Antiques Roadshow guest staggered by value of botanists cane

Antiques Roadshow: Expert embarrassed to value war items

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Antiques Roadshow star Ronnie Archer-Morgan has been in the industry for more than 30 years so it’s safe to say he has come across an extensive amount of valuable items. In an old episode of Antiques Roadshow, he meets a woman who got her hands on what she was initially told was a fruit picker at an online auction. But it was later revealed what she actually received was far more unusual and rare.

Expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan was presented with a cane on Antiques Roadshow that had a very different use compared to other similar items.

He said: “I love sticks, staffs and canes, they were used by princes, paupers, kings, clergymen and they have different functions.”

Archer-Morgan went on to clarify it was a botanist’s cane, a gadget used by those who study the biology of plants, fungi and other organisms.

His guest told the 70-year-old she thought it was something special as it was clearly “well engineered”.

Archer-Morgan went on to give some interesting history about canes, stating how they were often used to conceal items like swords, letters and sometimes alcohol.

He added how the first silk worms were even smuggled into Europe through the body of a cane.

The one he carried in his hands though instead hid a little brush, used for cross-pollinating flowers.

But Archer-Morgan’s eyes lit up when he told his guest of the famous connection the cane had.

He said: “And what makes it even more interesting is that it’s got the name T Meehan, that’s Thomas Meehan and he was a very eminent Scottish horticulturist, seed merchant and nursery man.

“It’s got his address on there which says Princes Street which is one of the most fashionable streets in Edinburgh in the late 19th and early 20th Century.”

His guest wasn’t aware of Meehan whose research into botany led him to become the editor of The Gardeners’ Monthly and then The Gardener’s Monthly and Horticulturist in 1876.

He also founded and edited two widely popular horticultural journals, Meehans’ Monthly.

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Archer-Morgan went on to talk about how the item was intended to be used, showcasing it to its owner.

“This is bamboo, the shaft, it’s got a little gold ring here that you pull, open up and take your specimen and it brings it to you, it cuts it off but holds it.”

He then got down to the nitty gritty, giving his guest a surprise when he explained what the cane could go for at auction.

“Gadget canes are really collectible and would be estimated in the right auction between £800-£1,200.”

However, Archer-Morgan wasn’t finished just yet as this particular item was worth even more.

He added: “But because of the Thomas Meehan connection, I’m valuing it at between £1,600-£2,000.”

Clearly surprised, his guest said: “Oh you’re kidding? Oh my goodness.”

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch every Sunday at 7pm on BBC Two.

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