Anyway! – I arrived early to join the queue of people in the road before the building opened at 9:30 am and shuffled slowly forward until, much later I took one of my treasured books to be seen by Clive Farahar the book expert. He was a bit scathing about the way it had been professionally rebound but generally liked it and valued it at £100, which was around what I thought. I then went to join another queue for the “Miscellaneous” experts to show them my 1860’s binocular brass microscope which I bought while I was still at school for what was to me then quite a lot of money - £18. It is housed in a fine mahogany case and is a good example of its type and made by W. Ladd of London. John Foster, the expert who saw me, liked it immediately and said that he wanted to get it filmed for the show and asked if I could wait until a suitable time could be found with the producers. To cut a long story short, it was not filmed as there were too many excellent antiques presented on the day for all to be included. He valued it at £1,200 - £1,800 which is a little more than I had expected. My other piece did not fare so well. An almost identical late 18th Century compass type microscope [see the bottom of the photograph], I had seen valued elsewhere in the thousands, he gave me a value of only £500 or so. Considering that the compass microscope had come to me in the box with the binocular microscope, I cannot complain at the total value being over one hundred times what I had paid, albeit over 40 years ago!
It was great listening to the experts, mostly familiar TV personalities in their own right, talking so knowledgeably to some of the other people there, sometimes with pleasing valuations, some not quite what the owners had hoped for. Also interesting were some of the quaint and curious items that were being brought into the hall. In front of me at one stage had been a 17th Century oak chair, well made to have lasted this long, but nevertheless very damaged and worm eaten. I wouldn’t have thought it could have been worth more than £50, but what do I know?! Another was a fine sword with an intricate handle made of Bristol Blue glass; that, they did film.