John Foster has been an auctioneer and valuer since 1989.
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Royal Flying Corp memorabilia
Having started at Phillips, John moved on to Dreweatt Neate Holloways in Oxfordshire and from 2001 until 2011, he was a Director at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Essex. He left recently to set up as an independent valuer and sourcer. John works with the Miscellaneous team on the Antiques Roadshow and his particular interests include furniture, antiquities, British coins, scrimshaw, medical instruments, classic cars and motorbikes.
John’s entry into the antiques world was a rather unusual one – his father made machines that found sunken ships so as a boy he spent many summers on the Florida Keys diving on wrecks. Seeing the various objects rising up from the ships sparked an interest in collecting and the antiques trade soon beckoned.
Outside work, John’s interests don’t stray too far from the antiques world. He enjoys collecting early hammered coins, Egyptian artefacts and religious books and letters. However when asked to pick his favourite item in his collection, it would be a watercolour by James Sowerby of a two-headed fish.
If John could choose to see one thing to see at a Roadshow, it would have to be a double leopard gold coin. There are only three known and they’re worth a whopping £700,000 each!
John’s most memorable find on a Roadshow to date is a selection Royal Flying Corp memorabilia which was brought along to the Bolton Abbey Roadshow by the pilot’s daughter in 2009. It was a moving and evocative account of bravery in the early days of aerial warfare.