Antique Roadshow experts hairs ‘stand up’ after valuation of war item

During a classic episode of Antiques Roadshow, Fiona Bruce took viewers to Brodie Castle in Scotland where the experts shared their expertise on several items. However, Mark Smith was so moved by some First World War items that the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Despite not having a high monetary value, the expert told his guests “money couldn’t buy” the valuable items.

He began: “When it comes to the Roadshow, there are certain things that you think to yourself the night before, ‘What would I like to see?’

“And one of those underlying things is a life saved by a book or a watch.”

Turning to one guest, Mark said: “And you pulled out of the bag your medals and objects.

“And there, you pulled out the book that saved a life and there is the book with the bullet holes, and there’s the bullet.”

Turning to another guest, he continued: “And about 10 minutes later you turned up and you have the pocket watch that saved a life.”

The guest with the book and bullet went on to explain the history behind the items she had.

“This was William Patterson, my grandfather,” she began. “He was a medic.”

When asked what happened on the day William was saved by his book, she explained: “I believe that he had the book and the map in his breast pocket, and he was shot and that took the bullet that saved him.”

The other guest also retold how his grandfather Charles Swan was saved in the war by his pocket watch.

He shared: “He was a private in the Seaforth Highlanders that were sent in as part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 to France.

“In the early morning mists, [they] failed to see the Germans in the woods, and he was shot and the bullet passed through his upper arm, smashed the bone and came out the other side and was heading into his chest, and it was stopped by the pocket watch in his breast pocket.”

Admiring the watch, Mark said: “There we have the watch and there is the pocket watch still with the German bullet sticking out of it.”

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“That has actually made the hairs stand up on me,” Mark said, clearly moved by the story.

“Because without that book and without that watch, the whole world changes, doesn’t it?

“The two chaps didn’t come home that day. However, the book and the watch saved lives.”

When asked what her grandfather did after his injury, she explained he finished the war and then became a GP.

However, sadly, the other guest’s grandfather died in 1918.

When discussing how much the items could be worth at auction, Mark said: “We do have to put a value on these things.

“And I know this is so difficult because we are actually genuinely talking about lives that were saved. So how do you put a price on that?

“I do have to say to you that your collection over here has got to be somewhere in the region of £600 to £800.

“And your chap over here, £600 to £800, again, it’s not really about what they’re worth.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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