Is there Treasure in Your Attic?

Reporter: Anne Grimshaw

Mini antiques roadshow silk postcard WWI                      The May 2014 meeting was a little different from usual: something of a one-man Antiques Roadshow presented by James Fletcher, a private valuer and auctioneer formerly from Sworders. Members brought antiques for him to look at, assess and value, and very popular it proved to be. James was not short of items. These ranged from a curious corkscrew with a badger-bristle brush attached, a music sheet signed by 1960s pop singer Roy Orbison, a beautiful 1824 autograph book with poems, watercolours and pressed flowers, a gold and black mourning locket containing a photograph and lock of hair hung on a watch chain, a marlin spike from the Royal Yacht HMS Alexandria and photo of the family of the crew member who had worked on board her, a somewhat rusty percussion pistol probably early C19th and many others.   Of local interest was a map of Suffolk printed on linen and published by William Faden in 1817. It was housed in a cardboard slipcase which, disappointingly, was in poor condition. James said maps were not his speciality and so, along with a few other items, he photographed it and promised to have it valued by a map specialist. Topical in this centenary year of the start of the First World War was a pottery biscuit barrel decorated with painted flowers made by Fielding & Co, England, in 1914. Inside was a note stating that it had been given to a young lady by her fiancé, Tom, for her ‘bottom drawer’. Sadly, he was killed in 1915. In auction it might fetch £10-15 but, as a family item, it was priceless. Also from the First World War was a selection of postcards, several of which were ‘hymn sheet’ cards with a verse or two of a hymn accompanied by a photograph of a soldier or his girl at home looking wistfully into the distance. These cards were not as popular as the comic ones or places and were valued at about £1.50 each. James said that silk embroidered postcards of that era had to be in perfect condition to make anything like a good price. Mostly they are about £4. It was a most enjoyable evening even though, unlike the TV Antiques Roadshow, the last item, a small, lacquered, decorated box with compartments and little drawers c.1925, did not yield gasps at a valuation with lots of noughts! A mere £40…