to watch you would definitely be able to amble from table to table to see and hear what was happening and to watch some of the filming. 

Once at the reception we were directed with a pass card to the right umbrella under which sat our valuer. We were allowed to show just 3 items as it was a busy day. My husband took my Nan’s necklace to the jewellery person and I had two oriental pieces for the ceramics expert from my Grampy and Gran. 

Here I am with David Battie who is an expert on ceramics, particularly with Japanese and Chinese antiques. It was just chance that I was seen by him, and it couldn't have been a better outcome since my items were from China and Japan. First up was a little jug brought back from China by my Grampy during WW2, he was in the navy. This was made early 20th century and was worth the a few pounds as I expected.

The second item which has been handed down through my Gran's side was a large vase with blue birds flying over chrysanthemums with irises and other flowers all round. It's a really pretty vase but I just keep it packed away. Until last night I thought it was British, but noticed a small oriental mark painted on the bottom at the side when I took a closer look.  Turns out David knew right away the signature was for Soijei Kinkozan, and it was made in Kyoto, Japan and dates around the 1880s. I got quite excited when David pointed out that the gold decoration was all real, especially as he pondered for quite a while saying what a lovely example it was. Alas I didn't get my spot on TV though! It's value turned out to be quite small, but it was brilliant to find out who created it, where and when, and it was definitely worth the wait to find out. It's been in the the family for years with none of us knowing anything about it.

The necklace my husband showed the Jewellery expert turned out to be a large beautifully cut citrine from the 1880s rather than a diamond, so we won't be retiring any time soon!

My top tips for taking items to be valued at the filming of an Antiques Roadshow

  • Arrive 1 - 2 hours before the gates open to be sure of being ahead of the queue - though it’s worth noting that as long as you are in the queue by 5pm you should hopefully be seen by an expert.
  • Wear sunglasses and take a hat and an umbrella ideal for all weathers, (I forgot all but glasses!)
  • Take a folding chair, a flask and a picnic as you will be on your feet for much of the day (I forgot all of this as well!)
  • Go to the loo early on, they got busier as the day wore on!
  • Go with a friend so that they can hold your space in the queue when you need a drink or break, and so that you can wander and see the valuers at work and some of the filming.

  • Going with a friend also means you can split up and show different genres of item for valuation. 
  • It might be an idea to group your items so that you don’t have to queue too many times; for us we had a piece of jewellery and two pieces of ceramics. So we joined one valuation queue each.
  • Make a note of what your expert says, as in all the excitement it’s easy to forget everything!
  • Some people took retro items (see below), I didn't think to do this!!

This particular filming session will be made into two episodes and be shown between a few months and a year from 13.9.18 - I wonder if you'll see me queuing in the background?!  

Pop into the yay retro! online vintage shop here for fab 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s homewares

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