BBC Antiques Roadshow expert concedes 'never going to be able to answer' mystery behind valuable WWII item

Marc Allum

The Antiques Roadshow expert was baffled by some unanswered questions

Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 16/06/2024

- 20:30

Updated: 20/06/2024

- 15:43

The expert was surprised by the unique items which held a strange connection to the Second World War

Antiques Roadshow expert Marc Allum made the admission that he'd "never be able" to answers certain questions behind a baffling item presented to him in a classic episode of the BBC series.

Allum was shown a pair of very unique bookends with a link to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour which left him and the guests scratching their heads.

"As soon as I saw these two items, they spoke to me," the expert confessed as he observed the bookends.

He continued: "They spoke to me in a very poignant way. So let's explain what they are.

"These are basically a pair of bookends, and they're a pair of bookends made out of a propeller (from) an aircraft propeller, aren't they?

"And there's an inscription on each one of them, and one of them says to Governor JB Poindexter, and one of them says from Fleet Air Arm base, Pearl Harbour, T. H.

Antiques Roadshow guests

The guests had come across a Pearl Harbour propeller which had been turned into bookends


"So, you know, that begs the question, what on earth are they doing here?"

"Yeah, they really surprised me when I [saw] them sort of laid out on a bench at a car boot sale," one of the guests explained.

"[I saw] them, I was really surprised, I sort of took a bit of a double take really."

"I think we have to start with the inscription to Governor JB Poindexter. Joseph Boyd Poindexter was the governor of Hawaii basically," the expert revealed.

Pearl Harbour propeller

The Antiques Roadshow item left the expert and guests stunned


"And he was appointed by Roosevelt. He was the man who presided over the kind of the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbour, that fateful attack on December 7, 1941.

"It brought America into the Second World War, and it was an event in which thousands of people died.

"So it appears that this propeller may well have come from an aircraft that may have been destroyed at Pearl Harbour, you know, what's your take on that? How do you feel about that?"

"Well, it's a bit difficult to sort of place it whether it was off a damaged plane or what, it could have been later on with the attack on the Japanese aircraft carriers, it's a little bit odd to kind of place it myself," the owner of the item reflected.

"Yeah, I think that's a question we're never quite going to be able to answer, isn't it?" Allum confessed.

He went on: "So of course, these are the parts for the propeller, they've been sliced down the middle.

Antiques Roadshow

Allum valued the item at between £2,000 to £3,000


"But of course, if we push them together, we can see that form again. There it is, the propeller.

"And if we actually look at the base of the propeller itself, we can see that it's got all the relevant markings and things and it's also stamped US So we do know that it's from an American aircraft, obviously.

"So we're going to attempt to put a value on these it's very, very difficult. I think they're very much an American market item. I think that's what I'm going to base my valuation on.

"I think if they were in the right sale out in America, they're going to go to a collector or perhaps even a museum. I think they're going to be around about £2,000 to £3,000 at auction."

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