We’ve all wondered about it, that one particular item buried somewhere at the back of a cupboard, coated in a fine layer of dust. Is it valuable, or is it just a weird-looking vase? For decades Antiques Roadshow has been the crucible for this kind of curiosity. The U.K. show came first, but since then other versions have popped up in the U.S., Canada and beyond. And every now and again, an item comes along that makes history.
20. Japonisme urn – $13,000 (U.K. series, 1991)
In some cases, items shown on the show end up being valued at a far higher price after the fact, and this might be the most dramatic example. In 1991 a Japonisme urn was given a valuation of roughly $25,000 in today’s money. Years later, it was sold off at an auction for $870,000, more than 60 times the original valuation – and 6,680 times more than what it was bought for.