Buying an antique mahogany pedestal desk from a Cumbria auction house could cost an arm and a leg, so spare a thought for Antiques Roadshow expert David Battie, who has only just managed to return to the rostrum after six months in hospital – with a broken leg.
Battie, 70, has been with Antiques Roadshow (BBC) since the programme started in 1978. A specialist in Oriental porcelain, his most important discovery was probably made in 2010, at Saltaire, near Lancashire. Among the antique mahogany pedestal desks and Victorian artworks was a large Chinese vase – made of metal rather than porcelain. David nonetheless identified it as a Yuan dynasty piece, made around 700 years ago and worth around £15,000. The oldest bronze ever featured on the show, the rare antique had been bought for a “few quid” from an antiques dealer – who had used it as a doorstop.
Battie began his antiques career at Sotheby’s, where he worked until 1999 before becoming the editor of the publication Masterpiece Magazine. In between Roadshow engagements, he also works as a consultant for an auction house in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, and having spent six months in the sterile confines of a hospital bed, he will be marking his return with a valuation day on 19th February. He joked:
“Thinking about the valuation days and cataloguing which I was missing gave me withdrawal symptoms – although that could have been the anaesthetics!”
Even at 70 years of age, David Beattie has no intention of giving up his antiques career, and neither do the antique dealers of Lancashire – not so long as a Victorian oak pedestal desk or antique cabinet is waiting to be sold.
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