Antiques Roadshow - on the road since 1979

First broadcast in 1979, UK television series Antiques Roadshow has grown into a national institution.

Although a handful of non-converts may consider the immensely popular show somewhat slumberous, its weekly thrills and spills have fans rooting through dust-veiled trunks and cobwebbed cupboards - in search of that long-lost heirloom aunty Mildred once whispered "might be worth a bit".

BBC Antiques Roadshow
Expert Paul Atterbury appraises a cricket bat on the Antiques Roadshow at Ascot

Yes, Antiques Roadshow is more than 30 years old, but it's still in great nick, even if it has crossed and re-crossed the British Isles countless times.

In fact, the Roadshow has rated in the top 10 factual programmes on the BBC since its inception, providing us all with what ex-BBC Two controller Jane Root called that "warm bath" feeling.

Gobsmacking discoveries have included a Richard Dadd artwork which had been missing for more than 100 years and was subsequently valued at £100,000 ($148,226).

"We had had a disappointing day, until, at 2pm, a couple came in with a painting," remembers host from 1981-2000, Hugh Scully, in an interview with the Independent newspaper.

"The irony is that they wouldn't have come in at all had it not been for their dog, whose favourite walk was through the park that our hall backed on to. So, anyway, they took the dog for a walk, and while they were out, they thought they might as well take this painting, which they didn't particularly like, into the Roadshow."

"Our expert, Peter Nahum, couldn't believe what he had seen. He knew of the existence of the painting - The Halt in the Desert, by Richard Dadd - and he knew it had been missing for 100 years or more. This couple in Barnstable had no idea what they had."

Other exceptional finds - of which there have been many - include a 13th century jug (now part of the collection at the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough), an August Rodin signed sculpture, bought for £250 ($370) in 1966, valued by Roadshow experts at £2,000-3,000 ($2,965-4,447), and a Carl Faberge diamond brooch valued in the region of £10,000 ($14,830).

Remarkably, the Faberge brooch was found inside a large bag of brooches which had been bought at auction for a mere £30 ($44).

Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we're hoping for another 30 years (and lots more diamonds in the rough). Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

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