Antiques Roadshow guest refuses to sell Donald Campbell model after staggering valuation

Antiques Roadshow: Donald Campbell model given £8000 value

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During an episode of Antiques Roadshow from earlier this year, Fiona Bruce took viewers to Forty Hall in Enfield, where the experts valued some of the relics brought in by guests. Some of the items included a diamond cross and a gold necklace and a pair of miniature hands crafted by artist Lucien Freud. However, it was a rare Donald Campbell Bluebird model that caught the attention of expert John Foster.

“To those of us of a certain generation, instantly recognisable,” John began.

“Donald Campbell’s Bluebird land speed records. Are you just a huge fan, like me?”

The guest went on to explain he had become more interested in the item since he learned about his family’s history with it.

John asked: “When you say your family’s history, what does that mean?”

“My grandfather took over lead constructor with a company in Coventry that went on to the land speed record in 1964,” the guest recalled.

John asked whether the relic came from the same factory his grandfather worked at.

“I believe so,” the guest continued. “I think it was either made for design presentation or for even aerodynamics for a wind tunnel perhaps.”

Along with the model, the guest also brought photographs of his grandad in 1964, which showed him speaking with Donald Campbell.

“So, your grandfather was involved in the production of which aspect of this?” John asked.

The guest explained his grandfather worked on the “body and the aerodynamics”.

“Because that to me is the exciting point,” the expert exclaimed.

“That’s what I think this is because when you say about wind tunnels or anything like that, it doesn’t work aerodynamically as an actual wind tunnel model.”

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“For this to work as an actual wind tunnel model, you’d actually have to have the ducting going right,” John demonstrated.

“You can actually, see here with these sort of black lines, presumably that’s where these panels would have been able to be removed to access the gas turbine engines.

“It may have been a model purely for that, so you can show the various access points.

“What part of the element of the story that I find amazing on this, is they broke the land speed record at Lake Eyre in 1964.”



He added: “They achieved I think it was 403mph. They were all disappointed when they achieved that because this was capable of 500mph or just under 500mph.

“There was bad weather, there were all sorts of issues going on. So, to be disappointed only to get 400mph…”

Turning his attention to how much the item would fetch at auction, John said: “An auction estimate, it’s tricky but somewhere between sort of £5,000 and £8,000.”

However, the guest quickly shut his valuation down as he replied: “Wow, not in the habit of selling, but yeah, great thank you.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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