It should have been just another day at the office for TV’s Antiques Roadshow presenter Lark E. Mason back in 2002. But on the day in question, one of the pieces that someone brought in for a free appraisal didn’t just pique his interest; it almost completely overwhelmed him. Indeed, it was all he could do to maintain his composure.
It’s the stuff of daytime TV – the finding of a valuable antique packed away in an old box in the cellar or attic. That old blanket turns out to be a valuable American Indian artifact. Grandma’s disregarded teapot is identified as a rare piece of 18th-century porcelain. Or that long-forgotten, muddy-looking painting emerges as the work of an Old Master.
The truth, of course, is that such finds are as rare as hen’s teeth. But on that 2002 episode of Antiques Roadshow it was clear to see that Mason had been presented with something he considered to be truly outstanding. Indeed, so overcome by emotion was he that for a few moments he was barely able to speak.