Antiques Roadshow’s biggest winners, from ‘garden pot’ worth £668k to a secret Banksy & how they spent their surprise fortunes

ONE man’s junk is another man’s treasure – an adage which is especially true if you’re lucky enough to hit the jackpot with a stellar valuation on Antiques Roadshow.

Last month a guest was left stunned when his collection of jewellery was found to be worth an eye-watering £6k.

But that was far from the biggest windfall to emerge from the series.

Terry Nurrish always loved the ornate pot his mother gave him and his wife as a wedding present, but had absolutely no idea it was worth a fortune until he appeared on the BBC show in 1992.

And Roger Cooper's broken watch, which he even went swimming with, turned out to be worth enough to buy him the classic car of his dreams.

Here, we take a look at what happened to two of the show’s most highly-valued collectors’ items – and how the lucky owners cashed in.

Old plant pot used as a goalpost worth £668k

Terry Nurrish, 76, lives with his wife Brenda near Grimsby, Lincs.

Appearing on Antiques Roadshow, the retired farmer learned his ‘old plant pot’ was valued at £10,000 – but later sold for a whopping £668,000. 

This allowed him to help his family – including his four kids – build their dream homes, go on luxurious holidays and buy a BMW.  

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He says: “I’d always liked the old plant pot my mum had bought along with a few other bits from an antiques sale for £100 in 1946. 

It was five foot tall, adorned with flying stalks across a beautiful cloudy skyline, and embellished with gold detailing. 

I liked it so much, and so did my wife, so my mum gifted it to us when we got married in 1984, and it took pride of place in one of the rooms of our farmhouse, and later our dining room. 

Unbeknown to us at the time, the kids even used it as a goalpost when playing. I dread to think about how I would have felt if it had been damaged or broken.

My wife persuaded me to take it onto the Antiques Roadshow in 1992 after a friend who knew a thing or two about art told us we might be surprised about how much it was worth. 

My daughter Karen came with me and we had to make our own way there, so I just laid the vase in the back of our pick-up truck, cushioned with some old sacks, and I was stunned when expert Eric Knowles valued it at around £10,000."

Unbeknown to the family, the piece was an important French 'Japonisme' enamel, gilt and bronze ornament made by renowned goldsmith Christofle for the Paris Exhibition in 1874.

Terry says: "I was shocked and we were certainly a lot more careful driving home than we were there. 

“Even then though, it wasn’t to everyone’s taste, and I overheard a woman in the crowd say how much she hated it. 

“I kept hold of it for another 20 years, before realising I couldn’t leave it to just one person, so I decided to sell. 

“By this time, there was more of a market, and it fetched a staggering £668,000 from a private buyer at auction. 

“Everyone in the room clapped as the hammer went down and I couldn’t believe it, and it became one of the highest-value items to appear on the Antiques Roadshow. 

“Needless to say that night we treated ourselves to a few champagnes to celebrate, before continuing on with our original plan – a caravan holiday in Devon. 

“The money meant I was able to buy a nice BMW, and we went on a two-week tour of South East Asia. Most importantly though, I was able to give a nice sum to family members to help them achieve their dreams, such as building their own homes. 

“The whole experience has given us the opportunity to just enjoy life now – finding out an item we loved but thought was worthless was actually worth so much has enabled us to enjoy life. I always say if I could come back after death as someone, it would still be me –  as I feel so incredibly lucky.”

'I’d swim wearing £35 watch – it was actually worth £25k'

Retired IT risk consultant Roger Cooper, 73, from Bognor Regis, West Sussex, bought an Omega Speedmaster 'Ultraman' watch for £35 while serving in the Merchant Navy in Hong Kong 52 years ago. 

For years it lay broken in his sock drawer and he had no idea how much it was worth – until he went on Antiques Roadshow in 2019 and it was valued at a staggering £40,000. 

Roger sold the watch six months later for £25,000. 

He says: “I first got the watch when my parents asked me what I wanted for my 21st birthday, and I just picked one I’d seen in a shop window that I liked the look of. 

“At the time it cost the equivalent of a month’s wages, so it felt like quite a lot. 

"I loved it but had no idea it was worth anything and wore it every day for years – even when I went dinghy racing, which looking back could have been a mistake.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, after a while it broke – I think it must have got saltwater in it. 

“For years after, it just lay in my sock drawer because I couldn’t afford to fix it, and as the repair cost more than I bought it for and I didn’t think it was anything special, I didn’t think it was worth it. 

“I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away though as it was a gift so I kept it, and I bought a cheap Casio to wear instead. 

“Years later, I noticed some similar watches in the window of a jewellers that were worth around £4,000, but they had a different colour second hand – they were white whereas mine was red. 

“I started to do some research and asked on some online forums and realised mine might have been a limited edition, that had been commissioned by a Japanese film director for a series called Ultraman. 

“One had been sold for £18,000, so I decided to contact the Antiques Roadshow just to see if it might be worth anything – and I was absolutely gobsmacked when Richard Price said it could be worth up to £40,000. 

“I actually ended up having to sell it – because it would cost a grand a year to insure, which I couldn’t afford, but I was delighted when it went for £25,000. 

“It was amazing, and I ended up being able to afford to buy a classic 1988 Mercedes 300 SL, which had always been a dream of mine. 

“I was really fortunate, and happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“Going on Antiques Roadshow made me realise it was worth so much more than anyone could have anticipated.”

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