The Antiques Roadshow rolled into Kelso yesterday – and more than 3,500 people brought along their family treasures to be assessed.
Presenter Fiona Bruce and her small army of experts, guides, cameramen, producers, directors and catering personnel set up in the grounds of Floors Castle, and although it was wet first thing, the sun soon shone on the many queues.
Those who bring items for valuation were placed into one long queue, which at the start of proceedings stretched for some distance.
The elaborate “poda” reception area saw experts quickly assess the treasures and send their owners to another queue, where a specialist was waiting to see them.
Exceptional and interesting pieces were pitched by the experts to the producers in order to see which ones would be filmed.
And tying the whole show together is Fiona, who put in a breathless shift of presenting duties, in between chatting to the public and posing for selfies.
The 53-year-old told The Southern: “Today has gone brilliantly. I have seen some incredible items.
“For instance, I am about to record an item about a vial of blood that belonged to Dolly the Sheep ... an antique of the future perhaps!
“We also saw a fascinating letter from the Borders poet James Hogg, friend to Walter Scott.
“It was a letter he had written the morning after the night before, in which he was apologising for being horribly drunk and horribly rude to his host, so that was quite something and actually was quite valuable.
“Otherwise, we have had some wonderful paintings, some beautiful Italian glass of significant value, some fantastic pieces.
“And what an amazing setting this is, here at the castle ... and the Borders are so beautiful.”
It’s not yet known when the show will air on BBC1, but Fiona said it would probably be some time later this year,
Having the chance to have their paintings and objet d’art appraised for free is always going to be a big draw, mostly because there is always the chance that you have something special.
A remarkable find in the 1990s was a wristwatch once owned by Lawrence of Arabia. The owner was unaware of its significance before taking it on to the show, but later sold it for £34,000 to a collector in Geneva.
While we were asked not to reveal any valuations from the day – the BBC like to do that themselves – we got some queueing members to show us their valuables while they were waiting to see an expert.
Audrey Rae from Clintmains had with her three items – a small gold matchbox case with original matches and a spring lid, a lovely handpainted bracelet, which she hoped to find out whether it was made of ivory or bone, and a damaged vase.
Of the latter, she said: “My grandmother must have bought it along with the bracelet at the Lyon and Turnbull sale in George Street in Edinburgh.
“It’s seemingly a Ming vase, with gold staples where it has had its repair, but inside the vase is a piece of paper from Sotheby’s, which says C1890.
“So, it’s quite an old vase, and I’ve always been interested in the value of it.”