Antiques Roadshow in Manchester

As soon as my talk at Sunday’s Isle of Wight Studio Glass Collectors’ Day was over, I hopped in my car and sped off to catch the ferry back to the mainland. The reason for the unusual rush? The next day was the first day of filming for the 34th series of the Antiques Roadshow, and I had to get to the venue in Manchester.
As I arrived after dinner and the tour, my jaw hit the floor as I walked into Manchester Town Hall early on Monday morning. The richly coloured and ornate Victorian Gothic interior is nothing less than splendiferous, and the Ford Madox Brown murals are the crowning glory. And not only of the interior, but of Madox Brown’s career too.
Of course, as regular readers of my blog will know, I always enjoy these days immensely. Tiring, yes, but so very rewarding. There’s nothing quite like them. I was also lucky enough to film twice, although you’ll have to wait and see what they were, if they make it through the editing process! Amongst the many other objects (good and not so good!) that I saw was this time was this mahogany cased box of instruments. Looking like something from a mad scientist’s laboratory, or today’s Steampunk movement, it’s actually an early radio.
The Marconi V2 dates from early 1923 and is one of the earliest domestic ‘wireless’ sets. After it had warmed up, a large gramophone-like horn would have been plugged in  to allow the broadcast to be heard. Its, quite frankly, ugly appearance is due to the fact that it dates from the dawn of the popularity of radio. Within a year or so, this ‘new fangled’ technology was being housed in cases that more closely resembled furniture in order to make people feel more comfortable about incorporating it into their homes. They did – in their tens of thousands – and by the late 1920s & 30s, radio case design was booming. Speeding trains and automobiles, towering skyscrapers, and the  angular and geometric Art Deco style all had their say.
Although it’s usually these ‘later’ radios, with their beautifully designed cases in woods or bright plastics, that are the most valuable, the V2 is one of the few exceptions. In ‘very good’ and complete condition they fetch around £500-700, but the one I saw in Manchester was in truly excellent condition, and even retained all of the Marconi and BBC transfers. I think that pushes the value up to the £700-1,000 range. Nice find, and it made the owner smile too!

Comments

  1. mikewright

    Hi, Mark. I was the owner of the V2 that you referred to, and i’m so pleased and quite surprised that you’ve covered it in your blog. I’d like to thank you for taking such a genuine interest and for giving me so much of your time, particularly as you were in such demand on the day! This was my dad’s pride and joy and he’d be so proud that someone took such and interest in his V2. Thank you.

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