An Antiques Roadshow guest was left squirming during an episode from series 42 after she accused the expert of joking about the valuation he had given her item. It was during the instalment which saw the show head to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire and the object in question was a car mascot and it was Jon Baddeley’s job to put a price tag on it.
“Let’s roll back 90 years,” John began as he set the scene.
“We’ve gone out to the theatre, had a wonderful evening, our chauffeur is over there, we’ve drawn up in the limo, we jump in the back and we say ‘James home please’ and he switches on the lights and what happens?
“Not only the lights go on, but the mascot lights do.
“Can you just imagine how brilliant that would’ve looked way back in the 1930s?” he added.
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“I thought it was later than that actually and I always thought it was special,” the owner replied.
She then revealed how she had come in possession of it: “My father had it because somebody couldn’t pay for their petrol.”
“He was in the garage business was he?” Jon asked.
“He ran a garage business,” the lady confirmed.
“They couldn’t pay for the petrol, and I believe this was left in lieu of the payment. And nobody ever came back.
“Again, they were all illuminated, but again, unusual to find both the mascot and the illumination together.
“I just unscrewed it and there’s still a lightbulb in there. It’s a pink one, so this is the pink lady.
“And it’s called the Speed Head. Because there she is, she’s on the front of your radiator, hair streaming behind – what an attractive lady.
“This one is made by a company called Red Ashay and it says so on the base there,” he continued.
The owner asked: “So would it have been made for a particular car or not?”
“No, you could put it on whatever car you wanted to,” Jon remarked. “During the 1920s, 30s and way into the 40s, there were mascots on all cars.
“Some were made specially for that particular car, a Humber would have a particular one, a Rolls-Royce had the flying Lady.
“I wonder how much the debt was back then?” the expert suggested.
“I don’t know, petrol was quite cheap wasn’t it,” those watching a home saw the owner comment.
“They might have been running out of petrol coupons as well – I don’t know. Petrol was rationed as well wasn’t it, during the war.”
As for how much it was worth, Jon said: “I think it’s a cracking piece. At the auction, if you sold it today, it would fetch between £3,500 and £4,500.”
“You’re joking!” the woman said.
“I don’t joke,” Jon hit back. “I don’t joke.”
“Oh, so sorry!” the owner muttered.
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.