Antiques experts were delighted when the BBC bought along a priceless Fiona Bruce figurine for valuation at a recording of The Antiques Roadshow during last summer.
In the show, due to be broadcast this weekend, veteran ceramics specialist Henry Sandon admitted being ‘tickled pink’ at the sight of the desirable and beautifully finished 5ft 9in figure.
‘This is the classic Fiona, resplendent in those trade mark white jeans sprayed on with loving care by the creator,’ he drooled. ‘This particular model is wonderfully preserved which is quite something considering that it is not quite as young as it used to be. You can see that the come-to-bed eyes have lost none of their allure.’
‘There have been limited editions over the years, mostly created for charitable events,’ enthused Mr Sandon, ‘most memorable being the fishnet stocking and boots special, still hotly pursued by collectors. You know what they say about men who put women on pedestals never knocking them off, but I can tell you I would never tire of mounting that one. It would make an old man very happy.’
Asked if this was the genuine article, Mr Sandon said, ‘You can generally tell by feeling down here with your hand. Yes, that’s it. If you locate the right spot, it usually purrs and then says something like: “That’s all we’ve got time for, and if you don’t want to see the result in your trousers, look away now”. This one does the business all right. Oh, I say!’
There was a brief pause, during which the elderly expert sighed and mopped his brow with a spotted handkerchief. Then, having regained his composure, he asked Mr Bruce how long the precious article had been in the family and if he had ever had it valued. Mr Bruce said that ‘in purely monetary terms it brings in an ever-increasing annual salary, but in other respects it is priceless.’
‘Now comes the big moment,’ said Mr Sandon, breathlessly, ‘but before I think about a valuation, I must say that these originally came as a pair and ask if you have the Kirsty Young that came with the Fiona Bruce? Oh! And do you have the original box? We collectors really appreciate a perfect box.’
Henry Sandon was 82.