CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: One day, that face mask could be worth an absolute fortune

Antiques Roadshow

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The Great Garden Revolution

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At a stately home on Mars, some time in the 22nd century, in the warm ember glow of its two moons, a polite crowd will gather with armfuls of domestic treasures for another edition of Antiques Roadshow (BBC1).

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Some of the valuation experts will be triple-headed extraterrestrials from Alpha Centauri, but they’ll all be wearing tweed waistcoats and spotted bow ties — so it really won’t look that alien.

Inevitably, one of the items for inspection will be a face mask from the Millennium’s early Twenties.

‘Ah yes,’ the specialist will burble, ‘these were once very common, but they’re priceless museum pieces now. Your great-granny bought a whole packet of them in 2021, you believe? What a shame she didn’t keep them all.’

One of the items for inspection will be a face mask from the Millennium’s early Twenties. ‘Ah yes,’ the specialist will burble, ‘these were once very common, but they’re priceless museum pieces now'

One of the items for inspection will be a face mask from the Millennium’s early Twenties. ‘Ah yes,’ the specialist will burble, ‘these were once very common, but they’re priceless museum pieces now'

One of the marvels of the Roadshow is how it reminds us that commonplace objects can become tomorrow’s heirlooms, invested with a sentimental value or a mystique that didn’t exist when they were first made.

This time the show was in Coventry, marking the recent 80th anniversary of the Blitz attacks that reduced the city’s medieval cathedral to rubble.

Rather than dwell too long on the destruction, most of the episode was a celebration of how the nation rose from the ashes of war — with strong parallels to the rebuilding task Britain currently faces.

Fiona Bruce was taken with a blue woollen pinstripe demob suit, the sort issued to ex-servicemen as they returned to civilian life.

Those suits were once seen as a bit of an embarrassment, rather than the uniform of our returning heroes. Today, they look remarkably stylish.

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