Antiques Roadshow guest crestfallen as Vickers World War One gun ‘now worth nothing’

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Antiques Roadshow has been far and wide across the country, and last year they visited Cromer Pier in Norfolk. It was the turn of gun expert Robert Tilney to take a look at a Vickers machine gun from 1917. But, he left the owner extremely disappointed when he said the weapon was now worth absolutely nothing, considering he initially paid £1,000 for it. 

The item being value was a 250-round, water-cooled gun with a range of 4,500 yards. 

It was adopted by the British Army as its standard machine gun in 1912. 

John Needham bought the World War One machine gun 20 years ago. 

He paid £1,000 for it at the time and Robert was on hand to explain why it was “now worth nothing”. 

I think the Ministry of Defence started releasing them from stores about 20 years ago, and I was watching them rapidly rise in price, so I thought I’ll get one while they’re reasonable,” The guest John explained. 

“So I was quite pleased to get her [but] my wife was not over the moon.” 

“Rude question first: how much did you pay for it?” Robert asked. 

“I think it was a £1,000 – he wanted £1,500 for it,” John revealed. 

“Does your wife know what you paid for this?” The expert added. 

“Yes, she did at the time. We lived on Ryvita for a month!” The guest joked. 

And Robert continued: “I think that’s justifiable for a Vickers. 

“You got it for £1,000 which is cheap… you know there’s a but coming. 

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“The law has been changed – this is a deactivated weapon – with the current standing, you have paid £1,000 for your Vickers heavy machine gun – money well spent in my opinion – it is now worth…” 

“Go on,” John encouraged and Robert teased: “Precisely…” 

“The same?” John asked. 

Robert said: “Nothing. It has no value because it is not up to the current deactivation standards. 

“You can’t even give it to somebody!” 

But the lack of value did not discourage John who replied: “I love her, because there’s history there. I’m not caring about the money at all.” 

Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer now. 

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