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This is Antiques Master,
the contest to find
Britain's top amateur antiques expert.
Tonight, the battle continues,
as the country's finest antiques enthusiasts fight it out
at the magnificent Towneley 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 Antiques Master. I'm Sandi Toksvig
and this is the search for Britain's top amateur antiques enthusiast.
As the contest continues, we have three more enthusiastic
antiques buffs, whose knowledge we'll put to the test,
all under the eagle eye of our resident expert, Mr Eric Knowles.
But, of course, ultimately, only one can walk away with the title of Antiques Master 2011.
Let's get closer to finding out who that is, as we meet the contestants.
Mike Carroll, from Greater Manchester, loves the styling of the decorative arts.
My knowledge really comes from visiting antique fairs over the last 20 years.
Fran Budd, from Enfield. Her unusual passion is for antique soda siphons.
I mean, I look at them and I think they're just aesthetically so pleasing.
And Charles Ormrod from London. He's a keen collector of rare Sheffield Plate.
It's that element of searching that keeps a lot of people at it
and the adrenaline rush when you think you've found it.
But who will have what it takes to win a place in the semifinals
and move one step closer to becoming Antiques Master?
Their journey starts now.
Right, 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 and what you need to do is to study them and please tell us the following:
Which is the oldest, which is the most valuable and which one is the odd one out?
There's a total of 40 points available.
Ten points for each antique that you correctly identify
and there's 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.
Mike is up first.
His passion lies in the classic beauty of the decorative arts.
-And in your case, the odd one out is a reproduction.
I like this.
Well, it looks like a silver enamel necklace.
-Maybe 1903, sort of, period.
-That's fairly specific.
I think it could be a Charles Horner one, but I'd have to look at it. Liberty & Co.
-Why do you say that?
-It's a design that you get used to looking at.
-It's very popular, this one.
-OK, we'll pop that one back there.
Come and have a look at this lady here. Oh, looks heavy. Is it heavy?
-Yes, she's quite gorgeous, actually.
-What's she made of?
-Bronze, I'd say.
-It's the Art Nouveau style. Very typical. A maiden with flowing hair.
You get a lot of reproduction of this stuff, don't you?
-You do, you do.
-So, how can you tell if it's the real deal?
-I don't know. She's quite beautiful, though.
I think this is probably my favourite item.
-That is just stunning.
-I absolutely love this.
It's a Liberty Cymric range, designed by Archibald Knox.
-I'd put it in the 'very', yes.
Candlesticks. You are an electrical contractor, so hardly interested in candlesticks, are you?
-I am, actually.
-Oh, are you? So, you're always ready in case of a power cut?
-You never know!
-What about that colour?
-I'd say they're English.
-Is that typical, the colour?
-The colourways are typical of some of Minton's colourways.
And they've got a type, so they're like a number one and the condition's lovely, as well.
All right, you've got little bit of a chip. I think we can forgive that.
-We've all got a chip somewhere, haven't we?
-We probably have.
Best not to get into it.
Let's come on to the last item and what's it for?
Well, this isn't marked, but it's quite crudely finished underneath. I don't know.
If you're going to handle something it might sort of... Well, the patina would wear a little.
-Your patination, I've learnt this word.
-It still looks bronze.
We have to make some decisions. I say 'we,' Mike, it's up to you.
Shall we start with the one that you think is the reproduction that is, in fact, the odd one out?
-I'm going to go with this one.
-And is there a reasoning behind it?
-Just a feeling.
-OK, instinct is good. The oldest item?
-I'd go for these.
-And what do you think roughly?
-Roughly, in the 1890s this one.
-And the most valuable?
Are you going with your heart or with your head, Mikey?
-Everything. With everything!
You stand with me and find out from Eric if we can afford the clock.
A big range to cover, decorative arts, from sort of Victorian
through to Art Deco period. So you chose a big slice there. Let's start with the oldest.
You went with the pair of Minton Secessionist candlesticks, yes?
-You've got them down as the oldest. I haven't.
-I'm going here.
-I'm going here with a lovely French bronze.
It dates to 1895.
Candlesticks, in actual fact, dates to 1908.
So, having established that, we have to find that odd one out.
I mean, there was no hesitation, was there, at the end of the day?
-It was too fresh.
-Yes, but you are aware that
you can have an old bronze repatinated?
But it hasn't been repatinated, because you're absolutely right.
My 22-year-old son is older than that piece.
Ten points. Well done, Mike.
I'm looking for the most valuable. And you went for this.
Now, you said that this was Cymric Silver
but if you turn it upside down, it actually says under there,
-English Pewter. So that makes it what?
But even though it is Pewter, it is the most valuable.
Another ten points. Well done.
Now, there's a chance to earn a further ten, if you can tell us
the price of that beautiful clock...
-Oh, my gosh.
-..within 15% of the auction estimate.
I'm going to go
-£7,000, we are bid.
Well, it's good enough for me because we were looking for anything
-either side of £6,500.
So you get another ten points. Well done, Mike.
You sit down with 30 points.
Mike walks away with 30, out of a possible 40, points.
Will Fran spot the oldest, most valuable
and the odd one out in her specialism, antique soda siphons?
And in your case, the odd one out, the top and the bottom don't match.
-Does that make sense to you?
OK, what doesn't make sense to me is soda siphons.
Why would you pick this as your specialism?
Well, when I first saw one I thought it was quite aesthetically pleasing and rather beautiful.
Is this something you would have domestically or somewhere smarter, like a club?
Yes, probably and you could see them also in bars, where they would have some.
Yes, a proper establishment.
I put my hand in it. I thought it would be a fabricky thing but it's a proper wire mesh.
No, it's wire mesh because a lot of these things exploded.
I love the idea that in a quiet club - and then the soda siphon explodes and I think it's marvellous.
-You can see the rust coming off the wire.
-We're looking for the one where the top and the base don't match.
Yes, there are some shiny ones over there which I'd like to look at before I tell you.
-Let's move further on. This does have writing on it.
-This does. Let me see if I can read it.
-I can't see with my glasses on, so I'll take those off.
Let's have a look. Yes, this is 1901.
We love that it tells you how old it is.
That would fit in with the period, because advertising on these siphons didn't start till about 1900.
-Tiny bit of water in it actually, a tiny bit of soda.
-Shall we try it?
No, I think we'll move on! Now, another. Well, they're similar, aren't they, the first and middle?
-Yes, they were called 'gasogenes.'
-Yes, that's right.
Covered in wire mesh or in wicker. This is probably original, as well.
And the base and the top, we think they're meant to be?
-I think so.
-It's a perfect soda siphon marriage?
-I think so.
-We have to move along because I'm going to push you on time.
OK, this is a fairly modern thing.
Let's just have another look with your glass.
British Siphon. OK.
-All right. And the last one which is very pretty, but...
I think this is, this is fine because we've got Clayton on the top here.
-So you think they're going to marry together?
-We've got Clayton here so I imagine that's fine.
Now, we need to make some decisions. Let us find the odd one out.
The top and the base do not match.
That one, the top and the base don't match.
OK, the oldest, please?
-I'd say this is the oldest.
-This one is the oldest.
-And the most valuable?
-Has that put a fly in your otherwise perfect ointment?
-Does a bit.
-Decision? Most valuable? You can change it around.
-I think this is the most valuable.
Then that can't be both. They're mutually exclusive, so...
-The most valuable?
-No, this one the most valuable
-and that one the oldest.
-That one's the oldest. Are you happy with your decisions?
I'm afraid we are out of time.
Let's look for our oldest. You just couldn't make your mind up,
whether this was the oldest one or not?
It is the oldest one. A very wise move.
This French Seltzogenes, they're referred to as,
dates to 1885.
But the giveaway really is all in the mount, because this one has got a clamp.
And clamps are a slightly later feature.
Well, you get ten points for spotting the oldest, so well done.
We now have to look for an old top on a newer base.
-Again, you weren't 100% certain, were you?
-Not 100%, no.
No, well, you were absolutely right.
Another ten points.
This base is relatively recent,
but the top is actually from the 1920s.
Let me tell you that
the most valuable piece is the one in front of me.
Date-wise, by the way on this,
-just a tad later. This is around about 1890, 1900.
All three. 30 points.
Well done. You gain another ten points, for the full 40,
if you can tell me the price, within 15% of the estimate?
-I'd pay £300.
-£300, we are bid.
The price I've got here is anything either side of £125.
-Nevertheless, 30 points, very well done. Fran, thank you so much.
Fran has drawn level with Mike, on 30 points.
Charles finally takes his turn. Can his lifelong passion for Sheffield Plate
earn him 40 points and put him in the lead?
For the odd one out, one of these is not Old Sheffield Plate.
-What's special about Sheffield Plate?
-Modern silver plate is an electrochemical process,
whereas Sheffield Plate is a fuse procedure.
You take a block of copper, a sheet of silver,
put the two together, under heat and you roll that out flat
and then you make the objects out of that plated material.
-Let's have a look at this first object.
-Well, it's a cheese toaster.
-A cheese toaster?
-Handle and screws, hot water goes inside that cavity
to keep your cheese hot, while you were waiting to eat it.
So, this looks like it's correct, Old Sheffield plate.
It seems to have the right sort of symptoms. So, 1800 or 1810 or thereabouts.
Let's go on to the next one. This is something I do recognise, this next thing.
-Yes, this is a wine cooler.
-That's rather lovely, isn't it?
The whole look of it suggests something that's fairly Regency,
that sort of bulbous look and the fruit in vine and so forth.
Well, we have to move on to the next item.
-It's in the style of a coffee pot of 1760, thereabouts.
I'm guessing you think it's the odd one out?
It looks correct enough. It's just an odd find.
I can't find a seam, either.
Normally, you should be able to see a silver seam which I can't pick up.
-Oh, no, there it is.
-Oh, right, found the seam?
That is the seam, so that's perfectly correct.
OK, so it's a small coffee pot of some nature.
-Now, what's this?
-A waiter, I suppose you'd call it.
-It's plated on one side only.
Something slightly odd about these feet. You can see copper and they appear to be solid,
which suggests that's a piece of cast copper...
-..that has a silver surface, of some kind.
-Are we looking at the odd one out?
-It's possible. Let's keep looking.
On to the last one, because we are going to run out of time.
Ah ha, chamberstick. Oh, golly, something odd happened to the base.
I think this has been replated. You see that, that's a turned edge there?
-That's what you might see - the genuine Sheffield Plate items -
would be a technique used to hide the cut copper edge.
You wouldn't bother to do that if this was simply an electroplated item.
So, I think is originally genuine Old Sheffield Plate,
but it has been electroplated in later life.
We have to make some decisions or rather you are, Charles.
We'll start with the oldest. Which do you think is the oldest item?
Well, on the basis that we think this is genuine,
then I think this must be the oldest, about 1760.
Oh, all righty. Now, the most valuable?
It would have to be this very fine wine cooler, very sort of commercial thing.
It's in extraordinarily good condition.
Right, so that is the most valuable
and I'm going to ask you for the one that is not Old Sheffield Plate.
Well, I would say this is the odd one out, in that it has been
-electroplated in later life.
You come and stand with me and let's see what Eric has got to say.
Let us look for our oldest piece on here.
You've actually gone and placed it in front of me, as this coffee pot.
And the good news is, because it dates from 1775,
-it is the oldest piece.
-Well done, ten points, Charles.
Now, odd one out. It's interesting what you had to say
about later plated, but it's not my odd one out.
Believe it or not, it's your toaster, your cheese toaster.
This, in actual fact, dates from around 1860, and is actually
electroplated on copper, which leaves me with the most valuable.
Well, if size matters, and it doesn't in all cases,
but does in the case of this piece. It is our most valuable.
But there is a question coming your way.
You correctly assessed that it was the most valuable,
can you correctly assess the price?
What we're looking for is the auction estimate,
and we want it within 15%, please,
then you could gain another ten points.
Oh, shall we say £750, as a mid-estimate figure?
We're a little bit more adventurous, we were looking for one and a half.
Don't be downhearted. You've got 20 points. Well done, Charles.
So, let's have a look at the end of a gruelling first challenge.
The scores are Mike and Fran, you are in joint first place.
You both had 30 points.
And, Charles, you are in a very creditable second, with 20.
One of you will be leaving
at the end of the next challenge, but there's not much in it.
Let's go to the Green Room for a Place In Time.
In the second challenge, we've selected five antiques, all from different periods.
First, is a silver basket.
Next, a decorative ceramic plate.
The third item is an ornate clock,
followed by a glass.
A wooden toy completes the line up.
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 have its age assessed is the wooden toy.
It looks like a... Strange, it looks like a little toy to me.
-All right, how would you play it?
-I've no idea.
I suppose you would toss it up
and the idea was to see if you could catch it in the cup.
-Not much of a game, is it?
-No, not much of a game.
I don't know. It's a toy that you can lasso.
It does two things, it does that. Maybe do that.
Very, very early Victorian.
'The next item to be dated is the drinking glass.'
Would it be a cordial glass, perhaps? These little tiny ones.
-It's not much of a drink is it?
-No, I think you'd have one shot of something very alcoholic
and down it in one, I think was the idea.
With the air twists and the general look of it, it seems mid-18th century.
Oh, this is a pretty little glass.
Possibly 18th century, especially with the barley twist stem.
I don't know, 1740, 1760.
-Oh, so very, very... Gosh it's in jolly good condition.
-I like it.
'The third item on the timeline is the clock.'
It's tempting to see if it'll chime. I wonder whether it will?
Oh, this looks fairly late.
I'd say this is... Well, it's definitely 19th century,
especially with these bits of ceramic.
-Do you like it?
-It's a fine example.
Perhaps not one I might necessarily purchase but it is a fine example.
Very typical French mantel clock.
It's got very nice painted panels on it.
Late 19th century, early 20th century.
'The next artefact to be dated is the ceramic plate.'
-I think this is rather pretty.
-Do you want to look underneath?
-I would like to look underneath.
-Coalport, it says.
-But you sound like you don't believe it?!
No, I don't know that much about ceramics so...
Again this has got a 19th century feel to it.
This isn't my thing really at all but...
-Well, it's put me in the sort of circa date of that glass.
'The last antique that needs a place in time is the silver basket.'
-It's filigree Silver.
-It's filigree Silver?
-With a glass insert. I'd say it's an original liner for it.
Well, it looks to me like it's a London assay mark.
-Right. What do you see?
-It looks like a little panther head.
-Does that suggest London to you?
-I always say the two kitties. Yes, they're London, yes.
-So it's a piece of silver, it's before 1784.
-How do you know that?
-No duty mark.
-Oh, right, OK. What do you think it might have been for?
-Oh, right. That's a good idea, yes. Sugar beet, yes.
And this had a sort of mid-18th century feel about it, as well.
'It's decision time.
'They must now place the antiques in chronological order.'
-OK, let's put that in place.
-You did say go with my gut.
'Mike thinks the drinking glass is the earliest item.
'And Fran agrees.'
-Maybe it's the cup and ball?
'and places the wooden toy as the oldest.
'Opinions differ on what comes next.
'Charles thinks it's the silver basket.
'Mike opts for the ceramic plate and Fran thinks it's the clock.'
'There's further disagreement on what belongs in the middle of the timeline.
'Fran chooses the ceramic plate. Mike goes for the wooden toy.
'And Charles selects the drinking glass.'
Simply because glass probably didn't survive in large quantities
from early 18th century and...
'Fran and Mike both place the silver basket as the second latest.'
I'm going that way.
'Charles thinks it should be the ceramic plate.'
A bit too obvious for me that one really.
'Mike and Charles are confident the clock is the latest item.
'But Fran has her own opinions and picks the wooden toy.'
-Are you happy with your choices?
-Yes, I think so.
-Well done. Thank you so much.
'Time's up. But is anyone's timeline in the right order?'
Well, you've all three had a go at putting our five antiques
in the right place. Let's see who's been diligent with their dates. Eric?
Well, you all recognise an 18th century wine glass when you're confronted with them.
I say wine glass, cordial glass and dates to 1760, which is good news
as far as Fran and Mike are concerned because
-you made it the oldest.
-So you both get ten points.
What's next? Well, this little swing basket, which could have taken sweetmeats
or it could have even taken sugar. So, this is my next item.
It dates to 1777.
-So ten points to Charles.
-Right, next, what was I looking for?
This. The idea is that you've got to try and balance it
on the top of there, or if you're very clever, you turn it over
and you've got to try and get at the spike on that aperture.
But this, I can tell you, dates to 1820.
-Mike, you were on your own there with getting that one right. ten points.
But Mike you were a bit flummoxed by this particular tray.
For me, as a ceramics man, it's certainly rare when you get
berries and holly if you know it's there for the festive season.
And it beggars belief, looking at the things here,
that this is our least valuable item at £350.
So, date on this, 1835.
-And ten points there to Charles.
-So it leaves us with one clock.
It's not even bronze, it's gilt spelter, dates to round about 1900
and it is the most valuable item in front of you, worth £600.
Well, let's have a look and see what all that has done to our scores.
Mike, you had 30 points after the first challenge.
You've gained another 30 points. You're in the lead with 60 points.
Charles, you had 20 points and now you've gained another 30.
And so you are in second place with 50 points.
Fran, you had 30 points but I'm afraid you've only gained 10
and therefore, with 40 points, this is the end of your journey
towards the Antiques Master title.
-How are you feeling?
-I've had a great day so thank you very much.
-Good, well, it was a pleasure.
Charles and Mike. Only one of you will leave tonight
with a place in the semi-finals. Let's go through to the Red Room.
So, Charles and Mike, there is just one guaranteed place in the semi-finals.
It's the final challenge. A test of your general antiques knowledge
and I think a test of your nerve, as well.
I'm going to start with an open question.
You need to buzz if you know the answer and you get 5 points
if you get it right but 5 points off for a wrong answer.
If, however, you answer correctly, you will be able to choose
one of the five antique categories for a further question
that is worth ten points. But if you get that answer wrong,
the question will be passed over to the other contestant,
who gets a chance to steal five points off you.
So my advice to you is to choose wisely.
The round is going to end after two minutes or when all five antiques are out of play.
Now, at the moment, Mike, you've got 60 points.
Charles, you have got 50.
So I think everything is still to play for.
We'll start with an open question and the time starts now.
Which style of table, possibly named after an 18th century earl,
has two short drop leaves and often one or two drawers?
-Correct, please choose a category?
-In which decade did Thomas Sheraton begin to publish his book,
The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book?
-It's not correct. I'm going to pass it over.
The answer is 1790s. Open question, either of you can answer.
Introduced in the 1890s and creating a rainbow effect,
what is the name of the technique in which metallic salt is added to glass?
No, not correct. The answer was iridescence. Open question.
What name is given to a semi-fluid mixture of clay and water, applied to pottery?
-Correct. Please choose a category.
-Hester Bateman was one of the first silversmiths to employ
machinery powered by what method, enabling her to use silver
rolled to a thinner gauge than was then customary?
-Steam powered, absolutely correct. Open question.
The Pierotti and Montanari families were famous for producing what items in the 19th century?
-Correct. Please choose a category.
Succeeding Lancastrian ware, what name, inspired by Manchester,
was given to Pilkington's later range of glazes?
-No, I'm going to pass it over to Mike.
I don't know.
-The answer is Cunian...
-END OF ROUND MUSIC
That sound indicates that we are out of time but I can tell you after that impressive display
of knowledge the scores are as follows.
Mike, you have concluded with 55 points.
But Charles, you have 75 points, congratulations.
We will see you in the semis. And my commiserations to you, Mike.
-Charles, how are you feeling?
-Well, I'm delighted.
-I do feel I got a bit lucky there, I have to say.
-What do you reckon there, Eric?
Well, I don't call that luck. I just call it pretty good knowledge.
Well, do join us next time when three more determined amateur antiques enthusiasts
will be joining us to compete for the title of Antiques Master 2011.
I'm delighted. Oh, I am, really.
Delighted and a bit relieved that I didn't embarrass myself too much.
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