Antiques Road Trip returns on Monday 25th September at 16.30 on BBC One. Paul's record breaking auction sale will air on Friday 29th September.
Paul spots the antique camera, which is from c1861 and housed in a mahogany case fitted for and containing its original photographic plate viewer and reagent bottles, while shopping in RG Scotts Furniture Mart in Margate, and buys it for £60.
The huge significance of the find becomes clear as camera experts confirm that Paul has in fact discovered a Chambre Automatique De Bertsch, an instrument that is recognised as the world’s first sub-miniature camera, invented by Paris photographer, inventor and optician Auguste Adolphe Bertsch.
At the final stop of the road trip, Paul puts the camera up for auction at Lacy, Scott & Knight Auctioneers in Bury St Edmunds, causing a flurry of excitement with phone bidders from around the world competing with bids in the room and online, and the auctioneer calling for bids in thousand pound increments.
The camera finally sells for £20,000 to a private collector in Switzerland, making an incredible £19,940 profit and even smashing the auction house record.
Paul Laidlaw said: "Not only Antiques Road Trip, but the whole antiques profession can be distilled down to treasure hunting. Everyone’s looking for the Ming vase amongst the dreary Victorian Willow pattern dinnerware, or the Stradivarius amongst the old ex-school violins. In this instance, I identified what had been clearly overlooked by all who’d come before me.
"In truth it was such a strange beast I can see why others had likely dismissed it as either part of something else, or just some odd piece of laboratory apparatus. It took me a minute to dismiss these possibilities and pin it down as a miniature camera.
"At the time I suggested it was an extremely early sub-miniature camera of circa 1861. What I didn’t realise is that it’s considered the first sub-miniature camera - though I was pretty much spot on with the date.
"Post filming I did a little research and immediately realised I’d bought something spectacularly rare, however, I couldn’t find records of any examples having been sold. I kid you not, I didn’t know whether it would sell for £2000 or £100,000 - and neither did the auctioneer - though I considered either to be possible.
"I’ll confess I was seriously nervous on the day, hoping for glory but fearing a damp squib. The result of course was fantastic. Afterwards, it wasn’t so much the auction result that moved me, rather the thought that our daft little antiques adventure had raised so much money for Children in Need."
Paul's success smashes the previous record held by Antiques Road Trips expert Anita Manning, who made a whopping 7500% profit on a bronze Buddah in 2016, buying it for £50 at the Vintage Curiosities shop in Sandwich and selling it for £3800 at auction.
Prior to this, the record was set by Charlie Ross in 2012 when he purchased a Staffordshire elephant for £8 and it sold at auction for £2700.
ART series producer John Redshaw said: “Paul’s amazing find of this wonderful miniature camera is the sort of thing antique hunters - both experts and amateurs - usually just get to dream about. Discovering it proves that incredibly rare and valuable treasures are still out there across the country, just waiting to be discovered.
“We’ve never before experienced an auction like it, with a hugely tense atmosphere and excitement reaching fever pitch as big bids – both in the room and from all over the world – came in at unbelievable increments of £1000. And Paul’s unprecented success with this record-breaking profit has certainly thrown down the gauntlet for our other Antiques Road Trip experts to beat in future series. “
Ed Crichton at Lacy Scott & Knight Auctioneers said: “Everyone at Lacy Scott & Knight loved hosting the road trip. The cameras created a real buzz in the saleroom, and to achieve a house record for a General sale was so exciting for all in the room."
Ratings winner Antiques Road Trip, made by STV Productions, follows the country’s top antiques experts as they battle it out in a search for quirky and valuable antiques to auction off for profit. The experts pair up for a scenic road trip through the British countryside, visiting antiques shops and local areas of interest while exploring the country’s rich historical and cultural heritage.
Profits made on Antiques Road Trip go to Children in Need. To date, over £70,000 has been donated to Children in Need from Antiques Road Trip and its celebrity version, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
For further information, please contact the STV press office:-
0141 300 3341 / 07803 970 143
0141 300 3830 / 07921 494 654
About STV Productions
STV Productions is one of the UK’s leading content businesses with ambitious plans for domestic and international growth.
The company has a record of success across a range of genres, including drama, entertainment and factual, for a wide range of broadcasters. Ratings winner Antiques Road Trip has run for fourteen series on the BBC, along with six series of sister programme Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. A further four series of Antiques Road Trip and a seventh series of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip are now in production.
In entertainment, the company has produced five series of Catchphrase for ITV, and two series of Safeword for ITV2, as well as new reality format Tour de Celeb for Channel 5 and The Dressing Room for UKTV’s entertainment channel W.
Specialist factual successes have included Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered for BBC1, Smithsonian Channel and Discovery Canada and Swallowed By The Sea – Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Lost City for BBC2 and Life After: Chernobyl for Animal Planet US.
In documentaries, Dunblane: Our Story for BBC2, commemorating one of the most tragic days in Scotland’s modern history, won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Single Documentary.
Other STV Productions documentaries include: Prison: First and Last 24 hours, with a second eight-part series on Sky1; Scotland and the Battle for Britain presented by Andrew Marr for BBC Two; The Lockerbie Bombing for the Smithsonian Channel and ITV; The 7/7 Bombing: Survivors’ Stories for ITV; Rollermania for BBC Scotland and BBC4; The Queen Mary: Greatest Ocean Liner, a documentary for BBC Scotland, BBC Four and Smithsonian Channel; and Fire in the Night, a feature documentary to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, which won a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Single Documentary and the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
STV Productions has a track record of producing quality returnable drama series including Taggart and Rebus with ambitions to build on this reputation. In the last five years it has produced Fast Freddie and The Poison Tree, both for ITV. It currently has a number of script commissions from the BBC and ITV.
STV Productions has a partnership with Red Arrow International which co-invests in and co-develops projects as well as distributing STV Productions’ completed programmes and formats outside the UK.
In August 2015, STV Productions entered a strategic development partnership with Motion Content Group to create new entertainment, factual and drama projects for the UK and international markets.