Antiques Roadshow guest 'heartbroken' after shock discovery halves value of Faberge box

AN ANTIQUES Roadshow guest was "heartbroken" after a shock discovery instantly halved the value of a rare Faberge box.

BBC viewers watched expert John Benjamin examine a cigarette case, as the show returned on Sunday at Forty Hall in Enfield, north London.


Jewellery historian John was delighted to value the "rather plain" box – but quickly realised that it was actually a Fabergé cigarette case and was worth thousands of pounds.

John told the guests: "Well, we are looking at a rather plain, rather severe-looking rectangle cigarette box.

"But it has a lot of hidden extra features."

The owner revealed it was his nan Olga's case, who had died in 1993 and passed onto him as a family heirloom.

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He said: "It was owned by my nan Olga, she passed away 1993, and it was passed onto my mum and dad."

The mum and son explained how someone had knocked on their door many years ago and offered to purchase the item for £1000.

They took the box to be an expert who said it was "possibly Russian'' but had no real "value" – despite this, they decided to keep the treasured item in the family.

John went onto reveal that it was in fact a real Carl Fabergé – pointing out a special mark and a P56 stamp meaning it was Russian 14-carat gold.

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He added: "It's a Fabergé cigarette box, and that is why someone was so enthusiastic about it."

However, John then noted that there had been some evident damage to the box, which made its value plummet.

"One problem with his exquisite box, and I am going to show this to you because it really breaks my heart," John explained.

He showed the pair a small "fracture to the rock crystal" in the corner of the case.

John admitted: "If it were in perfect condition, I think it is worth £8,000 to £10,000."

"Let me be a little careful now and say £5,000 to £8,000 with damage that it has sustained."

Although they were initially devastated by the reduction in value, they were also thrilled by the huge amount it was worth.

John linked the name Olga with Russia and pointed out what the owners thought were clear glass panels were actually "solid natural rock crystal" and was "certainly not a modest piece."

The specialist noticed a leaf panel around the outside of the box, and the red dot was a "natural ruby".

Antiques Roadshow airs on Sunday at 7pm on BBC One.


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