BBC Two Daytime antiques programme Flog It! celebrated Chinese New Year with a bang, thanks to an extraordinary artefact which made two lucky viewers an amazing £44,000 at auction.
The object – a Chinese libation cup made from carved rhino horn – was brought in to one of the programme’s valuation days by owners Tom Harvey and his sister Evelyn Martin, who had no idea of its value.
The cup, which dates back possibly as far as the 17th century, was apparently acquired by the owners’ grandfather in the early 1900s. Tom didn’t believe it was valuable because it had some damage but curiosity made him bring the little cup along to show the Flog It! team of antiques experts who were filming at Balbirnie House in Fife last summer.
Former antiques dealer, and Flog It! presenter Paul Martin recognised the little cup as being something very rare and valuable, possibly worth thousands of pounds, but insisted on getting a second opinion from a specialist.
Paul took the item straight to Bonhams saleroom in Bond Street and showed it to Asian Art expert Angela McAteer. She confirmed the cup to be genuine and predicted it would make comfortably more than the £8,000-12,000 estimate. She advised waiting to sell it in a specialist auction during Asian Art week last November to achieve the best price.
Paul Martin says: “In nine years of filming the show it’s the most exciting and important object anyone has ever brought in, but it’s absolutely been worth the wait.”
The programme is available to view on BBC iPlayer.