Martin Miller Obituary, Death Cause – It has been more than two decades since Judith Miller, who became a colleague of mine on Antiques Roadshow in 2007, first published any of my work. Her passing has left me in a state of shock. Judith was a writer, publisher, and television presenter. She lived from 1951 until her death in 2023. In addition to that, she was an obsessive fan of Bruce Springsteen.
Judith Cairns began her career in antiques in 1970, the same year that her future husband, Martin Miller, published the first first illustrated antiques pricing guide. Judith was born in the lowlands of Scotland, and Martin Miller produced Lyle’s Official Antiques Review. I have a clear recollection of it. Haha! Instead of using photographs, Lyle’s relied on rudimentary black-and-white sketches to depict the items that were prized.
Incomprehensibly awful when viewed through the lens of modern times, but it served as a model for what was to come. Miller’s Price Guides, which took Lyle’s place, went on to become a publishing phenomenon on a global scale and sold millions of copies. After Judith and Martin’s divorce in 1992, she went on to publish a total of one hundred books under her own name.
The guides enjoyed a mutually beneficial connection with the global passion for antiques, which saw them both fueling and feeding off the boom that swept the developed world up until roughly the year 2000, when it began to wane. This partnership was characterized by the presence of a symbiotic relationship. During the height of the market for MPGs, annual sales approached 400,000, with Barnes & Noble alone purchasing 165,000 copies for the US.
Around the year 2000 was the first time I worked with Judith. At that time, she had commissioned me to write the glass portions of the MPG. The connection lasted for a number of years, and throughout that time I collaborated with her on a number of separate projects. Despite this, I didn’t finally get the chance to talk to her until 2007, when she became a member of the Antiques Roadshow team as a ‘miscellaneous’ specialist.
Judith was a hard worker on the show and was considered a pro. She was also consistently one of the last people I saw with me at hotel bars on the nights before and after recording sessions, always with a glass of iced Pinot Grigio in one hand and a bottle in the other. And she was completely obsessed with Bruce Springsteen, traveling the world to see him perform live, going from city to city… to city.
She flashed a grin and answered with a number when she was asked how many times she had seen The Boss on his current tour. When asked how many times she had smiled, she responded, “Nine so far, and next month we have tickets for Rome, Vienna, and Budapest.” The city of Stockholm was beautiful!