In a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow, arms and armour specialist Runjeet Singh was presented with three traditional Indian daggers. The guest who had brought the astonishing blades onto the BBC One show explained they were part of her father’s weaponry collection. However, she was left lost for words when Runjeet disclosed their extortionate value and symbolic meaning.
Runjeet said: “Thank you for bringing me these daggers and armour from ancient India. The religious aspect to us all was very important for many of the martial and the Sikh’s were one of them.
“We worship weaponry and so do many of the Hindu groups. Can you tell me how they came into your possession?”
The guest explained the impressive weapons belonged to her father as part of his collection which he started when he was in his twenties.
“There are now about 500 pieces in his collection,” she explained to Runjeet.
Her father bought the daggers she presented to antiques expert Ranjeet in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ranjeet said: “That was the golden age of collecting. But I know your father and I have dealt with him over the last few years and I know these objects were brought probably when I was at school, and they’re wonderful.”
His particular favourite was a vicious looking South Indian Bichuwa, which translates to a scorpion sting, because of the curved shape of the blade.
“This handle tells the story of Sati who was married to Shiva, the Hindu God Shiva,” he explained.
The guest told Ranjeet her father spent about £10,000 on his collection, to which the expert informed her “he bought very well”.
He explained the scorpion dagger alone is now worth between £8,000 and £10,000.
The punch dagger is now worth approximately £30,000 to £35,000 he explained to the guest, as to which she replied: “Golly.”
The third item was “unique” and worth £30,000 to £40,000, Ranjeet said to his stunned guest who was lost for words.
“The total value we are looking at is £70,000 to £80,000 and that’s being conservative,” he said.