An Antiques Roadshow guest in possession of a wooden club that was nearly chopped into firewood was gobsmacked to learn its true value.
In Sunday's repeat episode (August 22) of the BBC One show, antique expert Ronnie Archer Morgan was treated to a rare find as he examined the club.
"My grandfather gave it to my father because he didn’t want it, and he said if my father didn’t take it off him he was going to cut it up for firewood," the guest explained.
His grandfather is said to have got the club for free with a bag of coal – which might be why nobody in the family expected it to be worth much.
Looking amazed, Ronnie said: "It’s a Tongan war club, it’s fantastic quality.
"This is a rare type of club. In Tonga the quality of a man’s war club was a symbol of his rank and so this quality is very high.
"Do you know what these were carved with? Shark’s teeth.
"And I think from the colour here, it could be late 18th century."
It turned out to be very lucky it wasn't chucked out or burned up in a fire when Ronnie estimate its true worth.
He said: "Collectors love these things and this is a very fine example. I would value it comfortably at £5,000 to £8,000."
Ronnie emphasised it could be worth as much as £10,000 or even more but he was "erring on the side of caution".
The guest and the audience all gasped and whipped in shock as the news sank in.
"Wow that’s very unexpected. I was expecting a few hundred really," said the club's owner.
He later confessed: "I'm quite buzzed, to be honest.
"I feel very excited, emotionally shocked I think, simply because I didn’t expect it to be that much."
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