Antique-based game show. Three semi-finalists, whose individual specialisms are antique jewellery, Sheffield plate and kitchenalia, test their antiques knowledge.
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This is Antiques Master,
the contest to find Britain's top amateur antiques expert.
For eight weeks, the country's finest antiques minds
were put to the test in a series of demanding challenges.
Now, as we reach the semi-finals,
the contest gets even tougher as the elite return to battle it out
in the stately Regency Rooms at Townley Hall in Burnley.
Their goal, a place in the final.
Hello, and welcome to Antiques Master.
I'm Sandi Toksvig and this is the search for Britain's top amateur antiques enthusiast.
Over the series, we have seen 24 contestants go into battle
and now just nine remain.
Tonight, in the first of our semi-finals,
three of those nine compete for just one place in the Antiques Master final,
all under the watchful eye of our resident antiques expert, Mr Eric Knowles.
They may be one step closer,
but ultimately just one will walk away with the title of the Antiques Master.
So let's meet tonight's semi-finalists.
Charlotte Howard from Wiltshire loves the timeless beauty of antique jewellery.
I really think I've got what it takes to become Antiques Master
as long as I stick to my gut instinct this time.
Charles Ormerod from London.
His specialism is Sheffield plate.
What I'm worried about with the other contestants
is that they might have a better general knowledge of antiques than me.
And Monica Evans from Warwickshire,
whose passion is the history of kitchenalia.
Of course, I want to win it very much indeed
and I should be delighted to do so.
But who will have what it takes to win a coveted place in the final
and move one step closer to becoming Antiques Master?
The journey continues.
Now, your first challenge is all about your antiques specialisms.
We know each of you has a different antiques passion
and we're going to put that specialist knowledge to the test.
Once again, we have scoured the country for five glorious examples
for each of you, and 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?
There's a total of 40 points available.
You get 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 to within 15% of the auction estimate.
So let's see who's got a real eye for detail.
Charlotte is the first to be tested.
Will her love of jewellery from the Regency period
through to Art Deco translate into points?
-And in your case, the odd one out is the only continental...
..piece. Let's have a look. I don't even know what that is.
It's a bracelet. This is woven hair, blonde hair.
-Yes, real hair.
A lot of people think hair in jewellery was to do with mourning
and so they think it came off a dead body, but a lot of it was to do with love.
This is probably a love token because of the stone.
I think it's paste,
but it could be pink sapphires and diamonds, possibly.
That one, it's Georgian.
-Well, early Regency, I would've said.
-OK, let's go on to the next one.
Now, this is very interesting.
-At first glance, you would think it was sort of neo-classical Georgian style.
But when you look closer, it's almost moving towards
the Art Nouveau aesthetic movement by the 1880s.
Actually, this one might be the continental one.
It feels slightly sort of Iberian, Spanish. I'm not sure.
-Now, your mum went a very long way in the previous series.
-Don't keep reminding me.
-Was she pleased with you?
-Yes, she was. The locks weren't changed.
Yes, I was still allowed home!
Oh, this is gorgeous. I've never seen one in the form of a crab.
-This is unusual.
-Why would you want a crab on your lapel?
Worse than crabs, people have spiders and bugs and all sorts.
It looks like a tourmaline in the centre. I don't think it's an emerald.
Or it could be a Russian diopside.
-A stone I've never heard of in a shape we've not seen often. Would it make it more valuable?
-We're going to run out of time...
-I'm rambling on.
Oh, this is a lovely piece of Art Nouveau jewellery. This is definitely English.
It's very restrained, very Liberty & Co.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-Yes, it's a Baroque pearl.
There's no mark on that, so I don't know who it was by, but there were many makers.
Most valuable? We don't know yet.
-All righty. Next one.
It looks like an Essex crystal from here.
The quartz is carved from behind and then painted backwards, if you know what I mean.
You start at the front of the painting,
so the little detail on his feathers, and then you go to the background.
Shall we start with the oldest?
Yes. I would probably go with...
-Either that or that.
But I'm hoping this is the continental one.
So that would make that one the oldest,
-no later than 1810, I would say.
-OK. Odd one out?
-I would say this is the continental one.
-Because of the design?
-And the most valuable.
-Well, I wish I knew Art Nouveau makers more.
If this was somebody special, it could be the most valuable one,
but this has got the best diamonds in it.
-But these are very collected, so I would probably...
-I'm going to have to hurry you.
I'll plump for that one. I hope it's by a really nice maker and Eric will tell me.
OK, you come and stand with me.
-Are you all right?
Let's look for our oldest.
And if I was to place the oldest myself on here,
-I would, I'd concur with you, I'd go with that.
Although we did think it was a little bit later.
You said no later than 1810. We had it 1820, but we're not...
-You're quibbling now.
-Quibble not, quibble not.
-Well, you get ten points for spotting the oldest, so well done.
When it comes to our odd one out,
I think if you'd have looked really carefully,
you would've found some little French marks on there
-and consequently absolutely right.
Now, where do we go for our most valuable?
Essex crystals can make big money depending on their subject.
-Pheasants, however, not the most attractive. So it's between the two.
-Because this has got precious stones.
-This has no precious stones.
-But could it have the pedigree?
-That's what I wondered.
I can tell you, had it been marked, that would've made a big difference.
But this has got all the credentials that I'm looking for.
The stone is actually a green emerald.
So it is the most valuable.
Nevertheless, we are nothing if not generous on Antiques Master.
We'd like to give you another five points.
But in return you need to give us the auction estimate of the most valuable, the crab.
-Within 15%, please.
We were hoping you might go that little bit further.
-We were looking for anything either side of £4,000.
Nevertheless, you get 20 very creditable points. Well done, Charlotte.
Charlotte walks away with 20 out of a possible 40 points.
Will Charles spot the oldest, most valuable and the odd one out
in his specialism, Sheffield plate?
And in your case, the odd one out is one isn't Old Sheffield Plate.
One isn't Old Sheffield Plate?
I'm trying to keep up with you.
A soup tureen, and it's quite late,
1840 or thereabouts
and it all looks right, but very florid.
-You like that?
It wouldn't be my favourite of the...
-We've got some wonderful things here.
-Hint of a sneer, OK.
-What have we got? We've got candlesticks, clearly.
Oh, it all comes apart. Oh, it's like a kit candlestick!
And sometimes these would build up so you could sort of extra branches in,
so you had a great sort of wedding cake tier of branches.
I love this idea. That's marvellous.
Now, this looks correct as well. We can see a silver edge here.
Let's have a look at the base.
That might be a Matthew Boulton piece.
Who's Matthew Boulton?
A big, big name in Sheffield plate.
-So you're an IT consultant, aren't you?
It's more writing and talking than making computers go.
I tried that when younger and I was rubbish at it.
-This is a dish cross.
-And what do you do with that?
You keep a dish warm with it and it's these feet that just...
I think we've got some problems here with these.
The way these are formed doesn't seem quite right.
-We're going to have to have a quick zoom along.
-What are they for?
-Sort of wine stands?
Mmm, so you can sort of shunt your bottle across the table
without scratching the table surface.
What are you looking for?
Just trying to get to a better idea of what's going on with this wire.
It's very unworn.
Perhaps they weren't big drinkers.
Or it could have been electroplated in later life, but...
You're hedging your bets. There's a lot of "mmm" going on.
-Now, this is...
-Whoa, very large.
Yes, like a small piece of Sheffield.
-Blimey, it's so heavy.
-Is it made of wood underneath?
-I guess that's just a frame.
-Somebody's taken a window frame and made it into a tray.
I've never seen anything quite like this before. Hang on, what's this?
And it's got a sort of funny, like an eagle, a double eagle.
-This could be something that I've never, ever seen before.
This could be Sheffield plate from overseas.
This could be, shall we say, Russian.
We are going to have to make some decisions
or rather you are, Charles, and we're going to start with the oldest item.
-Oh, that big, heavy sigh.
Oh, it's tough.
Hah! Let's say that's the oldest.
Right, OK, very good.
The odd one out, the one that is not Old Sheffield.
This, I feel, is continental.
-Right. So we're going to go for the Russian window?
-And finally, the most valuable.
-Not sure if that mark indicates Boulton or not.
Normally it's a sun, and it doesn't look like a sun. It's more like a...
Oh, it is, it is. It's a Boulton mark.
-The other one, most valuable?
OK, we're out of time.
Let's put you out of your misery
and get the expert opinion of Mr Eric Knowles.
Well, let's look for our oldest.
You had a few problems with this, didn't you? You didn't really...
-Still not sure.
-It has had repairs and that's what threw you, Charles.
But you were absolutely right. It dates to around about 1780.
-Well done, Charles. Ten points.
-Let's look for our odd one out.
I like it when people say, "I've not seen one like this before."
Usually, it points to the culprit.
It is continental and there's a little medallion in the centre.
The sort of thing that I've never personally ever seen
on English Plate, so absolutely right.
So 20 points so far.
So, I need to find out our most valuable.
These, you spotted the pedigree.
-It doesn't really get much better than Matthew Boulton, so it's the candlesticks.
Well, we will give you a further ten points
if you can tell me the auction estimate within 15%.
Er, it could still be a bit low ball,
but I'd say about 1,800, something like that.
Well, in actual fact, I was looking for 15% either side of £2,500.
Nevertheless, you get 30 points and you are in the lead. Well done.
Charles takes the lead with 30 points.
Monica is the last one up.
Can her fascination for the history of kitchenalia put her in first place?
For the odd one out, one of these is not kitchenalia.
-All right, what do you think this might be?
-Not quite sure.
-DN, which could be the Duke of Northumberland.
Oh, it's got lots of little compartments.
Oh, yes, it has liners in it of kinds.
Ha ha ha!
-It gets more exciting.
-What have we here?
-Well, I wish I knew.
It's really rough on the outside like a nutmeg grater,
-but I'm sure it's not that at all.
-Can I come back to that?
-You may, my love, you may. Let's go on.
-Now, this is a...
-Obviously for pounding something like peppercorns.
-What do you think that the wood is?
-I think it's Lignum vitae,
which quite decorative objects were made out of like wassail bowls.
All righty. Let us come on to another piece wood.
Now, this I do recognise.
It's a plate tilter.
You put your plate on to tip the sauces down.
Now, whether it would be used at table
or whether it would be used by a cook
-so that they could baste the sauce over...
-Oh, I see.
-That looks to me sort of anything from early 1800s
through to late Victorian.
I'm going to have to press you along. We always run out of time.
This is rather a sweet little nutcracker.
-Has it got a face on it?
-Yes, it's got a dear little face.
He opens his mouth and shuts it.
Do you know, in Denmark, where I come from, every Christmas I get out the nutcracker
and I have something similar to that shaped like a soldier.
It's funny you said that because it doesn't look English to me.
Ah, right. Possibly valuable?
-I wouldn't think it's particularly...
-Not particularly. All right. Next one.
Now, this is a lovely piece. It's got a lovely pattern around it.
-It doesn't open or anything?
I was thinking it was a pie form, but it doesn't stand very steady.
-Erm, I'm not absolutely sure.
Nevertheless, sure or not, we're going to have to make some decisions.
Shall we start with the oldest?
-..Er...I think possibly this is the oldest.
Sort of early 1700s.
OK. And now let's find the most valuable.
-I think I'm going to go for this one as the most valuable.
And the odd one out, the one that is not kitchenalia?
I think I'll go for this.
OK. You come and stand with me and I'm as keen as you are, I think, to find out what Eric has got to say.
So much of it is a mystery.
So let's look for our oldest object on here, because they all look old, don't they?
-But believe it or not, you were right.
-Oh, well done.
-It's a good start.
It is Lignum vitae. It's a very heavy wood and it is for grinding.
The date on that, believe it or not, 1670. Good start.
Now, we are looking for our odd one out, something here
that would never be in a kitchen, and this you would find in a tavern,
and it is for actually putting into a tankard
and knocking your dents out of your pewter tankard.
So, as such, it is our odd one out.
So that does leave us with the most valuable.
-In this box you might have found a few nutmegs.
And in these particular boxes...
It's a spice box. But is it the most valuable?
It's not. I can tell you right away.
You actually did make a comment about this nutcracker, and you said it's not particularly valuable.
It is particularly valuable.
-Because it's very early 18th century. It's English.
It's a little treasure.
Well, we will give you a further five points if you can tell us the auction estimate within 15%.
-We are in the league of £2,500.
Wow, I'm not surprised you didn't get that.
Fantastic. Well done, Monica.
You get ten points.
Thank you so much.
So let's have a look. At the end of a gruelling first challenge,
the scores are as follows.
Charles, you are in the lead with 30 points,
Charlotte, you have 20, and Monica, you have ten.
One will leave the contest
at the end of the next challenge, but what I do know about this game is it's anybody's at this point.
So let's go through 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 stylish bowl.
Next, a piece of treen.
Followed by a pair of ornate candlesticks,
then a glass vase.
A silver card case 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 silver card case.
-It's Victorian and it's made in Birmingham.
There's Victoria's head.
And it's made by somebody called NM.
And that looks like a picture of Windsor Castle.
Anything to do with the Royal Family was incredibly popular.
It's about 1840, 1850.
Oh, I wish I could remember the name of the maker and sound frightfully intelligent.
It's Nathaniel Mills.
So when was Mr Mills out and about?
Well, I suppose he was out and about mid-19th century.
The next item to be examined is the glass vase.
Two things come to me - either Art Deco 1920s, 1930s or modern 1980s.
-What can you see?
Oh, ha-ha. It is Lalique.
Oh, it's like being in an Agatha Christie.
Yes, yes, it is Lalique.
-Is there an R sitting under that little felt pad?
-I don't know.
I suspect there is, yeah.
That places it, I suppose, 1920-25.
The candlesticks now need a place on the timeline.
They're very rococo in style.
-There's a tiny mark that I can't really distinguish.
-All right, so...
It could be Rockingham or Chelsea, or something like that.
-This is a head-scratcher.
This looks like the kind of thing that could easily be
a Victorian reproduction of something and it all sits very flat, as well.
The glaze doesn't sort of bubble and run.
My mother will kill me because she knows a lot about porcelain.
But I don't have a great affinity with English porcelain. She looks 18th century.
She's not pretty-pretty, is she? She's got quite an angular face.
-A bit over-made-up.
-Yes. Not a problem I have, of course.
-Give us a guess here. Give us a guess.
The treen object is next to be dated.
Ah, it's got a hole in the bottom there.
-And this comes out.
It definitely turns into a cup.
Two tiny goblets.
-What on Earth is this?
Could it be sort of something to do with dice or...?
-I haven't the foggiest.
-Oh! I see.
Is it your own travelling egg cup?
-1820s, 1810, something like that.
-All righty. And finally...
The last antique that needs a place in time is the bowl.
It's very Art Nouveau, this particular piece.
It has that sort of organic form.
-It just says number 2586.
-Oh, that old one.
-It's almost a bit like Ruskin ware.
-Which would be when?
But I would date that from Art Nouveau, about early 1900s.
-Well, this looks like it's an Arts and Crafts item.
Perhaps a bit late in the Arts and Crafts period, maybe more like 1890.
Oh, it's obviously been in a museum, so it's quite valuable.
-How can you tell it's been in a museum?
-It's got museum marks on it.
-See, wherever that's come from.
So it's Pilkington or something.
-Which is when?
It's decision time.
They have one minute left to place the antiques in chronological order.
Yes, I'll put these as the earliest.
Monica opts for the candlesticks as earliest.
But Charles thinks the treen is the oldest item.
I think the honeymoon egg cups are next.
Charlotte and Monica agree again, and place the treen second earliest.
But Charles thinks the candlesticks belong in position two.
There's total agreement as they all place the silver card case
in the middle of the timeline.
And this is very Art Nouveau-ish.
The consensus continues as they put the bowl in penultimate position.
-They all complete the line-up by placing the glass vase as latest.
I'd hate to drop a Lalique.
With time running out, are the contestants happy with their decisions?
-Do you want to change your mind?
-No. I think we're OK.
No, I think I'm going to leave it like that. I'm not at all convinced.
-Are you happy?
-As happy as I'm likely to be.
Time's up. Charlotte and Monica's timelines are identical, but Charles disagrees.
Is either version in the correct order?
Right, you have all put your items in the correct chronological order. Well, you hope so. Let's find out.
Let's have a look at the oldest item that should be on that podium.
Well, I can tell you I was looking for
this pair of Derby figures dating to 1770.
And for those interested in 18th-century porcelain,
they'll be looking for these pad marks.
So that's my oldest.
So ten points to Monica, and ten points to Charlotte.
The card case.
There's no doubt about the date on that
because it's actually hallmarked 1840.
But, as for the castle on there,
I think you'll find it's Warwick rather than Windsor.
-And I can say that absolutely nobody got that one right.
And let's have a look at something that caused
a certain amount of consternation.
What you've got are two travelling egg cups.
So, date-wise on these, they are 1870,
and they are the least valuable of the items
that you see before you at £150.
And they're worth no points to anybody, I'm afraid.
It gets interesting at this end of the table, doesn't it?
This is Pilkington.
The Pilkington word was used. It dates to 1905.
And, as such, when it came to the latest,
it is Rene Lalique.
It is so Deco and dates from about 1925, maybe a tad later.
It's called Nanking,
and it is worth £8,000.
Well, let's see what all that has done to the scores,
because all three of you got the last two correct.
Charles, you came into this round with 30 points,
you have gained another 20, so you have 50 points.
Charlotte, you came into the round with 20 and have gained 30 points,
you're exactly the same as Charles and also have 50 points.
Monica, you had ten to begin with, you gained 30,
which leaves you with 40,
and, unfortunately, you won't be taking a place in the final.
-Have you had a good time?
-Oh, yes, indeed.
Well, how nice, and it's been a pleasure to meet you.
Now, the two of you, to your final challenge.
One of you will be leaving tonight with a place in the final.
Let's go through to the Red Room.
Right, Charlotte and Charles, one of you is two minutes away
from a place in the Antiques Master final, but who will it be?
I'm going to start with an open question.
Please buzz if you know the answer.
It's five points if you get it right,
but five points off for a wrong answer.
If you answer correctly,
you can choose one of the five categories for a further question worth ten points,
but get the answer wrong, the question will be passed over
to the other contestant, who might just steal five points away,
so choose wisely.
The round will end after two minutes
or when all five antiques are out of play.
Now, you both have 50 points,
so there is everything to play for, and the time starts now.
Mazarine, introduced at the Chelsea porcelain factory in 1756,
is an intense dark shade of what colour?
-Correct. Choose a category.
What is the name for this style of William Morris chair?
-I'm going to pass it over.
What name for spiral-turned legs popular in the mid-17th century
comes from a type of sweet?
Take five points away, the answer was Barley-sugar Twist.
The Capodimonte porcelain factory was founded in 1743
in a Royal palace close to which Italian city?
Naples. Please choose a category.
With whom did Straub & Son merge in 1880 to create WMF?
Not correct, Charlotte?
-The answer is Ritter & Company.
Who took over her family's silversmithing business
after the death of her husband in 1760?
The firm is noted for its Neoclassical tableware.
Correct. Choose a category.
Relating to the county where they were produced,
by what other name were the wares of Caughley known?
-No. Pass it over.
The Salopian China Company.
What name is usually given
to a pocketwatch with a hinged full cover?
A pear case?
MUSIC SIGNALS END OF THE ROUND
Incorrect, I'm afraid.
The answer was hunter, so you lose five points.
Let us see the final scores.
Charlotte, it looks like you're going to have a little turn,
-are you all right?
-Yeah, I might pass out in a minute.
Well, it was incredibly close.
There is just five points in it.
Charlotte, you conclude the competition with 50 points.
Charles has just beaten you with 55,
and that means, Charles, that you take the first place in our final.
Charlotte, I am so sorry, many commiserations.
Now, Charles, how are you feeling?
-Are you amazed?
I'm amazed, I can't believe it.
Well, let's get Eric's verdict.
I was on the edge of my seat there.
It was a near-run thing.
But congratulations and commiserations.
So, Charles is our very first finalist.
Join us next time for the second semi-final to find out
who will be joining him.
It's proving to be a very gripping contest to find out
who's going to be our 2011 Antiques Master.
Don't miss it.
To get in the final, I can't really believe it.
No, I'm still taking it in.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
The country's leading amateur antiques enthusiasts battle it out to become Britain's Antiques Master 2011 in a series presented by Sandi Toksvig and featuring antiques expert Eric Knowles.
In Towneley Hall, Burnley for the first semi-final, three competitors put their skill and knowledge to the test over three tough challenges. They are Charlotte Howard from Wiltshire, who loves the timeless beauty of antique jewellery, Charles Ormrod from London, whose specialism is Sheffield plate, and Monica Evans from Warwickshire, whose passion is the history of kitchenalia. But who will take that all-important place in the final and be one step closer to becoming Antiques Master 2011?