BBC Antiques Roadshow expert refuses to value 'rare' item due to 'despicable' past: 'Signifies awfulness!'

BBC Antiques Roadshow expert refuses to value 'rare' item due to 'despicable' past: 'Signifies awfulness!'

WATCH HERE: Antiques Roadshow's Ronnie Archer-Morgan refuses to value item linked to slave trade

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 02/04/2024

- 09:53

Updated: 02/04/2024

- 10:01

Ronnie Archer-Morgan didn't want to put a price on a recent find with an "awful" past

Antiques Roadshow expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan was visibly taken aback by a recent find on the BBC staple when a guest brought in an ancient ivory bangle.

On Sunday evening, BBC viewers joined the Roadshow crew on their trip to Alexandra Gardens in Cardiff where Archer-Morgan got to examine the "rare' item.

Archer-Morgan examined a bangle presented to him by a guest who was keen to hear if it had any monetary value.

She'd purchased it for just £3 over three decades ago but kicking off the valuation, Archer-Morgan made it clear just how controversial the bangle was.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that myself and we in the Antiques Roadshow wholly and unequivocally disapprove of the trade in ivory," he began.

"But this ivory bangle here, it's not about trading in ivory, it's about trading in human life.

Antiques Roadshow's Ronnie Archer-Morgan with his guest

Antiques Roadshow's Ronnie Archer-Morgan delved into the history of the item


"It's probably one of the most difficult things that I've ever had to talk about, but talk about it we must," he soldiered on.

"This is an amazing object and a testament to the callous trade that went on in the 17th, 18th, and into the 19th century. So tell me how you got this object?"

The guest revealed: "I used to work for a family looking after them and one the members passed away and they were having a house sale. I bought that 36 years ago in the house sale for £3. I thought it looked interesting. I had no idea what it was."

"What made you keep it for 30-odd years?" Archer-Morgan asked to which the guest replied: "There was something about it. Now I'm researching it. It said traders... I thought it meant trading in coffee or spices but actually, I realised they were trading in people."

Antiques Roadshow

The Antiques Roadshow guest bought the item for just a few pounds


Archer-Morgan began inspecting the item, reading aloud the names that were engraved into the ivory.

When the pair came to the conclusion one of the names on the list could've been an African man involved in the trading of people, Archer-Morgan chipped in: "A despicable human being."

The Antiques Roadshow expert then spotted the words "honest fellow" etched under the aforementioned person's name.

"I'd like to meet him and teach him how honest I think he is," Archer-Morgan remarked.

Antiques Roadshow's Ronnie Archer-Morgan

Antiques Roadshow's Ronnie Archer-Morgan refused to value one item in the latest episode


Turning his attention back to the object's value, Archer-Morgan admitted it was incredibly rare and that he only knew of "half a dozen" like it: "It's extraordinary."

"The beauty of the calligraphy just belies the awfulness of the message," he added.

As they delved into the history further, Archer-Morgan predicted that the item would've been from the 18th century - at least five decades before slavery was abolished.

But instead of delivering a number to the guest as their chat drew to a close, Archer-Morgan admitted: "I don't want to value it. I don't want to put a price on something that signifies such an awful business.

"But the value is in the lessons that this can tell people. The value is in researching this and what we can find out and I just love you for bringing it to the Roadshow and thank you so much for making me so sad."

The guest took Archer-Morgan's verdict in good spirit as she vowed to carry on researching the hugely unique find.

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