Antiques Roadshow guest's 'heart thumping' at six-figure price for £4 charity vase

Antiques roadshow overbeck vase pbs
The vase was worth a lot more than the man paid -Credit:PBS

An Antiques Roadshow guest was left chuckling with excitement and a racing heart when his thrift shop vase turned out to be an authentic treasure. The US version of the show made a stop in Indianapolis, where attendees brought along intriguing items and tales for the experts to evaluate and it was up to specialist David Rago to assess a stunning vase.

"Me and my wife were shopping at a local Goodwill, I saw it sitting on the shelf and thought, 'Aw, it's so beautiful'," the owner recounted. "And I knew it was good quality but I knew nothing about it, so I picked it up and looked, it had markings. And I thought, 'Well, I don't know who it is, but for $4.99 (£3.93), I'm going to buy it.'"

Rago revealed that the vase was crafted by Overbeck Pottery, a company from Indiana established by four sisters, reports the Express. He noted that the piece bore the OBK mark for Overbeck and included the initials E and F for two of the sisters on its base.

He elaborated: "They had a number of periods of work that they produced but to me, the best period of their work was around late teens, early 1920s. Arts and crafts influence and this falls into that power alley.

"Conventionalised design is an arts and crafts period design technique that uses a geometric distillation of the original design and you can see the conventionalisation in this design. You've got a repeated design that's five or six times around the vase. You've got a running man in a striped suit but behind him is a big pink sun, which is shining through a tree.

"And you know it's a tree, because you have the branches running by the guy, but these are the leaves that are shown as triangles. So they've conventionalised a tree there with bare geometric minimum."

The suspense built as it was time for the expert to reveal the vase's value. The expert said: "It's such a great example of their work. It's colourful, it's matte-painted, it's hand-thrown, it's tooled, it fired very well.

"Virtually every side fired evenly, which is a technical achievement. At auction, it would bring somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 (£39,300 - £78,700)."

Upon hearing this extravagant value, the guest was taken aback and said: "I can't believe that."

Expert Rago said: "I mean, it's a seriously, seriously good piece of Overbeck. It's got everything it's got to have, this one's got it."

Visibly overwhelmed, the guest tapped his chest and called attention to his rapid heartbeat, saying: "Feel my heart thumping."

When asked about his initial purchase price, the guest revealed he had only paid a mere $4.99 for the precious piece - a disclosure that elicited a quiet fist pump from the expert.