Antiques Roadshow expert astounded by rare robe valued at £200k despite flaw

An Antiques Roadshow expert couldn't believe his eyes when he took his first look at a Chinese robe worth a six-figure sum.

Expert Lee Young was stunned when a guest brought a spectacular silk robe embroidered with dragons and cloud motifs.

Appearing on the new episode on BBC One, he asked the couple how did they come to own the robe.

The man said: "It was brought to the UK by Sarah's grandfather, probably in the early 30s and he was the general manager of the Standard Bank in Kolkata, India."

Sarah then explained that her grandpa might have acquired it as a present and she wore it when she was little. But then it was kept in a dressing up box.

Lee pointed out that the robe was made around 1750 and was almost certain that it was a lady's Imperial robe.

"It really is sort of a museum item," he said.

"The colour is important – bright yellow would be for the Empress or the Dowager Empress or sort of the first ranking concubine.

"This isn't a bright yellow, it's got a slightly kind of limey, just a slight green tinge to it. If you put that next to a yellow Imperial robe, you would see the difference."

Despite the colour difference, Lee said the robe has other features that suggested it's an Imperial robe.

The pattern of a gilded five-clawed dragon chasing the flailing pearls among the flame scrolls and crashing waves fitted the description of an Imperial clothing.

When Lee flipped the robe to reveal the lining underneath, he said: "You've got this wonderful, rich, brocade inside there.

"It's just a fabulous thing. I just keep coming back to the condition, it's extraordinary."

But the expert noticed one flaw on the front of the robe that will ultimately affect its value – the dragon appeared to be in two tones.

"What's happened there, I suspect, is that when they've mixed the gilt on the copper wire that actually the copper has oxidised," Lee pointed out.

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"Another thing is at some time, I think someone has sort of turned up the bottom. It's probably a little shorter than it should be because the fringe might be turned up as well.

"If that comes up at auction, with the way the market is at the moment, I think that would make £200,000"

The crowd gasped as Sarah and her husband took a pause and reacted: "Oh! That's surprising."

Lee added: "And I wouldn't surprise if it made a bit more."

"My goodness me, thank you very much," the guest said. "We won't put it in the dressing up box again."

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