Right now, it is the most famous pencil in the world – and that’s saying something. Not sure what, but it’s saying something.
It is, of course, the pencil stolen from right under the royal noses of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The thief is already well known to the authorities and everyone else – because she’s Camila Cabello.
The singer’s made a brazen confession to the crime, after being dared to steal it by Radio 1’s Greg James. The daylight robbery took place while the two were at Kensington Palace meeting the finalists of Radio 1’s Teen Hero Awards.
But while recovery of HRH’s HB may take time, is it possible to put a value on the stolen pencil – or is it too hot to handle?
If anyone knows, it’s Lee Young from the Antiques Roadshow.
“Intrinsically, the pencil’s worth very little,” says Lee – immediately risking ruining the story. But then he drops a bombshell.
“But with that provenance… you might get a few thousand pounds.”
While that sinks in, let’s have a look at Camila’s confession..
So, back to the valuation. In terms of description, we believe it to be a “small pencil, classic wood with no paint or branding, standard lead and recently sharpened”.
“The first thing we’d need to do is substantiate the story,” says Lee.
“If we believe the story, which we do, then there are some other key things. We could do some DNA checking – but that’s possibly a bit extreme in this case. But we’d look at general patina and wear and compare it to other pencils at the Palace.”
And Lee’s convinced it will make money because Prince William and Kate are loved “around the world”.
“With popular culture, this sort of thing is worth quite a lot. There’s a history of things like this being put up for sale online and people get very excited about it.”
Not that it’ll be easy to spot the real deal amongst all the fakes.
“Without doubt, the market is going to be flooded with fairly ordinary looking pencils claiming to have once belonged to the Duke and Duchess,” warns Lee.
Palace officials won’t be drawn on whether the royal couple are now reviewing their stationary cupboard security. As for Camila, Prince William and Kate have reacted to her confession, letting her know, they’re watching her…
Making a few quick quid is obviously an attractive option but it might be worth resisting the temptation. Lee says there are other examples of stationary, owned by people including former prime minister Winston Churchill that have sold for lots.
“Hold on to the pencil. In 50 or 100 years time, it might be worth considerably more than today because it’ll have the benefit of all the history.”
And anything with a royal connection comes with a price tag, according to Lee.
“Quite a few of Queen Victoria’s undergarments come onto the market. Some years ago, I sold a pair of her bloomers – and they made £6,000.”