Antiques experts James Braxton and Thomas Plant continue their tour of north east England. James sees a collection of rare mineral sculptures made by 19th-century miners.
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The nation's favourite antiques experts, £200 each and one big challenge.
Who can make the most money buying and selling antiques as they scour the UK?
-I don't mean to drive a hard bargain!
-The aim is, trade up and hope each antique turns a profit.
But it's not as easy as it sounds and there can only be one winner.
Punching the air!
Will it be the highway to success or the B-road to bankruptcy?
I will be like Rocky - I'm going to come from behind.
This is the Antiques Road Trip. Yeah!
Our two antiques experts this week, looking like bandits, are James Braxton and Thomas Plant.
-Glorious day, isn't it?
-So where are we off to today?
Auctioneer and surveyor James Braxton loves handsome little items and knows how to get what he wants.
I'm not a hard man, I'm a desperate man.
Art Deco and Art Nouveau expert Thomas Plant has a great eye for objects,
even when they're a bit out of his league.
That's why it's good, that's why it's £350!
And, relatively new to the Road Trip, he's already started tormenting antiques dealers.
-You're a hard man.
-I'm not a hard man, I'm quite a nice man.
Both experts started the week with their £200 starter-packs
and we separated the men from the boys at auction in East Boldon on yesterday's show.
James had a strong start and proudly walked away with £318.48 to spend. Not bad!
Thomas, however, made a couple of schoolboy errors.
Well, you'll probably take that to your grave, Thomas, there we are.
So Thomas starts today's show a bit down, with £195.15.
Well, I'm very happy with my strategy because I had a good day.
Do you think it's going to continue? Your roll you're on?
Oh, I very much doubt it!
This week's Road Trip is around England's gorgeous North East.
On today's show, James and Thomas are leaving East Boldon
and hitting the antiques trail,
heading for auction in Darlington, County Durham.
First pin in the map today is Corbridge, Northumberland,
along Hadrian's Roman Wall.
Corbridge is a pretty old town all right,
growing from the original Roman town of Corstopitum.
But most of what we see today is 13th century. Lovely, isn't it?
Just like our experts, really. The shops are open. Time to split up and get spending.
Cor, it's cold out there.
Well, it's British summertime, isn't it? What did you expect, Thomas?
Arts and Crafts copper casket.
Firm attribution, because of the fish. £325.
That sort of money, I'm going to leave it.
I must revert back to type and look at silver and jewellery.
Wise choice, Thomas. Stick to what you know!
Today's shopping has only just begun and you're leading the charge.
These are military bugles for a military bugler but the problem is it's missing its mouthpiece.
-AIR RUSHES THROUGH
-..piece in it.
On the subject of blowing your own trumpet, how's James getting on?
A little Dachshund.
Running on the success of my mercury resting on a rock yesterday,
this is me, non-ferrous metals.
Lovely bronze fellow, good weight to it.
James clearly wants to emulate his great success with a bronze statue on yesterday's show.
But I don't think this little dog will be coming to the rescue.
Meanwhile, across the road, Thomas is making friends.
Hello, I'm Thomas. Bill?
-Margaret? Nice to meet you.
Could I have a look at something?
That's the great thing about the Antiques Road Trip - our experts get to travel around, meet lovely people
and then ruthlessly haggle with them till they drop.
Just have a look at this little funny thing.
This is probably a needle case actually,
a needle bucket, 19th century.
I quite like this bucket, it's quite sweet.
It is ivory. You can see the cross hatching within the grain.
It's a nice bit of work of art, really, isn't it?
Thomas, you really do like some strange little things.
A needle pot, designed as a bucket, made in France from ivory!
Ivory is technically legal to buy and sell
if it's of an appropriate age.
Only items made before 1947, when the conservation of elephants
quite rightly became an issue, are legally tradable.
What's your very best on that?
I've got a figure in mind so you tell me and then I'll tell you.
A rather interesting new tactic emerging here.
Make them guess what your terribly low offer's going to be.
Very sneaky, Thomas, and I like it!
Go on - 14?
It's very nicely done, and 14's a steal, isn't it?
Well, if it's a "steal" then Thomas will definitely take it.
In the meanwhile, any interesting purchases from James?
Nope, doesn't look like it.
Back to you, Thomas!
I'll have a look at that brooch in there if it's possible.
This is like an enamel.
You've got little flowers just there, and silver back.
Brooches are probably the oldest jewellery items known to man,
or indeed woman.
Dating way back to the Bronze Age as fasteners for smocks and cloaks,
they've come a long way to reach the design pinnacle
of a pretty lapel accessory such as this.
And according to Thomas they've got a big future at auction.
-If you don't buy it you'll regret it.
Simply because if you walk away, decide to come back and it's gone...
-Yeah, it's gone.
-Can't argue with that logic!
It's a thing of beauty. They're getting harder to come by.
They are, absolutely.
You've got 45, what would your best be?
-I would like 30.
Would you take 25 for it?
I'll take 28.
Well, obviously not, if Margaret's saying "28". Thomas!
Go on then, 25.
-So it's 39 for the two items?
-Thank you very much.
Another steal! Thomas clearly knows his jewellery and smalls.
He also knows how to pay very little for them.
James had better watch his back today.
Although it looks like he's now wandered into Thomas' marked territory. Risky!
-Have you come to have a look round?
-I'm going to have a look round.
-Really? Muscling in on my territory?
Rather nice Japanese Imari plate - very decorative.
Brings a bit of colour to a room, that. Or you have it on a table.
What's nice about it, you've got this scallop...this low border,
but the nice thing about it, it's a very asymmetric design.
Imari is a generic name for Japanese imported porcelain,
exported from, believe it or not, the port of Imari in Japan.
And Kakeimon is a style of enamel decoration on porcelain
dating from the early 17th century.
There was a lot of this asymmetry stuff first came over
and it wasn't selling terribly well in Europe.
And what they said is, "Look can you tell all your decorators
"to decorate similar to the silk panels that were selling well?"
And that's what they did,
so they influenced what was being manufactured.
I think I'm in a buying mood.
Good. Well, that's a relief. It would certainly help the competition if you did buy something, James.
I always love these.
These funny little newspaper, magazine Canterburys.
Way back in the 20th century, when people read printed periodicals,
these Canterbury magazine racks were very popular
for keeping the house tidy between reads.
Lovely to look at,
and much more fun than a double click on a desktop document.
A-ha, the good old days!
Would you take 20 for that?
-You want to pay how much?
-No, can't do it for that, no.
-No budging there, James.
See if you can distract proceedings with another item.
I want to try and improve on that Imari dish.
Could you do 35 on that?
Yeah, and I'll do 60 on the two, but I can't do any less than that, really.
-I'm just being cheeky.
We expected nothing less, James.
But, remember, Margaret's just been brutally handbagged by Thomas.
So be kind to her.
Would you do 50 for the two?
-55, OK, come on. That's very kind, thank you very much indeed.
Well, that's about as kind as you get from Mr Braxton.
You'd better leave the shop quickly, James, and let's hope Thomas has the engine running.
How many items have you bought now?
-Every one a winner.
There's confidence for you. Now, quick! Get out of town!
New towns, new shops and even new adventures await our two experts.
-How about you?
-Two as well.
-Yeah, definite winners.
James' car is a vintage British treasure.
But sadly completely useless in British summer weather.
The soft top doesn't allow for passenger comfort
and the local trees don't provide much cover either.
-It is quite chilly.
-It is chilly, isn't it? Brrrr.
The shower lightens, the decks are swabbed,
and SOMEONE needs to give the car a push.
Going to put my back into it, sir!
Well, at least we now know who wears the trousers in this relationship.
Albeit a rather large, pink pair.
All antiques roads lead to Rome, or thereabouts.
In fact they lead a mere three and a half miles from Corbridge
to the former empire border town of Hexham.
NARRATOR SPEAKS ITALIAN
It's a cheeky break from shopping.
Thomas has come to view some really, really old antiques
that make our antiques look modern.
Almost two millennia ago, in the days of the Romans, this fort was part of Hadrian's Wall,
the northernmost frontier of the Empire,
built to keep out the barbarian Picts or defiant Scots.
Today, this borderland has a healthy mix of Scottish and English culture.
-Hello, I'm Thomas.
-Nice to meet you Thomas, I'm Barbara.
-Barbara, very nice to meet you!
The Vindolanda Trust - this is not a restaurant - has been running since 1970
to research the wonderful ruins of this former outpost.
Barbara, the assistant curator, has been here since 1999.
Wow, it looks pretty ordered.
Yes, yes, it was. What you can see here is the actual fort itself,
but we have evidence that basically women and children and everyone are living pretty much all together.
Lovely! The Romans ran this part of the world, and many other parts, for centuries.
They kept order in a time before the Scots and English began fighting over borders.
We've got the Vindolanda writing tablets,
small slivers of wood that actually have the writings from the Romans,
and we find out all sorts of fabulous things, like soldiers sending socks and underpants.
-What, being sent?
Well, I can understand that because here I am standing.
-I'm wearing a jumper. It is cold. Can you imagine?
Ooh, lovely warm socks. How modern!
The Roman Empire really was terribly advanced and terribly organised.
Some would say terribly civilised.
But did they take care of their pots?
This is our collection of the Samian dinner service.
It's actually from southern Gaul, from a place called La Graufesenque,
modern town of Millau,
and it's interesting with this collection,
because it was broken in transit.
So, like sometimes some antiques are broken in transit.
-It happened then.
So for thousands of years clumsy delivery men have plagued this land.
Amazingly, this dinnerware was ordered from a manufacturer
in France, a thousand miles away,
but 2,000 years ago.
Not so different, when you think about it, from import/export today.
Possibly a commanding officer, one of the other head officers,
would have had the money to buy this whole dinner set.
So I'm just imagining, 1,900 years ago,
the officer is waiting for this,
or the lady of the house, his wife,
and it nearly gets here and then it gets broken. Bad day.
Bad day, very, very dark day for that person.
So it gets chucked in there, or he probably lied, "Oh, I never got it, it never came off the boat."
-We have evidence that they're fixing it.
-Really? I'd love to see that.
Here it is - quite a good one to show
because it would have held these two bits together.
Wow. So some sort of soul got some lead...
-Was lead mined around here?
That was one of the main reasons the Romans came, for our minerals.
And so they got the lead and they melted it and made a little bracket
and then as the lead cooled and tightened it would pull the pot together to make it strong again.
-Well, like brackets, like staples.
At least this Roman home-delivery customer tried to put
his broken pots back together before he chucked them out.
This is some of the pieces from the actual dinner service.
Wow, look at this. Oh, it's absolutely wonderful.
I can't believe I'm handling a 1,900-year-old piece of pottery.
Yeah, broken, but still.
-It's been a pleasure. I could spend all day here. Thank you very much.
-Wonderful to meet you.
What a fascinating find, eh?
Course, all that damage would never happen on the Road Trip.
But seriously, there are some more modern antiques
waiting to be unearthed by James and Thomas around the corner.
So, James, my one request out of all of this, these antiques shops had better be worth it!
The Road Trip is taking our experts 22 miles from Hexham.
Alston's old town dates back to the late 17th century,
with this handsome square surrounding its troubled Market Cross.
First built in 1765 and rebuilt in 1880,
the cross tragically fell victim to a runaway lorry in 1968,
and then another one in 1980.
So, keeping his foot firmly on the clutch is James Braxton
as our experts arrive in town.
Straight away, our boys find a companion four-wheeled antique
to match James' vintage car.
But the owner scoots before they can put in a cheeky low offer on it.
Good afternoon. I'm Thomas.
-Hi, I'm Gary.
-Nice to meet you, Gary.
-Nice to meet you.
A big eclectic mix, it looks like.
-Everything interesting and unusual.
My old friend, Sunderland lustre.
Nope, I'm not buying you.
Good call, Thomas. No more Sunderland lustre ware for you.
We all remember the awful events of yesterday's show
as if it was...well, yesterday.
I'm not laughing, I'm really not.
Look at this. Ypres.
This is what we call trench art.
And this was made by a soldier in Ypres in 1917,
and that's also where we had the miners who mined underneath
the German trenches and blew them up.
This would have been a shell case,
and this is just a bullet from a .303 Lee Enfield rifle.
I imagine what it was, it might have been he made it as a letter opener, or...
There's me complaining that I'm getting wet and hailed on
in James' car with no roof,
and these boys were stuck out in the trenches,
no way of knowing when it would all end, really.
Fine words, Thomas. Well said.
I think I might have to give JB a call, Mr Braxton.
He was complaining that he was getting very wet.
Well, that does look nice and warm.
Could it be useful in bad weather?
There's no such thing as bad weather. It's bad clothing.
And James has experienced that today.
Well, poor old James was feeling cold and miserable.
Let's get him into a nice cosy antiques shop for a bit of a warm-up.
Out of the rain and hail! HE CHUCKLES
But then a strange-looking antique catches his eye.
Oh, dear. I'll just quickly do my hair.
I generally walk around looking like the man from the Hamlet advert.
I suggest you stay away from mirrors today, James.
No-one needs the awful truth.
Cast your eyes over some lovely objects instead.
This Chinese, made of black wood, rosewood, bit damaged,
typical sort of thing that was made in the 19th century,
was exported over to the UK.
They were just stands for planters.
They make great occasional tables.
Very stylish. 265.
I wonder if she would do that for 150. That would be worth a punt.
It's quite interesting - they've got a lot of oriental stuff in this shop
and it might just reflect stuff that is locally, you know,
people did colonial service.
Went off, worked for international companies, came home,
brought loads of souvenirs with them.
-You've got a pink, marble-topped Chinese table upstairs.
..quite a princely sum on it.
Yes. You pay for quality, yes.
If I offer an outrageous £150,
is that tempting? Or are you going to chuck me out of the shop?
Sorry, it's not tempting. I paid more than that.
-We don't do losses.
Brave attempt, James. But you're not going to get the help you need in this shop, I fear!
-MOBILE PHONE RINGS
-Suddenly, an important call.
Could it be advice from the auction house?
Or a fantastic offer on a fine antique treasure to take there?
You know you got a bit wet?
-I've found something for you.
Oh, fabulous. I'm standing here like a sort of limp rag.
Are you like a limp piece of lettuce?
What I need is something slightly warmer.
Why don't you pop down and have a look?
Yeah, brilliant stuff. OK, I'll be down.
Whilst Thomas waits for James to arrive,
something handsome and useful catches his eye.
So, what I've got here is some pens,
a Parker, a lady's one. But it's got no nib.
The fountain pen was perfected by the American school teacher George Safford Parker
in the 1880s,
fed up with constantly repairing his students' old pens.
The Parker Pen Company then became a strong success in the 1890s
and the pens are still highly desirable as new and antique today.
Pens are collectable. You know, people like pens
and they're a great thing to collect because they're small
and they're easy to send in the post.
This one here, another gents' pen.
It says Swan.
Made in Britain by the American company Mabie, Todd and Bard from 1909,
these Swan fountain pens were advertised as the pen of the British Empire.
The company ceased production in the 1950s, a victim of the ballpoint era.
This is a Parker Duofold.
It's a big, heavy gents' pen.
What have you got on the Parker?
I could do the Parker pen for £12.
But if you were interested in buying a collection of pens I could do you a deal on a job lot.
Oh, really? See what you can do the lot for, and then I'll go and get the other one for you.
We've got a Conway, we've got a Swan and then you've got another Parker without a thing.
-35 for the lot.
-For the lot?
Well done, 28. Awesome. A collection of pens.
I said I was going to buy silver and jewellery and I'm buying pens and ivory buckets.
-What am I doing that for?
-Well, I'll tell you, Thomas.
You're making rules for yourself and not sticking to them.
You just keep getting distracted by everything that you like.
-What do you think of that?
-Sure it's not a bit big?
Yeah, with room to grow into.
Something to accommodate the wine barrel.
-Gary, come on, let's go and talk price.
Well, third item bought today.
You may think I'm being completely bonkers.
Why would a Parker pen like this one be worth me buying, huh?
I tell you, I sell these Parker pens for at least £20 a piece.
If you went to buy that in a stationers today
you'd be looking at 50 plus.
Truly mightier than the sword, the Parker Duofold fountain pen
was famously used by General Douglas MacArthur in 1946,
to end the American war in the Pacific by signing the peace treaty.
I reckon we'll make at least £10 profit. 38, 40 at least.
Yes, they're a great purchase Thomas, if slightly off-plan.
Could they be your silver bullet to go with the bucket at auction in Darlington?
Meanwhile back in the shop, James has dipped into his personal money
and bought the vintage coat.
Now he's taking a butchers at a few items for his antiques arsenal.
I like this bit. Again, hardwood. Chinese.
Another jardiniere stand?
And from China again?
James is right about antiques in this area - there's certainly an ex-colonial theme here.
We've got this rather nice sprays of bamboo here.
It's been extended. I doubt the Chinese ever had things this high
so it's evolved from their low opium tables and the like,
to a table that the Victorians would have loved to have had
with an aspidistra coming off or some sort of torchere, candle branch.
So, a very keen observation from the man who would be King of the Auction.
Ah, this is more my sort of thing.
Do you think it can bear the weight of a Braxton?
That is fabulous, isn't it?
All I need is some sort of native sceptre of office.
Oh dear, James. Are you sure that little stool is strong enough for you?
You see, James, you have to be careful with antiques.
Or perhaps the chiefs of this particular African tribe
were possibly a little lighter in build?
receiving a new lease of life.
Luckily, Cathleen is on hand in the back room for a rapid repair.
Fabulous! Thank you very much indeed, you see? Done in a trice.
You broke it, James!
Now I think you should buy it.
And how about that lovely, tall jardiniere stand?
-How much on this one, Gary?
-Could do that for 20.
Would you do this and the nice basketwork stool for 30?
Wow, haggling on the stool YOU broke, eh?
You have the cunning charm, James.
-Clothing me... Now you're furnishing me.
-Another excellent deal!
And James did the decent thing, buying the African stool.
But is it something he can sell at auction in County Durham?
Time will tell. And it's time to be moving on again.
HE BEEPS HORN
Oh dear. Get a move on.
No roof, no roof?
James, where's the roof?
The next morning, James and Thomas are up with the lark
for a full day's hunting and gathering.
Beautiful cloudless day. Looking forward to getting a bit of wind rushing through my locks.
A bit of wind, yeah.
James has had a cracking first day's foraging.
So far he's spent £85 on four items.
The brass oak Canterbury, the Imari dish,
the African leather stool and the Chinese jardiniere stand.
And he's still got a whopping £233.48 left to play with.
-Steady work, I haven't dropped yet, just sort of steady jabs.
Thomas has also shopped whole-heartedly and bought three items.
The controversial ivory bucket,
the enamel bar brooch and the set of fountain pens.
He launches into the day with a sturdy £128.15,
but needs to work hard to catch up with James' success on yesterday's show.
Looking good, feeling good.
The unstoppable antiques juggernaut continues on.
Alston is but a blur in the mind as our experts take a sharp turn
towards Bishop Auckland.
That bounder Braxton is feeling rather comfortable in his current financial lead over Thomas.
So he's decided to give himself a little treat.
Well, it's all right for some, isn't it?
This is my stop, Tom.
Is it your stop? That's the way to do it!
Right on time, our man arrives at Killhope Lead Mining Museum.
Killhope was the setting for WH Auden's famous 1927 poem, The Watershed.
The mine opened in 1853 and closed in 1910 as demand for lead fell away
but restoration began in 1980 to turn the site into this wonderful museum.
Today, it's an account of the historical pleasures and pains
of this heavy industry, and a fascinating glimpse into Britain's past.
Hello Liz, lead me on.
Liz has been an information assistant here for nine years
and she's our guide for the day.
In the beginning there'd only be about 10 people
-working on the surface to one man working underground.
And the other thing was that they would be miners/farmers,
-so again they would go home and do more work at the end of their working day in the mines.
So this is the entrance to the mine?
How far away would the workings be? 100 metres?
-The furthest fain was a mile underground.
It took them 20 years to reach it.
This is very well done. This wouldn't look out of place on the facade of a house, would it?
No, the men were incredibly skilled.
Take me to your crystals, Liz!
The British miner is a rare breed today, but they do exist.
This was once a very hard and very proud industry.
But life was not without its art and pleasure.
Right Liz, what have you got in here?
Well, this is some of the spar boxes from our biggest collection.
Spar boxes are one of Britain's most fascinating artistic phenomena
and yet almost entirely unknown.
Strange, coral-like, mineral constructions housed in Victorian specimen cases.
As this was a lead mine, the mining company
just didn't want the other minerals it unearthed
and threw them away.
There was this tradition
of collecting minerals and swapping them.
This was going on between the working man,
but it was introducing people to the world of minerals.
Amazingly, these Victorian oddities were not created by artists.
It was the men and women working the mine in the 19th century
who produced these peculiar and dazzling displays
in their short, precious leisure time.
What about this magnificent fellow?
I love the idea
that it's this sort of Victorian tableau tradition, isn't it?
Here we see an architectural tableau.
-The cabinet always reminds me of a bit of a fairground with all the bright colours.
-It does, doesn't it?
-Garish colours, yeah.
-Again you've got your curiosities.
You've got a bird from north Africa, your roller bird,
you've got your nightjar,
and you sort of think, where did the men come across these things?
It's just the detail of little pot plants at the windows,
you know, and some of the curtains open, some with the blinds drawn.
This small array at Killhope is the nearest Britain has to a national collection of spar boxes.
There were a few recorded local competitions in the 1880s and 90s.
Other than that, these are a lost art form.
The mystery is that not many people know the history of the spar boxes
and however much we try and research the history we don't come up with many answers.
It looks like James is utterly captivated by these mysterious mineral structures.
He's forgotten all about the rather important search for great antiques.
Thankfully, there's a great man out there.
He is serious about antiques shopping. He wants to buy more.
His name is Thomas Plant.
Thomas has gone on ahead and is en route to Bishop Auckland.
James has clearly given up on the shopping
and settled with his four items from yesterday.
So you're our last hope, Thomas, and time is pushing on.
In fact, where is Thomas?
-He's out there, shopping, somewhere.
Ah, there he is. He's found lovely Yvonne in this antiques shop
and has taken a fancy to something quite close to her heart.
I love your Lalique, I love that.
This is a piece of jewellery.
This is by Rene Lalique.
Legendary French designer Rene Jules Lalique pushed the envelope of glass design in the late 19th century.
He returned to his first love of jewellery during the Art Nouveau period,
and made stunning items such as this.
You've got this beautiful sort of exotic fish around it
against that frosted glass, and it's just lovely.
If I could find something like that...
A lovely item, Thomas.
But hands off - she's wearing it! I'm guessing it's not for sale.
Come along, there really is no time to waste.
What is it? That is the big question.
Well, it looks like it's going to be a preserve, a mustard.
-Yeah, it could be, couldn't it?
-Have you been using it for your sausages?
It's these classy little items again, and Thomas really can unearth them.
This late-19th-century Dutch mustard pot has a solid silver frame, so it
could be the auction heavyweight that Thomas is searching for.
But it's pricey, £125. Risky!
What is your very, very best on that?
I could do 90 on it.
-That's quite a lot of money, isn't it?
I'd like that for a bit less, to be candid!
I'm sure you would, Thomas.
"A bit less" is kind of the name of the game here, isn't it?
If you could go to 80 on that.
That's pushing the boat a bit.
I know, but, you know...
-I don't mean to be...
-No, 75 sounds good to me.
I'm pleased. I hope the auction house likes it.
I hope there's people out there to buy it. What's it going to make?
It could make £120, it could make 150, it could bomb and make 40.
Good old Thomas, he sneaks in one last purchase,
and not a moment too soon. It's show and tell time again.
-So, James, bit like golf, as you were the winner.
-OK, am I teeing off first?
So an Imari plate, 1920s.
£35 as well, bought it for that.
Go on, match it. Oh, very nice!
Practical for pins, and bought for pin money.
I think that's very pretty.
I think you paid somewhere in the region of £50.
Ooh, that is a winner, Thomas.
I am going to try and expunge that from my memory.
-I think you're being a bit cute here.
It's a pretty one, quite fashionable.
Now, let me guess, £28.
Nearly, nearly. 20.
-See some growth there.
-I'm a bit disappointed.
You've got something even smaller than the bucket.
It's quite titchy witch, a little brooch.
Plant the brooch!
I know, it's another brooch.
Silver and enamel, marked at £45, I got it for £25.
-With a rather chintzy design.
It's roses. It's lovely.
-That is chintzy. Right, I'm going to have to get up for this one.
OK. You're breaking a little bit of it there.
-Breaking a little bit there.
-Well, it broke a whole lot more, earlier!
It bore my weight, unfortunately with some consequence, so
I think its future is bearing wine glasses and coffee cups.
-I hope you paid less than £20 for it.
I think we're going to see five, five, five.
I must say, I hope it finds a purchaser before it falls apart!
-Falls apart, James? Maybe just keep off it till the auction!
Ah, Mr Pen Man.
This is the lot I bought it for.
It was the Parker Duofold, and it's a 14-carat gold nib, and then we've got a swan.
-That's rather nice.
-Well, it's quite stylish, gold nib as well.
-What do you think I paid for these here? Eight pens.
-Really? Very nice, well done.
-OK, come on.
-You're taking my smile away.
-Fourth and final, probably best viewed from the top.
Yes, I can see that, mother of pearl, bamboo, bit of teak.
Just your kind of thing, isn't it?
Hopefully Chinese. It's very pretty.
I hope somebody's building a Chinese room.
Looks very tasty, this.
I have spent some money on that. Considering I lost money...
-Ivory again, Thomas? Bit of a theme going on here.
That looks a rather nice item.
-80 to 120.
-Right, I paid 75 for it.
That's good, you're playing the game, it's a bullish item.
You're making me look like a bit of a wimp with my little selection there.
-Do you think I might be teeing off?
-You could be, you could be.
Oh, James, don't get too wrapped up in this now.
May the best man win.
Thank you, Thomas.
Whatever has he bought that stool for?
I mean, it is a piece of rubbish.
It's bonfire material.
The whole thing's fallen to bits at the bottom. I mean, it's wonky.
Lovely little novelty bucket, and that was no money, £14.
Imari plate, well, yeah, OK, £35, I think that's about its level, really.
As for the brooch, I'm not convinced.
It's like an old lady's bathroom, really.
How terribly rude, James...
But I know what you mean!
Destiny awaits our two experts as this leg of the road trip draws to its inevitable finale.
It's been an inspiring journey from East Boldon, through Corbridge,
Hexham, Alston and Bishop Auckland.
Auction day is here and our experts arrive at Darlington, County Durham.
-Now, Thomas, how are you feeling?
However, you know how these things can end up, they can go completely wrong.
£220, 230. 240.
Thomas Watson Auctions opened their doors in 1840,
and Peter has been whacking wood on wood here since 1974.
He has his own thoughts on our experts' shopping prowess.
African stools probably came over 40, 50 years ago, but they do sell.
Hardwood lamp stands, not the most popular, I must admit,
and the brooch, it could be a bit of a sticker, this one, but we'll see.
James started this leg of the road trip with £318.48,
and spent a thoroughly decent £185.
Nice work, James.
Thomas took his £195.15 and spent a wholly decadent £142.
Fidgets, stop fidgeting, natterers stop nattering.
A respectful quiet awaits the commencement of competitive nodding and winking.
The auction is about to begin.
Good luck, Thomas.
Well, that's a nice object to start off with.
James' handsome magazine rack from Corbridge.
And I can open this one at £35.
40, 5, 50, the lady has it at £50.
£50. All done.
-Punching the air!
-And a tidy profit to kick off with.
Now it's Thomas' turn, as the French pin bucket is next.
-Yeah, I think so.
I mean, they put a good estimate,
40-80. I hope that doesn't scare anybody off.
And you only paid £14 for it.
Good for you, Thomas. But maybe keep your voice down.
And I can start this away at £20,
at 20 and 5, at 20 and 5, surely now for this at £20 are we all done at
5 at the back, 30 to the side,
30 standing in the door for the bucket, are we all done?
Double your money, then, for the ivory pin bucket.
I rather thought this would do well.
James' Chinese lampstand is now taking the stage.
Just understated quality and design,
bit of a quirk, country house feel, you know, look around you,
it's all T-shirts and singlets
but they live in country house interiors, I know it.
And I can open this one at £30. £30.
45... Same lady, then, at 45, are we all done?
Double your money and a little bit more.
James' eye is not just for the object, but for the market.
Do you know, I honestly thought you had dropped one on this one.
I thought, James has made a mistake, but so far, now I'm being proved wrong.
Coming out smelling of roses again.
Now something small and pretty.
Thomas' silver enamel brooch.
I can start this one at £15, at 15.
-At 25, 30,
at 25 for the brooch, are we all done at £25? All done.
Oh, dear, Thomas seems to be buying what he likes,
and not playing to the crowds.
Like a roller coaster.
I always should remind myself every morning, pride before a fall,
-and that's what I had.
is playing to please the local crowd with his decorative Imari plate.
And I can open this one at £25.
At 25 for the plate there, 30, at 40, the lady has it 5, at £55, all done.
And another profit for James.
Surely Thomas can't catch him now.
Steady work again from Mr Braxton.
Or will the pen be mightier than the...plate?
You've done well on the first lot. I can feel you on my heels.
Yeah, chasing you down.
-Chasing me down.
-And I can start this at £60.
60, straight in there.
70, 80, 90, 100, 110,
at 100 and permission to bid at £100 and 10...
-Ooh, that's not bad!
Well done, Thomas. When you get it right, you sure get it right.
I say buy more pens.
James still has the edge, but another hit like that for Thomas
could see him close on the Braxton heels.
108, your African stool.
Yeah, 30-50 pounds.
I think that could have killed any possible interest in it.
James only spent a tenner on this African stool and, even though he
broke it, there's a certain kooky, decorative appeal.
£25 for the African stool, at 25, 30, 5, 40, at 35 with me,
still the bid at 35, at 35, are we all done at £35?
So the profits keep coming, and James' savvy pays off.
-Steady Eddie Braxton.
I buy nice quality items,
quality, good condition... You buy some moth eaten broken wicker stool!
Yes, but I'm going for a sort of country-house style the whole time.
Yes, but one man's tat is another man's shabby chic!
Well, here's your last chance, Thomas.
You went with your heart with this unusual silver mustard pot.
You're coming from a position of strength, if I might say so.
Well, I'll just have to wait and see with this lot.
And I can open this lot at £40, at 40, 50 now,
at £50, 60, at 50 only, no further interest then at £50.
-Is that all?
-No, don't worry.
No, that's it.
Oh, dear. A terrible end for poor Thomas, and the gap is widening.
-Oh, dear, Thomas.
-That's a loss.
The thing I thought was going to make all the money!
After paying commission to the auction house,
James made a fair-to-middling profit of £67.40,
and has a proud £385.88 to fight on with.
Ever hopeful, Thomas made a smaller profit of just £35.10.
He's lagging further behind with £230.25 to start the next show.
So our boys have learned lessons today,
and there's a lot to think about for the shopping trip ahead.
Well, I buy an antique - you buy tat, I buy an antique,
you buy tat, I lose money on it.
Where is the justice?
The market is a cruel place sometimes.
There's no justice, sadly.
Just buying the right items at the right price.
And so far, Thomas, James has you on the ropes!
-I need to walk with giants.
-Walk with giants, and are you going to, "come on, bring it on"?
I'm going to be like Rocky. I'm going to come from behind.
-I'm going to be battered and bruised,
and then at the last minute, I'm going to sweep in, victorious.
-That's the spirit. You'll need the eye of the tiger for round three!
-Life is cruel, isn't it?
Next time on the Antiques Road Trip,
James and Thomas head for auction showdown in Bedale, North Yorkshire.
James goes for a new tactic.
I'm keeping my powder dry. There's another day, and there's another shop.
Thomas goes off-piste.
You know, I could finish that and almost have another one, and then finish that one and
think about another one, but then think, actually, I've got some antiques to buy.
And they both get going up the antiques highway.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Antiques experts James Braxton and Thomas Plant continue their tour of North East England. James gets to see a collection of rare mineral sculptures made by 19th-century miners and Thomas sees some of the oldest antiques in the world at a Roman fort.