CRAIG BROWN: Ah, the gilded epoch of the mobile phone! The Antiques Roadshow 2222 – Episode 1, Series 244
Presenter: Today, we leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and come to Sunninghill Park in Ascot, Berkshire. Now in ruins, over 200 years ago, it was home to the Duke and Duchess of York, a royal couple, now long-forgotten, who, sad to say, ended their days as circus performers in the Middle East.
Textiles and Fabrics Expert Lavinia Trundle (holding up a thin blue piece of material with two circular straps at either end): Daphne and Frederick have brought this along for us today. Tell me how you came to own it?
Daphne: My mother found it in an old kitchen drawer at my great-great-grandmother’s house. It’s been in the family ever since.
Lavinia Trundle: Any idea what it was originally used for?
Presenter: Today, we leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and come to Sunninghill Park in Ascot, Berkshire
Frederick: Might it have been some sort of fishing net, perhaps for very small fish?
Lavinia Trundle: Well, I can tell you that it is, in fact, a ‘face mask’. It dates back two centuries to the early 2020s, to a time when the world was in the grip of a pandemic. Rich and poor alike were expected to wear one of these when they left the house.
Daphne and Frederick: Gosh!
Lavinia Trundle: These face masks are now pretty rare, of course, but from time to time they do come onto the market, and I’d say that this would probably raise anything between £250,000 and £350,000 at auction — or, in today’s money, roughly the price of a loaf of bread.
Daphne: Well, it has sentimental value. We’re definitely going to keep it in the family, to wear on special occasions.
Derek Smoothe, Antique Electronics Expert (holding a small grey rectangular object): Well, I say! This is the most fascinating item! Tell me how you came by it?
Man in fancy waistcoat: It’s been in the family for as long as I can remember. It came down through my mother’s side. We’ve always kept it on the mantelpiece.
Derek Smoothe: I can tell you that it dates back to the early 21st century.
Man in fancy waistcoat: Gosh!
Derek Smoothe: Any idea what it might be?
Man in fancy waistcoat: In the olden days, might one have put it in the centre of the dining table, as some sort of decoration?
Derek Smoothe: Here’s a clue. If we turn it upside-down, you’ll see rows of little buttons, with numbers on them, plus a tiny little series of dots and arrows. This looks to me very much like what used to be known as a ‘mobile phone’.
It dates from a brief period in history when the so-called ‘mobile’ was all the rage. Hard to believe, but fashionable types really didn’t like to leave their homes without them. They’d carry them everywhere and worship them.
It was what today I suppose we’d call a religious cult. But by the early 2030s, the fad had passed. The last human being ever to have used a mobile phone died 100 years ago, in 2122.
She belonged to a very old family of traditional Los Angeles influencers. Her name was Lilibet Sussex, best known nowadays, I suppose, for having married into the great Beck-ham dynasty.
It dates from a brief period in history when the so-called ‘mobile’ was all the rage. Hard to believe, but fashionable types really didn’t like to leave their homes without them. They’d carry them everywhere and worship them
Virginia Smallbone, Bag and Holdall Expert: I’m looking at another spectacular example of early 21st century craftsmanship. It’s very small, and very delicate — a gossamer-thin item in deep, deep black. Tell me, how did you come by it?
Lady with big teeth: Family legend has it that my great-great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side owned a labrador puppy, and he was well-known for carrying one of these in his trouser pocket wherever he went! I’ve always thought it must be some sort of good-luck charm!
Virginia Smallbone: Well, let me show you something rather special! It’s possible, using your fingers very delicately, to prise open these two bits — and, look! — it creates a bag!
Yes, this is a prime example of what in those days was known as a ‘dog-poo-bag’. Traditionally, people would fill them with dog excrement, and carry them around, clutched to their side. Historians think it was a status symbol.
There’s currently an exhibition of dog-poo-bags from the Later Second Elizabethan Age at the the British Museum, which I can heartily recommend.
If it were to come up at auction, I’d guess it could reach anywhere between £450,000 and £550,000.
Lady with big teeth: Gosh! But I’ll keep it in the family, it means so much to me.
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