Antiques experts travel across the country, competing to make a profit at auction. Catherine Southon and Raj Bisram begin in Cambridge, ending up at an auction in Beccles, Suffolk.
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-It's the nation's favourite antiques experts...
-What a job.
-..with £200 each...
-You with me?
-..a classic car...
..and a goal to scour Britain for antiques.
The aim, to make the biggest profit at auction.
But it's no mean feat.
-There'll be worthy winners...
..and valiant losers.
So will it be the high road to glory or the slow road to disaster?
Have a good trip!
This is the Antiques Road Trip.
Today we begin a brand-new adventure in the east of England
with two Road Trip favourites, the charming Raj Bisram - very pink -
and the delightful Catherine Southon - just delightful.
-Are you looking forward to this trip?
I'm looking forward to being with you.
-Oh, you're very kind.
-This is new and this is all very cosy in here.
Yeah, looks a tad tight.
Raj, who runs a saleroom in Kent, bought his first antique aged just ten.
So what do you like to buy, then, Raj?
What are your favourite things to find?
That's a relief. Raj's rival on this journey, Catherine,
has worked in the world of antiques for over two decades,
including with me!
-I love everything.
I love being with you, Raj, I love antiques.
You know, that's only cos it's been five minutes.
No, I... Am I going to not enjoy this?
Give it 50 minutes and you'll be changing your tune.
No, I love this, this is great.
I wonder how long this cutesy camaraderie will last
before their competitive sides kick in.
Starting this trip with £200 each,
our experts will be zipping around in this 1967 MGB GT,
which even has its own nickname.
I'll give you a clue.
So what do we call weather that's grey and misty
and a little bit of rain?
-No, it's not called miserable.
It should be! Because that's what I call it.
It's called Foggy.
Oh, Foggy. Oh, yeah, I can see that.
Foggy and grey.
That's a shame, really, I think we should change the name, Raj,
-cos I don't...
-I don't like Foggy.
What shall we call it? Let's have our own name.
Our Road Trip kicks off in Cambridge and carries on around East Anglia,
then heads both north and west towards the Peak District
before taking us through the West Midlands
to finish up over 600 miles later in Bristol.
Today's leg kicks off in Cambridge
and will end at auction in Beccles, Suffolk. Wow.
This is the first time we've met.
-I have no idea about your little tactics.
-How do you work?
OK, I'm ruthless.
-No, I'm not. I'm not, I'm not at all, no, no.
I'm joking. I've decided this time I'm going to try, if it's possible,
to buy things I like.
I like your style, Raj.
-That sounds good.
-Sometimes you have to take a risk, don't you?
You do. Yeah, you do.
You can play safe all your life and...
-Shall we take risks, then, Raj?
-Let's take risks.
-Oh, right, then.
Our risky experts have arrived in the university city of Cambridge,
where they're pulling up at not one but two antique emporiums.
-I can't get out of this.
-I'll come and let you out.
-How do we get out?
-Hang on a second.
Oh, you're such a gent, Raj.
Isn't he just?
-Here we go.
-Oh, you're lovely. You know,
now you've started this you've got to do it all the time.
-Do you know that?
-Now, two shops.
-Where shall we go?
-Which one would you like?
Shall I go there and you go there?
-Good luck to you, as well.
-We may swap.
See you late... Oh, he's got a cheeky laugh!
-How you doing?
-Nice to meet you, I'm Bill.
The Hive has a wide range of antiques and curios on offer.
This is what we need in here, it's absolutely baking.
I like this.
One of the things which is great about it is the colour.
Really good striking colours,
which makes me think that once upon a time this must have been kept away
from the light, because it's not faded or anything, is it?
And the staining is quite minimal.
I think it's quite good.
So do I, this silk needlework is well worth a closer inspection.
You've got these sort of...
I mean, almost humanlike.
One on the ground and one climbing up the tree.
The colours are wonderful.
It could be late 18th century.
But it's been quite well done.
It's an interesting subject.
-It's very interesting.
-OK, you've got 195 on it,
which is pretty much all my budget.
I'll say! She's certainly game for taking a risk.
But what's the best, then? No monkey business.
Could you do, like, 150 or something?
I... I can find out for you but I doubt it.
While Bill makes that call,
next door it seems our other expert is being a little less impulsive.
I'm looking for something really old, an antique,
and there's a lot of collectables here but antique-wise...
..nothing that really, really grabs me yet, but it's early days yet.
In your own time, then, Raj.
I love cards. I love playing cards, I love doing tricks.
Here's an interesting little packet.
Wills Woodbine Cigarettes.
A lot of the cigarette companies used to provide the pubs with packs of cards.
He's such a joker!
Next door, Catherine's laid her cards on the table
and the dealer has agreed to £150 for the needlework.
It's still a hefty chunk of her budget, Mark.
If I buy it, it'll be the biggest risk I've ever taken
-at the beginning of a Road Trip.
-You're either going to make money...
Or...? Come on, give me the "or".
It could sell for 30 quid.
Oh, no, it's going to make a lot more than that.
Well, it should do. Do you know what? Raj,
when we were talking in the car earlier,
he said to me he sort of takes risks.
I don't think you'll be taking that big of a risk on this.
I'm going to go and ask him.
I'm going to run next door and check that he is taking risks.
-He's probably buying something for a fiver.
-Do you mind, Bill?
-Not at all.
-Back in a second.
-I'm not going anywhere.
Mind the step! Well done.
I come with a question.
-Are you going to be taking risks?
-I think every time you buy something,
you take a certain amount of risk.
But if you like it, go with your gut feeling.
I will do for certain.
Fantastic. That's what I want to hear, Raj.
-Good luck, then.
-Spend it all.
I hope YOU do!
Raj could be playing a very clever game here.
Is there any tiny amount you could take off, another £10?
Well, look, I'll take it off my own back.
It's not mine, as I said, but I'm going to say yes.
It's just a great thing and I think sometimes you've just
-got to go with it.
-Hopefully... I think you will do well with it.
-It's a good thing, isn't it?
-At 140, I think you will.
-Can I shake your hand?
Thank you so much. I'm... I'm in love with it.
You'd better be. That's a very, very pricey price for a first purchase.
I love it. Thank you.
Now, Raj, dealer Stephen has something he thinks you'll like.
I brought these lovely silver-plated candelabra over with me today.
They're quite... They're decorative, they're decorative,
-I'll give you that.
Early 20th century.
Are they a good maker, Elkington or something?
No, they're Viners.
Viners have an illustrious history as a family of silversmiths,
but by the time they made these they were into mass production.
Alpha Plate, Viners of Sheffield, England.
So they are pre-1915...
-..which makes them an antique.
-And what are you looking for for those?
-120 for the pair.
I'd like to be paying sort of around half that.
You know, I think at £50-£60...
£50 is good for me.
£50 it is.
-Thank you very much.
Thank you. My first buy on this trip.
As Raj pays for his purchase, look who's snuck in. Naughty!
Powder horn, I quite like that.
Interesting. Used to carry gunpowder which primed muzzle-loaded guns
in the old days. This one clearly came from a cow.
And then a steamer.
That's lovely as a nice planter.
Once upon a time it would have been used more as a steamer perhaps
for fish in a big country kitchen.
Interested in these but not at those prices.
Let me see what I can get.
You've got a powder horn that hasn't got a price on
and this has got very expensive on it.
-What can that be, the old planter?
-Can I just see...
I tell you what, could I make you an offer on both of them.
Well, you can but I have thrown people out before.
-Oh, don't throw me out.
-The powder horn...
-..final price £15.
The fish kettle, you can have that for £5.
-So that's £20. It's because I work in round numbers.
-It's got to be a no-brainer. Thank you, Catherine.
-Thank you very much.
-That's the quickest deal I've ever done in Cambridge.
You're not hanging about, girl.
That speedy sale sees Catherine blow a whopping £160
in her first morning. Right, Raj, what have you found, mate?
This is a picture. It's a print, actually,
of one of Scotland's most famous artists, Sir William Russell Flint,
and he had a fantastic life.
He went around the world painting beautiful women. What a job!
But what's really interesting is that there is a print here
of Sir William Russell Flint,
but it's done by his son and it's actually of him painting.
And his son was called Francis Flint,
and I don't think I've ever seen a picture by the son before.
Stephen, your services are required again.
It's got 39 on it, I can do that for 25.
What about 20?
-Yeah, why not?
-Is that unreasonable?
-No, that's fine.
Are you happy with that? Come on, Raj. We've got a deal.
-Put it there.
-We've got a deal.
-Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much.
-You're very welcome.
Raj has bought the candlesticks and the Flint print for
a total of £70.
Good-o. And it fits in the MG.
Back with Catherine,
and she's made her way to Prickwillow in Cambridgeshire.
Catherine's come to hear about the centuries-old battle
to control nature, and drain 400,000 hectares of land known as the Fens,
much of which is below sea level.
She's visiting the Prickwillow Drainage Engine Museum
to meet founder member Mike Penberth to learn more.
As I understand it, the Fens is known as a very fertile landscape.
I understand it hasn't always been that way.
So what was life really like for the people before the drainage?
Very wet and pretty tough.
It was quite an unhealthy environment.
There was forms of malaria, it would have been cold and pretty miserable.
So something had to be done, so when did that happen?
Well, there've been various attempts to drain the Fens,
but not very successful.
Around 1600 King Charles got Cornelius Vermuyden to come
from Holland. He'd had some success in draining the polders in Holland.
One of the most talented Dutch waterway and drainage engineers,
Cornelius Vermuyden successfully turned the waterlogged marsh
of fenland into profitable farmland.
What did Cornelius Vermuyden do?
He straightened the main river.
The main river that runs through the Fens is the Great Ouse.
It carried the water from Bedfordshire Hills straight through
the fen and out to sea, bypassing all the meandering that had gone on
-in the past when the rivers moved about with the seasons.
-How long did that take?
-Probably the best part of 100 years.
-It came either side of the Civil War.
There were prisoners of war being employed, so the Dutch,
Scottish, French, all played a part.
All done by hand.
Back then, though, in the 1600s, that was no easy task.
What happened after that? What was the next stage?
Well, the next stage was rather strange.
The drainage had taken the water out of the peat
and left the rivers higher than the land. The rivers had a hard bed,
it had a silt and gravel bed,
so they stayed where they were and the land shrank either side of them.
So, hold on, so if the rivers were above land,
then why aren't we underwater now? That doesn't make sense.
-We... We're now pumped.
The Fen is pumped.
That started in Vermuyden's time, pumping into the main rivers,
-with wind pumps.
-Oh, I see.
And then in the early 1800s we had steam engines
-and they were employed.
-I can see these amazing engines.
Presumably they power the pump.
Yes, that's right. This is a 250 horsepower
Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day, and that lifted 140 tonnes a minute...
-Oh, my goodness.
-..from the drain into the river.
Always keen to get stuck in,
Catherine's convinced engine operator John to give her a go
on this blast injection engine which was built in 1924.
ENGINE CLATTERS LOUDLY
-That's it, yes.
So is this the noise it would have made when this was pumping?
Oh, it sounds amazing, doesn't it?
Really fantastic, really good.
A great bit of machinery.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Thanks to Cornelius Vermuyden and machines like this,
there are more than 4,000 farms in the Fens which are still pumped
to this day, proving that while we may never be able to fully control
nature, it can be harnessed and improve the lives of many.
Raj, meanwhile, has motored 15 miles east to Newmarket in Suffolk.
This market town is considered by many as the home of British
horse racing, but Raj isn't here for a flutter on the old gee-gees.
No, no. He's here to shop at Treasures Antiques.
Go on, Raj, you know you want to.
-Oh, hi, there. Hi, Raj. How do you do?
Nice to meet you, Patrick, lovely to meet you.
-Yeah, good to meet you, too.
-Well, this looks like a busy shop.
You've got lots of things here, haven't you?
Yeah, it's a bit of an eclectic mix in here, Raj, bit of everything,
-really, we like to think.
-I'll go and have a wander round.
Yeah, please, have a wander. There's another floor upstairs, as well.
Originally the town fire station,
this shop has been selling antiques for nearly 30 years.
Lots of horsey things.
Stacks of horsey things.
Loads of riding boots but there's got to be something here.
This is quite a nice scalloped edge Chinese blue and white plate.
I mean, it's got lots going on in here.
Chinese is where it's at at the moment.
If you can find the right Chinese thing, you could do really well.
I mean, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill thing,
but it's in great condition. As you can see here,
we've got this lovely work on the back here.
I think it's rather decorative.
Something to consider, then.
Now, what else do you have, Patrick?
There's some quite interesting sort of old exhibition pieces here.
If you wanted something just a bit of fun.
Festival of Britain. What do you think's in here?
-You'd think so, wouldn't you?
Yeah, it looks like a... It looks like a medal box.
I wouldn't put money on it because actually it's a little bar of soap.
That's a bit different. I quite...
Don't tell me you've got a lot of money on this.
-No, no, I don't.
-That's going to be, what, a fiver?
I would think if you came up to £6, we might be able to have
-a deal on that.
-Sure. I've not seen soap for years!
What else have we got here? This is, like you said,
you said about a coin or a medal. This is actually a coin
from the Festival of Britain, celebrating 1951.
And maybe the two together.
What about £10 for the two?
If you made it £12, we've got a deal.
I'm not going to quibble over that. £12. Patrick, we've got a deal.
Thank you. Thank you.
What about that plate?
Ticketed at £39.
I think it's in fairly good condition, no chips or cracks.
What sort of offer would you like to make on it?
I'd be happy to give you sort of £15-20 for that.
I think if we did £20, we could have a deal on it.
-That's what I was thinking, that's what you mentioned.
Yeah. I'm not going to argue.
£20. We have a deal.
-We have a deal.
-Thank you very much indeed.
£32 bags Raj the two Festival of Britain pieces and the old plate.
Reunited, Raj has a confession for Catherine.
I prefer to be driven, to be honest.
Oh, do you? Would you like to swap?
-Would you like me to jump in?
-At some stage definitely, Catherine.
A man can dream. And it's time just to do that,
It's the next day and Raj's wish has been granted.
I feel I'm like a granny driving this.
I'm driving my little MG in first gear.
This is beautiful round here, though, isn't it?
It is lovely. I take you to all the best places, don't I, Raj?
You do. Look at that.
So far Catherine has secured three lots -
the 18th-century silk needlework,
the vintage tin steamer and the late-19th-century powder horn,
leaving her £40 to spend today.
Raj, meanwhile, has bagged four lots -
the early-20th-century candelabra,
the Francis Flint print,
the two Festival of Britain items and the old plate,
which means he still has £98 in one or other of his pink pockets.
Did you shop till you dropped yesterday?
I did a bit of shopping.
Yes. I want to see you take a risk, though, Raj.
Believe you me, I will take...
I take risks, Catherine. You don't have to worry about that.
-That's all right.
-OK, believe you me, by the time this week's out,
-you will have seen me take lots of risks.
Promises, promises, Raj.
This morning, our intrepid experts have journeyed
to Thetford in Norfolk, where Catherine and Raj are parting ways.
-Have a good day, Raj.
-See you later.
Yeah, bye. Drive carefully.
-I will try.
-See you later.
Raj has evaporated!
Well, well, Catherine's back on the road
and heading to Risby in Suffolk,
and already missing her rival.
Gosh, they've got close quickly.
He's a lovely person to have around, but I really miss him at the moment
because he's fantastic at helping me to change gear.
You see what I mean? I have problems with changing gear in this.
The gear stick is too small for me, and he's very good at reversing.
Raj, I love you.
Catherine's first shop of the day is Risby Barn Antique Centre,
home to over 30 dealers.
Oh, look, red trousers today.
Hello, there. Oh, that's what I like to see - a man polishing the silver.
Somebody's got to do it.
-You must be Richard.
-I am indeed.
Hi. Catherine. Nice to meet you.
This 16th-century barn has stock piled to its beams,
but Catherine has only got £40 left. What can she find?
Something alcoholic, perhaps.
Do people drink sherry any more?
I hate sherry.
Oh, this looks like quirky corner.
This looks like a good place to find a bargain.
Croquet sets. I always do well with croquet sets.
This has been in the bottom of someone's shed for a very long time.
We have four mallets.
I don't know if all of these are the right balls.
We've got a mixture of balls in here.
Richard, how are you at playing croquet?
Better than you may assume, actually.
-I have a set at home.
-Oh, have you? Right.
-My wife was a demon at it.
-We've got a mixture of balls here.
-How many wooden balls should we have?
Four balls, four mallets.
-And then the...
-Hoops and the stake.
Yeah. And we've got the hoops and the stake.
So we've just got a bit of a mishmash.
So this mishmash says 66.
66. What could this be?
What's the bottom line on this?
Well, speaking with Brian the other day, the dealer,
-he's had it a little while.
Has he had it a while? Could it be 25 quid?
I think you might be pushing it a bit at 25.
If you can squeeze 30, we'll do a deal at 30.
I'd love 25, just cos of the mishmash of balls.
-Special offer today, then. Go on.
Put it there. Thank you.
-I'd like to say I'll challenge you to a game but...
-Sounds like you're the pro.
Ah, but you're the pro-negotiator.
That kind discount means Catherine leaves with the croquet set
in the boot, and £15 in her pocket.
Raj meanwhile is still in Thetford.
This market town has been home to many influential
historic characters, including one of the most radical thinkers
and writers of the 1700s, Thomas Paine.
Raj is meeting Learning Officer Melissa Hawker to find out more.
It all started here in Thetford and possibly even on the streets
we're standing on. He saw a huge amount of public punishments
that were happening in the town - ducking stools, whipping posts,
even people on the gallows or in gibbets,
and it inspired him to think about, was this right?
Was this what should be happening?
What were the essential civil rights of every human?
I mean, he was known as a writer and a thinker.
When did he write his first works?
So his first pamphlet was written
when he was working as an excise officer. He had been unfairly sacked
from an earlier job doing the same thing, and when he received
another position he was asked by his fellow excise man to write
about the injustices that they were experiencing, and that was his first
pamphlet and put him sort of centre stage in that act of rebellion.
-Where did he go from there?
-He did lots of different jobs
and they say that he kind of failed at almost everything
he attempted, up until the age of 34,
when he had a chance meeting with Benjamin Franklin.
Future founding father of America, who advised Paine to go to America
and seek his fortune there and gave him a letter of introduction,
so he set sail at 34 to America, where he started
to write the pamphlets that are most famous today.
In 1776, Paine published Common Sense,
which advocated American independence from Britain.
It became a sensation and was credited with rousing the colonists into action.
When war broke out, Paine then wrote a series of pamphlets called
The American Crisis, with the aim of boosting public morale.
His words were used to inspire the troops.
There's a great account of them kind of huddling in fear,
waiting to take on this big battle with the British Army
and Paine reading his words to inspire them
and put the steel in them to go forth and fight
and achieve the freedom of America.
So in America he was a bit of a hero, but back home?
Ah. Not so much.
No, he was considered to be something of a traitor
and a lot of his works which spoke against the idea of a monarchy,
he said that the idea of a hereditary monarchy
was as ridiculous as the idea of a hereditary mathematician.
So they actually put up the price on his head
and tried him for seditious libel.
With the American revolution over, and unable to return to England,
Paine was lured to France, with its simmering revolution.
So he travelled there,
where he was given a hero's welcome
and taken into the French National Convention,
so part of their government. And this, to me, is brilliant -
shows that he is the typical Englishman abroad -
he refused to learn French.
He did really well for quite a long time, people thought he was amazing,
but, as I said, he's unafraid of upsetting anybody
when he saw something that he thought was wrong
and he didn't think it was right to execute the monarch.
And for this he was put into prison in the Luxembourg jail.
After 11 months of imprisonment, Paine was released
and went on to produce the last of his great pamphlets -
The Age Of Reason, arguing against organised religion.
On his return to America in 1802,
Paine came under constant assault by evangelical Christians
for his anti-religious writing,
and coupled with a bitter feud with George Washington,
his reputation was ruined.
He died in 1809 in New York.
Once a people's hero, only six mourners attended his funeral.
This Thetford man contributed profoundly to the American and French revolutions,
one of the most remarkable political writers of the modern world.
I mean, I've actually got a few lines from American Crisis here...
-..OK, which I think just are really, really good.
"These are the times that try men's souls but the harder the conflict,
"the more glorious the triumph.
"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
"It is dearness only that gives everything its value.
"Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods.
"And it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom
"should not be highly rated."
-I mean, they're great lines.
-It's very powerful, isn't it?
And it's interesting that President Obama,
when he gave his inaugural address in 2008, he actually chose
to quote those lines from the start of American Crisis,
so you got the first black president, you know,
calling back to Paine's words for his first address to the nation,
so I think it shows he's still relevant today.
Catherine, meanwhile, has made her way to Clare in Suffolk.
An old wool town, historic Clare is home to
Catherine's final shop of this leg.
-You all right, Catherine?
-Afternoon. Nice to meet you.
-And you are?
-Robin. Robin. Good to meet you.
The good news is that I've come to buy something in your shop.
-The bad news?
You've got no money.
You're good at this.
And I need to turn that into a profit.
Robin's unimpressed. Huh!
So Catherine's on the prowl for something special costing no more than £15.
Very, very, very good luck.
Good stuff. Shame I haven't got any money to spend!
I thought that said 25 there on this lovely little chick pin cushion.
-What have I got?
-It's realistically priced.
£15 won't be buying that!
I'll say. Anything actually affordable, Catherine?
This interests me.
This is tapered and it's...
Well, it's blooming heavy.
A seal, basically, I'd say. Mid-Victorian? I don't know.
Mid-Victorian seal and you've got all these different...
..bands and then you've got somebody's initials.
I can't quite make them out.
I love... I mean,
look at the amount of work that's gone into that for a seal.
That's actually quite special.
That is possibly doable.
This is Art Deco, so 1920s, sterling silver locket,
which you open up and then you put a little picture of your loved ones
inside. And what's on that?
The other piece...
Let's pop that back.
..which is also a possibility...
..is a thimble case.
And there are people who are interested in sewing these days.
These sewing accessories can make a fortune. But that's not very old.
I think that's modern.
But, again, it doesn't really excite me.
This excites me a bit more.
With three possibilities, Robin, you're required.
I like this. I do like this seal.
I think it's lovely. I think the amount of work...
Mid- to late-19th-century letter seal.
-It's quite nice. Yeah, it's an Art Deco locket.
-I can obviously do a bit on that price for you.
That's not a problem. The thimble case is a relatively modern piece.
-I know, isn't it?
-But there are collectors of sewing memorabilia.
-Yeah, there are.
-And it is silver.
Do you know what? My thought is probably to pass on that one
and do one of these two. Is there any chance that
I could have both of these for £15?
-Are you sure?
-Could I have that one for 15?
I will do the seal for 15.
-I can't do a penny less than that.
And this one for...? What's the bottom on that?
I'd do that for £5.
What do we go for? The £5 or the 15?
-Well... It's got to be done, hasn't it?
-You got to look at profit.
Haven't you? You have! And I'm going for...
-What are you going for?
-I'm going for that.
I thought you might. You've let your heart rule your mind.
I have to. I just love it.
Catherine's taken a risk, not for the first time on this trip,
and spent every penny of her pot.
Raj is playing catch up, and he's made his way to Bury St Edmunds.
Originally known as Beodericsworth,
nowadays the place is best known for brewing and malting...
..and antiques, hopefully.
Smoking Monkey Antiques.
-My name's Marcia.
-Hello, Marcia, I'm Raj.
-Hi, nice to meet you.
-You, too. You, too.
This quirky shop has an eclectic mix of antiques.
Raj has nearly £100 burning a hole in his pocket.
I wondered, is it possible that I could have a look at that vase?
-It's got 4th century Egyptian on it.
If this is indeed 1,600 years old, what a find!
All in one piece.
It would be one of the earliest things I've ever bought.
-The thing is, I don't know.
It's a real risk. Catherine said to me, "Take risks, Raj,"
-and I am a risk-taker.
-But am I that much of a risk-taker?
Especially as the ticket says £125.
-What were you thinking?
-If I could get that for £60, I'd take a risk.
-Are you sure?
-I want you to be happy as well.
No, no, I'm happy.
-I'm happy, yes.
Marcia, let's shake hands.
That final purchase means our experts are both bought up and it's time to reunite.
What do you know about the auction house we're going to?
Not a lot. I do know it's online.
-Oh, that's good. That's good.
-I think it's quite a country auction.
Right, you two, better go and get some shut eye, eh?
Kicking off from Cambridge our pair pootled the MGB GT
through Norfolk and Suffolk, aiming for an auction in Beccles.
This ancient market town boasts a 16th-century bell tower.
It took 40 years to build and stands 97 feet tall.
Established in more recent times is Durrants Auction Room,
hosts to today's sale. Lovely.
-Exciting, isn't it?
-Yeah, lovely building.
-First auction. Are you nervous?
-Oh, yes. No. Yes.
-No. Yes, yes, yes.
On this leg, Catherine bought five lots for auction,
spending every penny of her £200.
While Raj, well, he spent a total of £162 on his five lots.
But I wonder what they make of each other's lots, eh?
Well, this is really, really lovely.
Catherine paid £140 for it.
I think that's slightly risky, but the subject matter is really lovely.
This is either going to fly or it's just going to make its money back.
Oh, it smells a bit musty.
It doesn't smell great, but I think this is a great thing.
It comes with a crown for the Festival of Britain, which is
a bit boring. This should easily make him a nice tidy profit.
Well done, Raj.
The man with the gavel today is Nicholas Rudge.
What does he think of our experts' lots?
The pottery flask, a Roman period from the late 4th century,
it's unusual. It's still got the hook ring with it, as well,
and we expect that to make £50, £60 or more.
A late-18th-century powder horn in original condition.
It's unspoilt, it's the genuine article
and we expect that to sell quite well.
Well, let's find out, shall we?
With buyers online and in the room, our experts are taking their seats.
-It's you and me against the world.
-Here we are. Absolutely.
First up, it's Raj's old plate.
Ten? Yes, bids.
Definitely worth that, isn't it?
At £10. 10, 12. £12.
£12, front row. At 15. 15.
No. £15, the bid's in the middle. At £15.
-Going to sell at £15.
-Why are you smiling?
I think that's his shocked face.
Hard luck, old chap.
I'm worried about you.
You're worried about me, I'm worried about me!
Can Catherine take an early lead with her vintage steamer?
Fiver, then, anybody? Anyone a fiver?
You said it would make £20.
A fiver, surely. £5 bid.
-That's what I paid!
-£8, online bid.
At £8, the bid's online.
I'm going to sell, online, at eight.
-There you go.
£10. At £10, £10, £10.
-You're out online.
-You've doubled your money.
Second row bid at £10, thank you.
Someone knows her geraniums will look lovely in that
when she gets home.
They will indeed, and Catherine kicks off with a profit.
-Doubled your money.
Right, Raj, you're playing catch-up with your two items
from the Festival of Britain.
-10? £10 bid.
At £10, £10, £10, £10, £10, £10...
£12, 15. At 15, 18.
It's such good fun, this.
The bid's in the middle of the room, make no mistake, at £20.
That's all right.
Well, it washed its face.
Nice little earner there. Well done, Raj.
Don't you worry, Raj, don't you worry.
Next it's one of the lots that Catherine loved, her Victorian seal.
-£20 for it.
-£20 online bid.
-£20, £20, £20, £20...
22, 22, 25.
£25. 28, in the middle, at the back.
-Going to go online.
-I thought that would make more.
-35, 40, £40. £40.
-Oh! Oh, just in time.
-That shot up rather quickly.
-£40, online, the bid.
You're all out in the room.
-Wow, yeah, well done. Well done.
I really, really liked that.
Yeah, and I bet you liked the profit, too. Fantastic.
I'd like to have that in my collection.
-Somebody else has got it now.
Next up is Raj's Francis Flint print.
£30 bid online.
-Oh, well done.
-Into a profit.
-Five anywhere, then.
At £30. £30. Five anywhere? Anyone else want to join in?
-£30 it remains, and it's online.
-That's a shame.
Last chance, then.
Maiden bid of £30.
-Yeah, it was worth it.
It's a profit, but I expected it to do better than that, to be honest.
Suffolk's Flint fans will be kicking themselves.
Never mind, I've made a profit at last.
I can relax.
Catherine's vintage croquet set is up next.
-I've got two commission bids.
-Oh, I love you!
-I can start the bidding at £22, £25.
-Oh, that's what I paid.
-£25, eight, 30.
-£30 still with me.
-You're out online.
-You're out in the room.
Are you bidding? £35.
You've beaten me now.
£35, the bid's in the room.
You're out online, as well.
-That's all right.
-In the middle of the room at £30.
£40. Don't blame me.
At £40. 45, madam?
No. Online the bid, then, at £40.
I'm quite happy with that.
I think that was better than I thought.
Catherine's winning streak continues.
You've made a profit on everything so far, haven't you?
Yeah, I've done all right.
Right, Raj, you said you were a risk-taker -
will it pay off with your 4th-century Egyptian bottle?
I've got commission bids on this one
and I'm going to start the bidding at £65.
At £65. 70, five.
£75. £75. 80, fresh bidder.
£85 with me.
£90. I'm out.
Bid's in the middle of the room at £90.
At £90, in the middle of the room.
Make no mistake, I'm going to sell. You're out online, as well.
At £90. Thank you.
You are a bit of an Egyptologist on the quiet, aren't you?
Well done, risky Raj.
You're pretty hot, Raj. You're hot.
Can Catherine's luck continue with her powder horn?
£30, surely. £30 I'm bid.
£30, 35, madam?
35. 40. £40. 45. 50.
In the cafe at £50.
-In the cafe.
-That's a good price.
The bid's in the cafe, make no mistake, in the cafe at £50.
-I was right.
-You were right, actually.
You didn't jinx it.
I didn't jinx it - and £50, that's a good price.
Yeah, and a good profit.
She's on a roll.
I like being on this road trip with you, Raj.
Stick with me.
Time now for Raj's last lot, his early-20th-century candelabra.
-30, £30 bid.
-40, five. 50, five.
60. 65, 70.
-That was fantastic.
-80. Are you sure?
Shaking his head. It's the lady's bid seated.
Are you coming again? He is.
You've talked him into it. 85, 90.
No. Do you mean no this time?
-You don't. You don't mean no.
-At £90, seated bid.
Last chance. Are you coming again?
No. At £90.
-That was all right.
-That was OK.
Talk about ending on a high.
I'm back in the game, as I would say.
-I could be way out of the game in a minute, so I wouldn't worry.
It's their last lot, the priciest purchase of the trip -
Catherine's silk needlework.
Start me £100.
Start me 100.
Anybody £80, surely? 80.
I was hoping a couple of hundred on this.
No. 50, then, someone?
Bid. Five, 60.
-£60. 65, 70.
Five, 80. Five, 90.
-Got a long way to go.
-£100, and 10.
-No, it's such a good thing.
-Don't go, no.
Are you sure?
It's online now at £130.
-You're both out in the room.
-£130, the bid's online.
Oh, no. This is such a good buy.
-£130, the bid's online.
-Last chance at £130.
Oh, no, nearly there.
Now, that's a shame. Catherine finishes with her first loss,
but has she still done enough to beat Raj?
Well, I mean, I think we've both ended up with a profit.
-I think it's really close.
We're practically touching.
Exciting. Let's go.
Time to put them out of their misery and reveal who is today's winner.
Catherine started this leg with £200
and made a profit of £21.40 after auction costs,
leaving her £221.40 to spend on the next leg.
Raj started with the same amount and after auction costs he too gained
a profit, making £38.90 which means he's crowned today's king
and goes into the next leg with a fabulous £238.90.
We're both in profit. That's a great start, isn't it?
-That's a good start.
-I mean, there's very little in it, tiny amount,
not even worth mentioning, not really!
Next time on the Antiques Road Trip...
It's always the way, isn't it? You always want what you can't have.
If you'd said no, I was going to say I'd arm wrestle you for it.
You would lose.
..and sweet, sweet music.
HORN TOOTS TUNELESSLY
Raj Bisram and Catherine Southon begin a new antiquing adventure, each with £200 in their pockets. On this leg they kick off in Cambridge and end at an auction in Beccles, Suffolk.
Catherine detours to Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire, to find out the centuries-old battle to control nature and drain 400,000 hectares of land, known as the Fens. Raj heads to Thetford in Norfolk to learn all about one of the most radical thinkers and writers of the 1700s, who went on to influence both the American and French revolutions.
Catherine falls for an 18th-century silk tapestry and discovers a delightful Victorian letter seal. Meanwhile, Raj punts for a Francis Flint print and some silver candelabras. In a competitive race to be crowned winner of the first leg, will it be Queen Catherine or King Raj?