Skip to main content

A musical penknife was just valued at £80,000 on Antiques Roadshow and no one could quite believe it

Viewers of Antiques Roadshow like nothing more than a rare treasure being revealed – so they were in for a treat in the latest episode.

Among the usual paintings, ornaments and furniture brought along to the BBC show, presented by Fiona Bruce, one man turned up at Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire with this instead.

"One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on the #AntiquesRoadshow. Absolutely exquisite quality."

— Antiques Roadshow (@BBC_ARoadshow) September 27, 2015

Yes, a penknife – with a secret.

The man who brought on the penknife said it belonged to his daughter-in-law, but she’d just given birth so he came in her place.

Expert Jon Baddeley explained the two-bladed Swiss-made penknife was hand-enamelled and inlaid with pearls. And at the end, he pointed to a small section that could be pulled back to reveal a mechanism that could be wound up to play music.




The key to the mechanism was broken so viewers couldn’t hear what tune the knife contained, but Jon said it could easily be fixed by a watchmaker.

“It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the Roadshow. Absolutely exquisite quality,” he said.

He dated the knife to 1810-1820 and said he had spoken with his fellow experts on the show who all agreed they had never seen anything like it.

Jon Baddeley (BBC)

Expert Jon Baddeley (BBC)


“Here’s something that is fantastic quality, very rare and currently very popular. The Russian market is strong in terms of buying this unusual mechanical musical instrument/object,” he said.

Then came the bombshell. Jon valued the musical penknife at a whopping £60,000 to £80,000 at auction.

The owner said the value was 'astonishing' and Twitter couldn’t believe it.

60-80K for a gawdy musical penknife. That's quite something.i would have done 'A Del-Boy' and fallen over. #AntiquesRoadshow

— LyleW. (@Lyle1008) September 27, 2015


How much???? £60-£80k….I think I need to find a musical penknife on my #charityshop wanders :) #AntiquesRoadshow

— Girl Loves Vintage (@girlovesvintage) September 27, 2015


OMGosh there is a penknife on Antiques Roadshow that is estimated at £60,000-80,000!!! I was just thinking how nice it was!

— Planet Millie (@BonneMillie) September 27, 2015


60-80 grand for a musical penknife !! …..get it flogged #antiques roadshow

— Andy LUFC Bingham (@AndyLUFCBingham) September 27, 2015


£60,000- £80,000 for a Penknife?? That's quite a penknife ..sea pearls, musical, hand enamelled..nice :) #AntiquesRoadshow

— Kath Wilson (@katsitter) September 27, 2015