You never know what you're going to see on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow—the things people find buried in their attics are sometimes complete junk and other times breathtakingly valuable. A tiny notebook apparently falls toward the latter category, and the appraiser's reaction to it is garnering press. It was brought onto Sunday's show by a descendant of 18th-century antiquarian John Loveday, and the BBC reports it left expert Matthew Haley, head of books and manuscripts at Bonhams, "trembling," as he put it. It's a matchbox-sized notebook titled "Shakespeare: Comedies and Tragedies" that was written "in a 17th-century hand" featuring detailed "scientific, scholarly notes" in Latin. And while it's no van Dyck painting, Loveday estimated its worth at north of $35,000, reports the BBC.
The journal is so small it's basically illegible save the occasional word or phrase, but still, Haley says, it's "one of the best things" he's seen on the program "by a fairly good stretch." In the segment, Loveday explains just why it's so significant: If it is indeed a 17th-century hand, that means it was written "in the same century as Shakespeare. Anything from the same century as him is of huge influence." The Telegraph reports the author of the notebook was likely either attending Shakespeare's plays and taking notes or reading one of the limited printed editions of Shakespeare available at the time. "It's an extraordinary little object," says Haley. (This was one of the rare times Antiques Roadshow made a mistake.)