Posted on June 10, 2019
John Needham, 73, said he and his wife “lived on Ryvita for a month” after he bought the 1917 Vickers gun.
He took it to the show on Cromer Pier, Norfolk, where gun expert Robert Tilney said it made him “the happiest man”.
But he said it was worth “precisely nothing” because it was “not up to the current deactivation standard”. Speaking afterwards, Mr Needham disputed the valuation and said he believed alterations to the gun could make it worth more than £5,000.
The Vickers was a 250-round, water-cooled gun with a range of 4,500 yards (4,100m) which was adopted by the British Army as its standard machine gun in 1912.
Mr Needham, from Cromer, said: “I think the Ministry of Defence started releasing them from stores about 20 years ago, and I was watching them rapidly rise in price, so I thought I’ll get one while they’re reasonable.
“So I was quite pleased to get her [but] my wife was not over the moon.” Mr Tilney delivered his verdict on the show, filmed last summer.
He told Mr Needham: “You’ve paid £1,000 for your Vickers heavy machine gun, money well spent in my opinion – it is now worth precisely nothing.
“It has no value because it is not up to the current deactivation standard – you can’t even give it to somebody.”
Mr Needham said: “I love her because there’s history there – I’m not caring about the money at all.”