Antiques Roadshow guest spends £25 on Xmas present valued at hundreds of pounds

A couple was left beaming with joy when an expert told them they've made a good investment after buying a £25 Christmas present.

On Sunday's new episode of Antiques Roadshow, specialist Chris Yeo had a chance to valuate a collection of wooden objects, which he said are emblems of the sea and were made by craftsman Sam Smith.

The wife explained that she was looking for a Christmas present for her husband in an antiques shop and she found the ornaments piled up in a shoebox.

"I wasn't too sure about these so I left them, got about five minutes down the road, and thought 'actually, there's something about those that I really like'," she told Chris.

"They were priced at £25 but I bought them for £22.50."

Her husband then revealed that he was quite "taken aback" and not sure what exactly those were when he unwrapped the present.

The expert pointed out the signature mark from one of the objects and read the note from the bottom: "Genuine two-faced mermaid on wheeled rock. Not another quite like her. Thank you, Sam Smith."

Chris said the artist made a lot of elaborate automata and it started by making smaller pieces like these boats.

"They might look like toys, but they are not. These would be sold in galleries, in a very high-end craft shops, during 1950s, 60s and 70s, really when Sam is at his peak," he explained.

"Sam uses the language of toys to explore quite complex emotions.

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  • "If these would come to auction today, the boat, I think £300, then £300 to £400 for this one with three sailors here.

    "The figures here, perhaps £200 to £300 each, and our spectacular two-faced mermaid – £400 to £500.

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    "I think we're looking at a value of between £1,500 and £2,000 at auction."

    The couple looked at each other in disbelief, saying: "Not a bad investment for my £22.50 then."

    Chris asked: "Not bad at all. Have I made your day?"

    "Definitely, because I'm not even that keen on that mermaid," the wife confessed.

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