Antiques Roadshow guest blurts out ‘it’s not for sale’ after valuation of chair

An Antiques Roadshow guest was delighted when her pre-Soviet Russian chair got an eye-watering valuation.

In Sunday's episode of the BBC show (April 25) the crew were looking at a host of curiosities in Bodnant Gardens, North Wales.

Expert Elaine Binning was intrigued by a guest’s chair which had strange inscriptions and an even weirder design.

"I just can’t stop looking at the carving on this chair – where on earth did you find an oak chair like this?" Elaine asked.

The woman told her: "My mum bought it from a gentleman called Mr Fletcher, who’d been working in Russia before the revolution. Mum bought it in 1951."

"And in the time that you’ve known it, have you found anything out about it?" Elaine said.

The guest replied: "We believe it’s a church chair and it’s got an inscription on it that we have been given a translation – whether it’s right or not, I don’t know.

"It reads: 'The quieter you pray, the further you get.'"

Examining the wooden chair more closely, Elaine said: "Well, let’s have a look at all these decorative components.

"Probably the most unusual part of it, which is the legs and the back is this sort of arc and this relates to part of a horse harness.

"If you can picture in Russia a sleigh being by three horses – a troika – the central horse has an arc like this over it and that’s called a duga."

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The expert then said the mittens with the chair were a sign it belonged to a provincial and working Russian family because the wealthier class wore gloves.

"Do you still think it’s a church chair?" Elaine asked.

Looking a bit embarrassed, the woman admitted: "I’m not so sure now, no."

"You probably were led down that route of thinking it might have been a church chair because I think you said the inscription was 'The quieter you pray, the further you get,'" said Elaine.

The expert then explained it was a Russian adage, not necessarily religious, which meant you would get further if you did things in a quiet way.

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She said the "fashionable" style was based on one made by a designer called Vasili Petrovich Shutov and showcased in the All Russia Industrial and Art Exhibition in 1870.

"So it was probably made shortly after the 1870 exhibition," she said.

The expert revealed: "If you were to put a chair like this into auction now, it would probably fetch around £4,000 or £5,000."

"It’s not for sale!" blurted out the owner with a laugh.

"No I’m going to give it to my daughter in my will," she added.

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