St Andrews University 1

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Antiques Roadshow, Series 34 Episode 17 of 28

Duration: 1 hour

Fiona Bruce and the team head to Scotland to visit St Andrews University. Amongst the items under scrutiny by the experts are a small bowl believed to have been owned by Bonnie Prince Charlie, early Chinese vases from the Forbidden City, and an extraordinary hoard of posters from World War Two.

  • Fabulous Fabergé

    At St Andrews University our Jewellery specialist Geoffrey Munn set Fiona and the guests a difficult challenge; to try and work out which one of these three cigarette cases is the Basic (worth £150-200), which is Better (worth £7-8,000), and which is the Best (worth a staggering £100,000!)

    BASIC – This cigarette case is made of Silver which has been overlaid with 9ct Gold. As these aren’t the most precious metals, its core value isn’t as high as the other two cases. It’s worth £150-200.
    BETTER – You might be fooled into thinking that this one was the best because it is, as Geoffrey says, ‘a massive show of Gold’. It’s also made by Cartier who is one of the great creators of fine jewellery. You can see when looking at it that it’s a very chic, well-designed piece and it’s worth an impressive £7-8,000.
    The fact that both of these cases are engraved actually detracts from their value. Unless the engraving shows an important provenance (for example that it was made for someone well known/famous), buyers don’t want to have someone else’s cigarette case with an inscription that doesn’t refer to them.
    BEST - Geoffrey says this is the most beautiful piece of goldsmith’s work you could ever hope to see. The design is incredibly sophisticated and the case dates from 1915. However, what makes it most desirable and collectable is that it’s made by the most famous goldsmith ever to have lived – Carl Faberge. You can identify it as Faberge by the markings on the inside and by the quality of the materials. This case is so desirable that collectors would pay £100,000 for it.

    Collecting Cigarette Cases
    Cigarette cases were introduced when people stopped using snuff, and started smoking cigarettes. They were almost an extension of jewellery - you didn’t carry a cigarette case, you ‘wore’ a cigarette case. It was a status symbol at the highest level and the craftsmanship lavished on them was stunning.
    It’s no longer fashionable to wear a cigarette case which means you can now buy them for a lot less than their original value - this makes them an interesting proposition for collectors. There are a lot of cases out there but it’s important to buy ones that are unusual. Look out for artistic ones with a great design and a different finish such as enamel or tortoiseshell.

    Did you know?
    The Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs are perhaps the best known and the most celebrated of all the Faberge creations. The first egg was made in 1885 for Tsar Alexander III to give to his wife. Faberge made 50 eggs for the Russian Royal family between 1885 and 1916, the most expensive to produce was the Winter Egg made in 1913. The Winter Egg is made from carved rock crystal and is decorated with platinum and over 3,000 diamonds. Inside is a basket of flowers crafted with white quartz, nephrite, garnets and green gold. The Winter Egg sold at auction in 2002 for an incredible US$9.6million.

Credits

Series Editor
Simon Shaw
Series Editor
Simon Shaw
Presenter
Fiona Bruce
Presenter
Fiona Bruce
Producer
Michele Burgess
Producer
Michele Burgess

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