John is enormously grateful for all the good wishes he received during his recent illness. Thankfully, after a short convalescence, John is now back at work full time. A series of health issues have made the past year somewhat difficult. In November a slipped disk and resulting sciatica meant John had to pull out of his Everest trek at the last minute, leaving wife Kristin to complete the trek to Base Camp alone. Then at Easter this year John was rushed to hospital in Cardiff, where he was diagnosed with heart failure. The reality is not nearly as bad as it sounds, but treatment has meant that a state-of-the-art pacemaker is now implanted in his chest.

John and Henry Sandon with Fiona Bruce at the Antiques Roadshow at Hartland Abbey

While he has to take things a little easy for a while, John was able to attend the latest two recordings of the BBC Antiques Roadshow, where on both occasions he made significant discoveries. John was also able to take the rostrum as auctioneer for the sale at Bonhams of the Helmut Joseph collection. As this involved selling a Meissen snuff box for £860,000, John would not have missed this for the world.

25th Jun, 2011

New Book Selling Well

I have always wanted to write a book about Meissen and I am delighted that my efforts came to fruition in the year that Meissen celebrated its 300th birthday. Meissen Porcelain, by John Sandon, is available from Shire Books. This is my third book in the new, all-colour Shire series, joining my books on British Porcelain and Worcester Porcelain. I am delighted that these have been remarkably well received all over the world. My aim is to encourage new collectors and these beautifully produced yet inexpensive Shire books really do the trick.

The latest series of the Antiques Roadshow has ended its run on Sunday Evenings. Although it was up against The X Factor on ITV, audience figures for the Roadahow were as strong as ever; Indeed, the final show in the series, looking back at series highlights, was the week’s most-watched BBC programme, even beating Eastenders.

Last day of Filming
The final programme in the series was recorded on 23 September 2010 in the magnificent setting of the nave of Winchester Cathedral. More than 3000 people queued for up to five hours to have their treasures evaluated by John and the other experts.

A very plain brown-glazed jug, bought for £1 in a Winchester junk shop, provided good news for its owner when John identified it as a Staffordshire piece made around 1730. John also filmed a Dresden monkey-band that had miraculously survived the Blitz with barely a scratch.

Kris Sandon helped out at the roadshow. She was in charge of ‘Limbo’—the waiting area where owners of interesting finds are gathered together while the production team decide which discoveries are exciting enough to be filmed.

Practicing Hill Climbing
Although making the Winchester Roadshow was exhausting, John and Kris spent part of the following day climbing the highest hill in the South Downs. With only five weeks to go before their Everest trek, they need to make the most of every opportunity to climb the landscape of Britain. A week earlier it was Pen-y Fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons.

Kris Sandon at base camp

In November 2010, Kris and John Sandon planned to embark on a trek to Everest Base Camp. Sadly John injured his back with just a few weeks to go and he was forced to pull out of the expedition. Not wishing to disappoint our charity, Lupus UK, Kris decided to proceed alone. Leaving John flat on his back, Kris flew via Katmandu to Lukla in Nepal, the world’s most dangerous airport. She then spent three weeks walking in the Himalayas, from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. The famous camp is at a height of 5360m, so although she did not climb the mountain itself, she made it to pretty near the top of the world. She survived the cold and the high altitude for an experience she will never forget.

While not a charity trek as such, as John is the patron of the Kent Lupus Group, Kris took the opportunity to raise money for Lupus UK.