“I cry at the Antiques Roadshow”, Ed Balls, the British Labour party’s shadow chancellor, and former major player in the UK Government, claimed recently.
“You know, when someone comes in with some family heirloom and it’s often the last bit in the programme and the expert says: ‘Do you know how much this is worth? It’s valued at X thousand pounds’.
“And they say: ‘I’m amazed it’s worth that much, but it means more to me than money.’ Incredibly emotional.”
Is there a softer side to Ed Balls?
Tough guy Ed’s attempt to reveal a softer side in his interview with Total Politics magazine has not been without its critics.
The Guardian newspaper columnist John Crace questions what’s worse: “a shadow chancellor who feels the need to lie about crying about a Sunday night staple schedule filler … or one who really does cry at Antiques Roadshow?”
Whether you believe Ed cries at the sight of 18th century oak furniture or not, there is no denying the power of antiques and collectibles to stir the emotions.
The most moving collectible I have seen of late is this: a 1963 Christmas card from John F Kennedy and his family, signed by the president in the weeks before his death in November 1963.
It is hard not to be moved by the poignancy of this card. Here is a man looking forward to Christmas with his young family. A Christmas that he would never celebrate. The impact his death had on his wife and children can only be imagined.
It is just one of 30 “posthumous” cards signed by the US president and is currently available for £24,000.
Kennedy’s autograph has risen in value by 13.57% pa in the last 11 years.
He is an American icon and remains sorely missed.
Incidentally, Balls isn’t the first current major UK politician to have expressed an interest in collectibles; UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently acquired a Tracey Emin, and last year gave Barack Obama a painting by British street artist, Ben Eine.