When a 19th century Russian medallion created by Faberge’s rival was presented on the Antiques Roadshow its owner had little idea of its value.
Paul Bolton, 60, appeared on the TV antiques show with his brother Colin, 58, to present their family heirlooms to expert Clive Stewart-Lockhart.
The medallion and photo album, valued at up to £9,000 combined, belonged to their great-grandfather John Bolton, who worked for Accrington-based textile machine manufacturers Howard and Bullough.
Howard and Bullough exported machinery internationally during the industrial revolution and staff were sent out to help set up the machines. John Bolton was one such employee who found himself in the mill town of Yegoryevsk, about 80 miles south east of Moscow.
He eventually became a director at the 5,000-employee factory. In 1895 the mill celebrated its 50th anniversary and John Bolton and two other directors were presented with commemorative medallions and photo albums.
Paul started researching his family and heirlooms when he discovered the medallion was created by Fedor Lorie, a contemporary of Faberge, egg-maker to the Tsars. Lorie was sometimes commissioned by Faberge to create works.
Paul said: “It was not until I started to look into it and I found out Lorie was linked with Faberge that I felt it was something important. I knew the medallion was one of three, but Faberge gets you a little bit excited!”
The two items were valued separately by Clive Stewart-Lockhart when the Antiques Roadshow visited Lowther Castle in Penrith.
He was unsure of the exact value of the gold medallion but did say: “I feel sure that it must be worth at least £5,000 and maybe quite a bit more.”
Of the album he said: “There is a huge interest now in photos of Russia, particularly of this period and I’m sure this kind of thing is quite a rare survivor. It paints a wonderful picture of a town at a particular moment and I am quite sure the people of Yegoryevsk would be interested in it. An album like this is going to be worth at least £3-4,000.”
Paul was pleasantly surprised by the value of the two items.
He said: “I had no inkling they would be worth that much. If nothing else we need to get them insured.”