A tombola drum has recently appeared on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, valued at £5,000, that was used at the Conservative Party conference held at the Brighton Grand Hotel in 1984. The box contains the raffle tickets from that evening, signed by Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister, as well as Norman Tebbitt and Sir Geoffrey Howe. The tickets were never drawn as the hotel was blasted by an IRA bomb.
Just after the incident, the tombola was one of the items sold at auction. Bob Guy, who used to be an apprentice chef at the hotel, paid £200 for the tombola drum but then stored it in his loft until recently. He says that he can remember the tombola being used by the hotel in 1962 when he worked there. Guy recently looked through the raffle tickets held in the drum, noting that some people had bought around 20 tickets each on that fateful night. Guy recognised some of the signatures on the tickets.
Fiona Bruce, who is the current presenter of the show, described the history of the tombola drum. The valuation was reportedly given due to the importance of the event for the history of the UK. Antiques often have a history surrounding an important event, even furniture like antique cabinets or bookcases. Guy will likely have paid more for the tombola, as people pay a buyer’s premium at auction. Buying from an antiques dealer means the premium can be avoided.
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