With each item, it is the question that ultimately both television viewers and participants desperately want answered.
And more than 3,000 visitors to Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire were yesterday hoping to get a sneak preview of how much treasured family heirlooms were actually worth when the Antiques Roadshow was recorded at the World Heritage site. The hugely popular BBC show first visited the Abbey near Ripon in 1995, but had not returned until yesterday.
Presenter Fiona Bruce, who is now in her fifth year with the programme, said: “Presenting the Antiques Roadshow is, for me, one of those rare and very lucky coincidences in television when you get to work on a show that you already love to watch. Exploring the human story behind every object is what makes Antiques Roadshow so fascinating. And everyone loves the agony and ecstasy of the ‘what’s it worth?’ moment.”
The last series was watched by an average of six million viewers, and included finds such as a painting by Rolf Harris bought for £50 and valued at £50,000 as well as the medical chest taken on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to the Antarctic and a toilet roll which was rejected by The Beatles at the Abbey Road Studios.
Among the items valued yesterday was a concertina dating from the 1860s.
Expert Hilary Kay said the instrument was worth about £100.
Fountains Abbey’s marketing manager, Alexa Morton, said: “There was a great turn-out, and it was an absolute delight to have the Antiques Roadshow here again.
“We had hoped that we would get a lot of people along, especially with places like Harrogate nearby which are renowned for antiques.”
The new series is due to begin in the autumn, although an exact broadcast date for the programme from Fountains Abbey has yet to be decided.