Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked as train sign bought for pennies worth staggering sum

The Antiques Roadshow team paid a second visit to Kenilworth Castle in the Midlands in an episode of the BBC One show which aired earlier this summer. During the episode, expert Paul Atterbury was presented with a heavy brass train nameplate which was purchased at a scrap yard by one of the guest’s fathers. Little did they know how much the sign would be valued for on the show. 

Paul spoke to the owners of the heavy metal nameplate, which read Highnam Court, after inspecting the impressive object. 

He told them: “In 30 years on the show I have to say this is only the fourth time I’ve been able to touch a locomotive nameplate, they just don’t turn up. So why have you brought yours in?”

One of the owners replied: “Well, it’s been part of our family history for so long. 

“My father actually bought it in 1951 when the engine was scrapped in Swindon, partly because he was just nutty about trains.”

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Paul thanked the guests for bringing in old pictures of the locomotive the sign once belonged to as well as pictures of family members with the sign. 

Paul explained: “I am glad to have pictures because they tell the whole story.”

The trio looked at black and white vintage photographs of the locomotive which showed the nameplate used to sit above a mudguard on one of the train’s wheels.

A second old photograph showed a picture of the older guest’s father proudly holding the nameplate after buying it. 

Paul laughed: “[Your father] must have been quite tough, they are very heavy to hold. So you say he bought it in 1951 for 15 shillings?”

The guest hesitated and replied: “Well, yes I think so.” 

Paul explained: “Well it sounds ridiculous but that shows the value of the scrap brass. They were sold for what they could be scrapped for. It was as simple as that.”

The antiques expert presumed the guest’s father brought the huge sign home to his wife’s horror, who would have asked him “what on earth” he wanted to buy it for. 

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The guest agreed: “To begin with [my parents] put it by the rockery outside their house.” 

He explained the sign was just placed in the family home’s front garden for some time, and occasionally cleaned. 

A surprised Paul said he was surprised that no-one tried to steal the sign as it was placed in such an obvious place. 

He then explained a series of locomotives were named after different categories, with this one, in particular, coming under the court category. 

Paul’s guests were left gobsmacked when he explained the nameplate could be worth up to £10,000.

“The lowest I would value it at would be £3,000,” he explained.  

“The value of the sign will be impacted if it’s ever been on the market, but in your case, it hasn’t so I am going to give you a price of between £4,000 and £6,000.”

Both guests grinned and unanimously said “wow” at the high valuation, with one guest thanking his dad for buying it many years ago. 

Antiques Roadshow episodes can be watched on BBCiPlayer now.

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