Antiques Roadshow guest shocked to learn value of John Lennon police helmet

Lennon had worn the helmet when being smuggled into the Birmingham Hippodrome for a 1963 concert

Beatles memorabilia auctioned

A guest on Antiques Roadshow was surprised to learn the value of a police helmet once worn by John Lennon.

The hit series returned to BBC One on Sunday night (3 January) with viewers tuning into the first episode of its 43rd season.

A woman who appeared on the programme brought in a police helmet that had belonged to her father, Ivor Gordon Russell, a police officer who had escorted The Beatles in 1963 when the band performed at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

She explained that the police sergeant at the time had a “wonderful idea” of dressing the band members like policemen in order to covertly “get them through the screaming girls”.

“John Lennon wore my father’s helmet. The paparazzi were out and took pictures,” she said. “They took them into the theatre without any problems.”

The officer’s daughter continued to tell the series’ presenters that her late father had said the iconic bandmates had been “so easygoing at that time” and “so much fun”.

As well as the helmet, she had also brought in a book that had been signed with the band’s autographs.

Presenter Marc Allum added: “This is an object with a great deal of provenance.” 

Gesturing to a photograph of the band members wearing the police helmets, Allum continued: “Here we have John Lennon in the middle doing the policeman salute. This is the actual helmet in the photograph on John Lennon’s head.”

He joked: “I can’t help feeling this helmet has a bit of John Lennon DNA on it and that’s what makes it so special."

Allum gave his estimation of the item’s value to be upwards of £5,000.

“I know you’re unlikely to sell it but I’m going to have a go at putting a good value on it because I think if this came up at a pop and rock memorabilia auction, it would go for between £5,000 and £8,000,” said the presenter.

The guest appeared shocked at the valuation, stating: “Wow, that’s lovely.”

Previous episodes of Antiques Roadshow are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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