Amateur antiques enthusiasts battle it out to become Antiques Master. Three contestants put their knowledge to the test at Towneley Hall in Burnley, Lancashire.
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This is Antiques Master -
the contest to find Britain's top amateur antiques expert.
Tonight the battle commences as the country's finest antiques
enthusiasts fight it out at the magnificent Townley Hall in Burnley.
They face a series of tough challenges,
testing their skills at identifying, dating and valuing antiques.
Ultimately, only one will be crowned Antiques Master.
Hello and welcome to a brand new series of Antiques Master.
I'm Sandi Toksvig, and tonight we're launching our 2011 search
for Britain's top amateur antiques enthusiast.
Over the next 12 weeks, our contestants will be put through their
paces as we test their knowledge and skill and sometimes even their nerve,
all under the eagle eye of our resident antiques expert, Mr Eric Knowles.
But of course, only one person can walk away with the title of Antiques Master.
So let the contest begin, as we meet our first three contestants.
Anthony Pritchard, from Hove, has a love affair with English furniture.
The idea of winning the title of Antiques Master would be fantastic.
It would depend I think on everybody else having amnesia on the day and me having a strong following wind.
Londoner Stella Brooker collects antique dolls.
There's so many different types of dolls.
Some can be quite hideous, I have to say, and others are beautiful.
And I've got a few hideous ones at home.
And 25-year-old plasterer Richard Cole has a passion for Chinese ceramics.
The thing about antiques I love is it's a bit like a treasure hunt
- you never really know what you're going to find.
But who will have what it takes to win a place in the semi-finals
and move one step closer to becoming Antiques Master?
The journey starts now.
Now, your first challenge is all about your antiques specialisms.
Each of you has a different antiques passion, and we're going to put that specialist knowledge to the test.
We have scoured the country for five glorious examples for each of you.
What you need to do is to study them and tell us the following - which is the oldest,
which is the most valuable and which one is the odd one out?
A total of 40 points available.
You get ten points for each antique that you correctly identify and you get an extra ten points
if you can tell us the price of the most valuable piece within 15% of the auction estimate.
So let's see who's got a real eye for detail.
First up is Anthony, whose antiques passion is Georgian to Victorian period furniture.
-Your odd one out is that it is out of the Georgian to Victorian time period.
-What indeed is that?
-Well, this is a whatnot.
-Is it a whatnot for nick-nacks?
-It's exactly that.
Exactly. And you put your pretty things on it.
-It's rather nice.
-Does this tell you something about its period?
Yes, this makes me think maybe William IV.
-Just a little period before Victoria.
-Well, do you like it?
-Oh, I love it.
Now let's come on to the next one.
It's a work box.
-Is it to do with sewing?
Yeah, and I'm absolutely ruined on the period. I can't get there yet.
It has a sort of continental elaboration to it that's throwing me slightly.
It could be one of the big Lancashire makers.
-It could be Maples.
-It could be local to this area?
-It just could be.
-Do you know what I love?
I love that it's obviously been carefully looked after,
there's still a little mark where somebody at some point has put their drink down.
That's the thing I love about antiques.
They were made to be used.
-Yes. No, it's wonderful.
-And it doesn't spoil them at all.
-So valuable or...?
Yes, I think it's really quite valuable, because it is ornate, it is interesting. It's lovely.
We have to hurry you along.
This is what's called a Pembroke table and you can use this almost anywhere.
They're terribly useful, you could write on it, you could even have tea round it.
-OK, and onto the next.
-This is really, erm...
-It might be out of period.
-Do you want to open it?
-Let me have a look in there.
-And I'm guessing it's some sort of stationery box, yeah.
-Oh, isn't that lovely?
-I think they're called bonheur du jour, which I guess means for early in the day.
But it may be called something else. Is it...? It's all one bit...
It's either going to be really old and interesting or it's out of period.
It may well at this stage be the odd man out.
Now then - even I know, it's a chair!
Yes, it looks very much like a chair!
And this is the kind of chair that was made in the early 18th century
before the sort of Chippendale, big 1760 thing came in and we moved into the sort of Rococo.
And this is I'd say definitely the first half of the 18th century.
-So it fits within the Georgian to Victorian?
Which do you think is the oldest of these five rather handsome pieces?
I'm going to go this as the oldest.
Now we're looking for the odd one out, the one that is not in the Georgian to Victorian time period...
Well, I'm going to take a punt and I'm going to say this one is later.
It's more sort of arts and craftsy.
-Right - most valuable?
-You love that one.
It has been a rare treat listening to you?
So you come and stand here next to me. Now, we listen to Mr Knowles.
You're looking for the oldest, you home in on the chair.
It's in solid walnut, so that is an indication that it should be early
18th century, because when you think of mahogany, you're thinking in the second half of the 18th century.
So it dates from 1735 and it is the oldest.
-Ten points straightaway.
-Just like that!
Odd one out - you've gone over here. This is Sheraton Revival.
Consequently, it's Edwardian.
It's about 1905, 1910 and it's well out of period.
So this is the odd one out.
-Another ten points.
-All right so far.
The most valuable - you weren't too sure about this, were you?
We're talking Gillows, and we're talking about 1840,
and it is our most valuable object on display.
So you've got 30 points now.
You could potentially get another ten if you can tell me the value of this
piece within 15% of the auction estimate.
Very near, but not near enough,
because we were looking for £6,000.
Nevertheless, it was a fantastic display of your knowledge.
You get 30 points.
Anthony sits down with 30 points.
Will Stella spot the oldest,
most valuable and the odd one out in her specialism, antique dolls?
Your odd one out is, it's the only 20th century doll.
Right, now, this is a beautiful doll. Paperweight eyes...
-What does that mean?
-It's a better quality of eye.
The French were very good at paperweight eyes.
Two of the best firms were Bru and Jumeau,
and I'm hoping, if I look at the back of her neck,
I'm hoping we have... Look at that.
Tete Jumeau. Brilliant.
-Is that good?
-Are you having a little tremor now?
Jumeau were just one of the best makers and they go into the detail.
We've got the little buckles on the shoe and a little fastening - beautiful, beautiful.
I'm going to move on. This one...
Oh, she's a tough cookie.
I'm guessing this one's German. It might be Kling,
although Kling does have I think a bell on the back of it,
but this one's older than this one.
-And what have we got here?
She looks a gentler soul.
-I don't like her.
That sounds awful, doesn't it?
What have we got on the back?
You have to watch the head sometimes and that's just got a four on, so it doesn't give you anything away.
Might be the odd one out?
-It just doesn't feel the age to it.
-You just don't like her, Stella.
-No. No, I don't like her. No, no, no.
-OK, next one.
But this one is a nice doll.
This is a French fashion doll.
-She's got fantastic earrings. I don't know if you can see.
Which is always a good sign.
She's got lovely blue eyes.
So how many dolls have you got at home?
-She's got a fan.
-But she is beautiful.
-Oh, I love that. That is lovely.
-Oh, that is fantastic.
-Now, what about this one here?
Look at him. He's gorgeous.
This doll here has got painted eyes.
-Most of them have had glass eyes.
-But he looks quite realistic.
They do. And it almost looks like a version of Kammer & Reinhardt
-but in a small version.
-What is that?
Kammer & Reinhardt, good make.
-It's got a star on. Kammer & Reinhardt.
-It is a Kammer & Reinhardt.
-That is good? Are you excited?
Yes, because I got it right before I looked at the mark.
We're going to have to move us along and why don't we start by finding the oldest?
-And what period are we going to suggest?
Let's find the most valuable.
Now, the odd one out?
That one because I don't like it.
She just looks made up and not quite right.
Come and stand here with me.
Let's see if Eric knows anything about dolls at all.
Looking for our oldest doll, I think the fashion gives it a little
bit away because you're absolutely right,
you are looking at a doll that dates from around about 1860.
The name we've got, and it's quite appropriate, is Simone.
-She looks like she would answer to Simone, doesn't she?
So that was a good start, Stella.
Ten points. Well, done.
Now we're looking for our odd one out.
You took an instant dislike to this girl.
I think your heart might have been ruling your head.
It's him, isn't it?
It's him. We were looking for...
-Kammer & Reinhardt.
-..something that was going to be out of period.
This little chap was around in 1910, so this is our odd one out.
We now have to look for the most valuable and you went straight for her.
The eyes just lured you in.
-Can I take her home?
-No, you can't, because believe it or not...
-It's the one I hated!
-The one you hated is the most valuable.
She is a Jumeau.
She dates to 1880, so this is the most valuable.
Now here is the thing, you've got ten points.
-We're going to give you another five...
..if you can tell me the value within 15% of the auction estimate.
-I'll go for £5,000.
I probably overcooked the cookie, but never mind.
-We were looking for £3,500.
-Oh, were you?
I still wouldn't take her home.
Well, you do take home your ten points though, Stella.
Thank you very much.
Stella takes ten points out of the maximum 40.
Will Richard's passion for Chinese ceramics shine through?
Your odd one out is that it's a modern copy.
What would you look for to know that it was original
and not a modern copy?
I've got to look at the bottom. It's got this double ring mark.
This is looking like a modern copy.
But the double ring mark is early 18th century mark used on porcelain.
But Chinese is so difficult because they're copying it and the copies are fantastic.
So possibly the odd one out. Shall we move on to the next one?
This is an export piece. It's Yung Chen, which is 1723 to 1735.
What gives that away?
The enamel. It's...
And like the foot and the potting.
Could it be the oldest?
No, because this is a Wucai jar,
which... Wucai is five colours.
Transitional period, 1620. Fantastic thing.
It would have had a lid on it. I've got one myself, which is
-You like it?
-I do. That's a good piece, yes.
-So that's potentially the oldest, this one here?
-Because if this is right, this is Tang Dynasty.
-So you think this might be the oldest?
-Yes, that's the oldest. That's 620.
It's not 620 years old - it's from 620?
-Yes, it's from 600 AD.
This looks very traditional in terms of what...
Yes, this is Ch'ien-lung export ware.
It's 18th century but it's a pretty standard thing.
And if you go to an auction sale, it will set you back about £150.
-OK - still a beautiful thing.
Let's start with our odd one out - which is the copy?
-Still going to go for the one with the circles on the bottom?
The oldest, are we sticking with the little tiny pot?
-Yeah, the Tang piece, yeah.
-And the most valuable?
-I'm going to go with the Wucai jar.
-You come and stand next to me.
And Eric, let us know the truth.
Let's look for our oldest piece.
You sort of went straight for this, because you knew
full well that if it was right then it was going to be at least 600 AD,
but what if it was an odd one out?
Well, the good news is, it's not our odd one out - it's our oldest.
-Ten points. Well, done.
-We now look for our odd one out.
You've gone over here and, if you were to look at the decoration and the colours
that have been used, would tell you instantly that this was either
19th century or relatively modern day.
We think this is mid-to-late 20th century.
So as such, it is our odd one out.
Oh, well done, another ten points.
So where's my most valuable?
I can tell you now that this dates to anywhere between 1620 and 1640.
It belongs to a period of porcelain that's called Transitional,
in between the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning
of the Ching Dynasty - and as such it's our most valuable.
So you've got 30 points. Well done.
And you could get a further ten if you can tell me
the price of our most valuable pot within 15% of the auction estimate.
£4,250 - very, very precise.
I would like it to have been a bit more precise, nearer the £6,000 mark.
Nevertheless, you go away with a fantastically creditable 30 points.
Well done, Richard, thank you.
At the end of that first challenge, I can tell you that the scores are
- Richard and Anthony are in joint first place, both have 30 points,
closely followed by Stella, who has ten points.
Now one of you will be leaving the contest at the end of the next
challenge, but there is not a lot in it point-wise.
So let's go through to the Green Room for a place in time.
In the second of tonight's three challenges,
we've selected five antiques, all from different periods.
The first is an unusual piece of treen.
Then, a ceramic jug.
Next, a silver creamer.
Followed by a plate.
And finally, a wine decanter.
The antiques have been placed in random order.
Each contestant has five minutes to assess and position
them from earliest to latest on the Antiques Master timeline.
Ten points will be awarded for each one they get right.
The first item to inspect is the wine decanter, valued at £500.
It's a very ornate piece.
The only thing I can think of is German-Austrian,
It's got that heavy feeling to it.
Probably hand-blown glass and then wheel-etched on the sides.
It looks early, just stylistically.
It's a bit Gothic, I suppose.
It's got an old cork stopper.
I think it would be very early or very late, which isn't really giving away much, is it?
That's not all that helpful!
It just intrigues me.
The next item that needs a place on the timeline is the plate, with an auction value of £250.
I know when they have these sort of lovely little birds and flowers in odd places,
it can cover up some blemishes,
but there's nothing to help me.
Yes, this is Chelsea Porcelain.
It would normally have a red anchor mark, hand-decorated.
This is polychrome enamels on it.
You get three small indentations where it was fired
and it dates from about 1750.
It feels quite old.
It feels like almost as early as Frankenthal, something like that.
-What does that mean?
-Sort of 1790s.
The silver creamer is next up for inspection.
Now we've got a little milk jug, with three lovely little eggs.
-A mark, a mark.
-We've got a mark.
I'm hoping that's a Chester mark. I want to say Georgian.
This looks like a Georgian shape.
I'm looking for a King George on it.
I've got a Newcastle and I've got a silver...
So it's made in Newcastle. But there isn't a King George.
-Not that I can see.
-So what does that mean?
It either means it's rubbed off
or it means it's later.
It was made in Chester. I think that's the Chester mark anyway.
It's a very similar style that you would find in 18th century stuff,
but I think this is probably around 1920-ish.
The fourth piece they must date is the ceramic jug.
Now this is very obviously a piece of Moorcroft, but how early?
I'm going to be careful not to drop this.
A Moorcroft made in England, which means it has to be after 1891.
-So that's good.
-Which is good because I've got a date.
-It's heavy. It is Moorcroft.
-Does that tell you something about...?
-I think it makes it the most modern thing we've seen so far.
Because it was manufactured in the 1910 onwards, I'm thinking.
I think this is a slightly later piece of Moorcroft.
Obviously when it was William Moorcroft, there would be a Macintyre mark,
but this might possibly be a Walter Moorcroft, which was William's son, probably 1920s.
The last item is the mysterious piece of treen.
-I absolutely haven't a clue what it is.
-It rattles when you move it.
It rattles. I just haven't a clue.
-What might you do with it?
-Well, I'd say a back scratch.
But I'm sure that's too silly.
It's a lovely piece of wood.
It's got a gorgeous, lovely little crocodile at
the front of it though I wouldn't like to get too close to his teeth.
It's beautifully carved.
Hook on the end to obviously fasten it with something.
I'm being very careful with it because it looks as though it has some age.
Looks like a bit of tribal art.
It looks like it's got a little crocodile's head on it and...
-Some African wood, which might be mahogany.
I think that might probably be the most recent piece.
It's decision time. They have just one minute left to place the antiques in chronological order.
Ten points are on offer for each one correctly placed on the Antiques Master timeline.
I'm going to move the Chelsea plate to the earliest.
Richard places the plate in the earliest position. Stella agrees.
-I'm going to go for the plate being the oldest item.
Some time in the 18th century.
But Anthony goes with the wine decanter as the earliest item.
I'm going to start with it here.
Richard places the decanter as second oldest on the timeline.
Stella goes with the mystery wooden object.
And Anthony thinks the silver jug is the second earliest.
I'm going to put the jug back into the 18th century.
I'm going to stick that there.
Richard thinks the carved wood belongs in the middle of the timeline.
Anthony disagrees and goes with the plate.
And the plate?
Late 18th into early 19th.
And Stella leaves the silver jug in the middle.
I think I'm going to keep him there.
But Richard places it in the penultimate position.
I'm going to put that there.
Anthony is unsure but goes with the wooden object as second youngest.
Curiosity, I'm hedging my bets, I don't think it's as old as that.
Stella thinks it's the wine decanter.
But they all agree that the Moorcroft is the latest antique.
This is my latest and this is going to be my final choice, so that one's there.
Time is running out.
Last chance to move things.
I'd like to have completely different objects and start again!
Time's up, but is anyone's timeline in the correct order?
Let's find out exactly where everything belongs, with Eric.
Let's start back in the 18th century,
and what would I find in 1755 but one plate?
Chelsea, red anchor period.
The shape itself, pure silver shape.
So that's my starter.
Ten points to Stella and to Richard.
What came next?
Pay attention! And you, and you! This is a teacher's pointer.
Date-wise, we are in about 1850.
It's very much a one of.
I doubt you'll see another in a hurry.
Ten points to Stella.
Where would we go next?
We have something that
in all fairness you would assume to be maybe
16th or early 17th century, but appearances are somewhat deceptive.
This is a Renaissance piece
made in 1890 and probably
either in Germany or Austria.
And I'm afraid it fooled everybody.
So, we've got two pieces.
Stylistically, that's a lovely little Georgian cream jug.
Now the marks on the base tell me that this dates from 1895,
and I can tell you that it is the least valuable
of the items in front of you.
This is worth £200.
So ten points just to Richard.
And finally, we move to the year 1917,
and you were all bang on for Moorcroft.
It says it on the base, for goodness' sake!
It's a very rare shape and it is the most valuable item
that we have before you today, because this is worth £6,000.
Well, let's see what all of that has done to our scores.
Now Richard, you started with 30 points from the first challenge.
You have gained yourself another 30 points, so you have 60 and you
will be going through to the final challenge. What about the other two?
Well, you rather swapped over.
Because Stella, you had ten points to start with,
but you have gained 30, so you now have 40.
Anthony, you had 30 to start with,
you've only gained ten, so you also have 40.
So we find ourselves in a tiebreak situation.
What we are going to do, Eric has returned to the Chelsea plate
and I would ask you, Stella and Anthony,
to please give me your guess at its value based on an auction estimate,
and whoever is closest to the actual value will be going through.
Let's find out what you thought. Anthony, what value did you place on the plate?
-£420. And Stella?
£150. You crossed out £1,250...
-Oh, OK, and you went for £150. Who is closest?
Stella, you are the closest.
We were actually looking for £250.
So you would have got it exactly on the money.
Anthony, I am so sorry your journey finishes here.
I do hope you've had a good time.
-I've had a great time.
-P pleasure to meet you.
You, Stella and Richard, have got a bit more work to do, I'm afraid,
so we'll go through to the Red Room for your final challenge.
So Richard and Stella, there is just one guaranteed place in the semi-finals up for grabs.
It's time for your final challenge.
Now here we have five absolutely gorgeous antiques.
I'm going to start with an open question.
Please will you buzz if you know the answer -
five points if you get it right, five points off for a wrong answer.
If you do answer correctly, you will be able to choose one
of the five antique categories for a further question worth ten points.
If you get that answer wrong, the question is passed over to
the other contestant who gets a chance to steal five points.
The round will end after two minutes or when all five antiques are out of play.
Now at the moment, Richard, you're in the lead with 60 points. And Stella, you've got 40.
But it's not a very big gap - there is everything still to play for.
We're going to start with an open question and the time starts now.
Which pottery company was founded in Shropshire in the 1790s by John Rose?
-No, the answer is Coalport.
A crowned harp has been the hallmark of which European Assay Office since 1637?
-Correct. Choose a category.
In 1912, what was the Steiff morning bear created to commemorate?
The sinking of the Titanic.
Correct. Open question.
What name of French origin is given to large, glazed, decorative pots or stands used to display plants
like Aspidistra and ferns indoors in Victorian times?
-Please choose a category.
By what name was the painter who worked alongside Lorenzl decorating
statuettes with cold-painted floral detail usually known?
-Going to pass it to Richard.
-The answer is Crejo.
Bruin was an early name for the stuffed toys that were
later better known by what name first recorded in 1906?
-Correct. Choose a category.
What was the name of the studio that initially sold on Knox's designs to Liberty & Company?
Tudric - I can't think of anything else.
Not correct. Richard, do you have any idea?
-It was called Silver or Silver Studio.
Open question, either of you can answer.
What name is given to a dining room stand with either two or three revolving circular trays?
-A dumb waiter.
-Correct. Choose a category.
In 1775, which monarch granted the Crown Derby factory the rare honour
of being able to incorporate a crown into their back stamp?
-William and Mary.
-William and Mary is not correct. I'm going to pass it to Richard...
I haven't got a clue.
The answer was George III.
Well, it is amazing how the scores can move around and I can tell you
after that, Richard, you have 55 points, but Stella,
you have pipped him at the post, you have got 70 points and you take the first space
in our semi-finals in what is already looking like a thrilling contest to find our Antiques Master of 2011.
-How are you feeling?
Well, Richard, we may well be seeing you again because this year our highest scoring runner-up from
across the series will complete the line up for our semi-finals.
Let's get Eric's verdict.
Well, Stella, it doesn't matter where you start from in this business,
but it's where you end up, so congratulations.
Do join us next week when three more determined antiques buffs will be
competing for the title of Antiques Master.
I'm flabbergasted about winning especially with the two chaps I was against.
I'm just really grateful to get through.
The country's leading amateur antiques enthusiasts battle it out to become Britain's Antiques Master 2011 in this opening episode of the second series presented by Sandi Toksvig and featuring antiques expert Eric Knowles.
In this episode three contestants put their skill and knowledge to the test over three tough challenges at Towneley Hall in Burnley, Lancashire. Richard Cole, a 25-year-old plasterer, specialises in Chinese ceramics; Anthony Pritchard from Hove has a love affair with English furniture and Londoner Stella Brooker collects antique dolls. But who will take that all important place in the semi-finals and move one step closer to becoming Antiques Master 2011?