Michael Aspel presents an edition from Boston, Lincolnshire. Interesting finds include a valuable dining table and a Chinese fertility figure rescued from a shipwreck.
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We've taken a trip to Boston.
No, not Boston, Massachusetts, but the original authentic prototype -
There is a connection, of course - the ancestors of today's Bostonians
went off and helped to found a new continent.
The Domesday Book barely mentioned the hamlet which became Boston,
its name taken from a 6th-century missionary, St Botolph.
But in 1142, a sluice was built to improve the flow of the River Witham
and the hamlet soon became the outport for Lincolnshire.
By the 14th century, it was the fourth richest provincial town.
Merchants from all over Europe flocked to the Great Fair held on St Botolph's Day every June.
Boston had arrived.
All that was needed was a symbol to celebrate its new power and wealth.
St Botolph's is believed to be the largest parish church in England.
It became known as the "Boston Stump",
probably because the steeple has the appearance of a tree with its boughs lopped, ready for felling.
One of the treasures of this church is found
under the parson's nose - if you see what I mean.
These seats are called misericords and they tip up,
enabling the user to relax
while still technically standing.
And how's this for light relief?
Some wonderful carving, dating back to about 1390.
Ironically, as work went on to build this symbol of power,
Boston's fortunes as a trading port were fading.
Commerce declined and was replaced by a spirit of religious radicalism
personified in 1612 by the new vicar, John Cotton.
John Cotton was a Puritan. Puritans wanted the Church of England
to dismantle its elaborate structure and sermons and return to a simpler, purer form of worship.
There was a price to pay for rebellion.
Persecuted within the church and the community, a band of Puritans
set sail from Plymouth in 1620 aboard the Mayflower.
They were bound for the New World and religious freedom.
This was the inspiration that John Cotton's flock needed
and in 1630, members of the congregation sailed on the Arbella, bound for Massachusetts.
There they founded the new Boston.
More than 300 years on, Boston, Lincolnshire still thrives
as a busy market town and port, so let's join today's Bostonians
at the Peter Paine Sports Centre.
Well, fantastic African art apart, what happened?
-Er, car crash.
-What did you do?
-I broke my neck and fractured my skull and cheekbone.
You look well for having broken your neck...
Anyway, we're here to talk about your collection of African art.
This is all - or the majority of the collection is -
West African, Nigerian and Yoruba twin figures. Where did they come from?
My granddad lived in Nigeria in the '60s and worked there
and collected them while he was there in that area.
The nice thing about them is that they were actually used as fetishes
rather than sold on to tourists, or carved for tourists.
This pair are rather nicely worn, which shows that they've been used.
-Do you know why these figures were actually made?
-Er, no, not really.
Well, what happened back in the...
I think it was the 18th century, the Yoruba tribe had more twins
per head of population than anybody else, I think, anywhere else in the world, and when one of them died,
or if both died, that was unlucky, and the mother would commission
the woodcarver of the village and would have these figures made.
They wouldn't exactly worship them,
but they would offer food and drink and all that sort of thing to them.
I like that pair particularly. This pair are more modern. I think these are 19th century...
This is probably 20th century.
It's much more alarming, very much more typical, I suppose, of 20th-century art...
And the wonderful coffee-bean eyes that they have, it's very typical,
particularly on the big figure. Do you have a favourite?
I like this one. I like all the markings on the body.
The scarifications on the body.
And - very typical - the nails for eyes, which is typical of this,
and the blue colouring on the hair, and the beading, of course, which is absolutely tremendous.
I have a particular pair here which I think are rather splendid.
Most wonderful headdresses,
Now, a pair of these, certainly the pair I first picked up,
would be worth somewhere in the region of £600 to £800.
These a little less because I think they are more modern, but there,
we have a table full of it, so where do you think we're going as far as price is concerned on this?
-Well, I would have thought you've got the best part of £5,000-worth here.
I'm not sure what this is. Um, I think it's a correction chair, but we've had it in the family
for generations, and the only one I've ever seen similar - not quite so ornate -
is at Mapledurham in Oxfordshire, at that house, but other than that, I know nothing about it.
I actually don't call them a correction chair,
because that makes it sound rather brutal.
They're known as deportment chairs.
-And as a young lady, in the Victorian times particularly,
it was extremely important, and part of your education,
to sit up straight, carry yourself properly,
and for children brought up in a nursery with a governess and nanny,
part of their learning during the day would be etiquette, table manners, deportment,
and so a chair like this would have been in a sense correctional, because, of course,
if you sat on this, with its very straight high back, and you weren't sitting up properly, you'd tip off.
You couldn't sit with this little narrow seat
in any way other than in a perfect posture, upright.
This is a nice example and we can date it quite accurately
-because of this decoration on the top.
-It's like an open fan,
and I would suggest that that would date it to around 1880,
and it's a country piece, because it's made of beech.
They are very collectable because they're a nice piece of furniture,
but they also appeal to people who deal with dolls and those things,
because they're a good size to display things on.
I think probably, um, if you were to look to find another -
and they are not that common, as you know, because you've not seen it before -
-I think it would probably be worth insuring it for about £350.
Six of the figures from Lord Of The Rings, made by the Doulton factory.
-How did you come by them?
-It started off, I bought that one...
and then the rest were presents from my mother-in-law for Christmas and birthday.
Do you remember how much he cost?
-I remember this one cost my mother-in-law £20.
They came out in the 1970s, and then they went out of production,
and they weren't limited editions.
There were actually nine of them. You haven't got the other three?
-You'll have to try and get the other three,
-but they're zooming up in price.
-These early ones.
Generally, figures that aren't limited editions don't go up in price much, not for a long time,
but the films have boomed the whole thing
and nowadays you have to pay a lot of money for these things.
If you had the full set of them,
-they would fetch something like around about £1,500.
-Much more than they did a year ago.
-But with just the six...
-I suppose one's still looking at something like about £750.
Do you have an Irish connection?
No, I don't. I did try and find out the origins of the chairs after I purchased them.
-You have a pair?
-Yes, they're a pair. They were very distressed.
After I'd bought them, I traced the second previous owner, and from that I was told
that there had been a chap who'd been buying furniture in Ireland and retailing it in this country.
And, I mean... this upholstery, YOU put on?
-Yes, it's been renewed.
-Were there layers of upholstery underneath?
-No, it'd been very, very badly upholstered, possibly in the '70s, I would think...
-..with foam rubber and red Dralon.
-Lovely(!) Good for fire risk too!
Apart from the scale, it's an incredibly comfortable chair
that one sees being made by people like Howard & Sons -
very comfortable easy chairs, and they have turned legs,
but the real thing that stands these chairs apart from almost any others are these distinctive legs.
-If you could give me a hand...
-They're made of walnut rather than being mahogany.
And they've got this incredibly stylised foliate cabriole leg,
-although it almost looks like it's drapery in a funny kind...
It's a very idiosyncratic motif,
and then with these rather nice sort of lion-paw feet...
I've only ever seen this model of leg once before,
and that was on a suite of Irish chairs, Irish side chairs.
-They're thinner and they were in mahogany, not in walnut.
But they were mid 18th century and the real key is...
Let's just have a look to see
what the rails reveal - because with the upholstery, of course,
you can never see whether it's a 20C copy or an 18C one.
The form itself is not a form you would see in the 18th century.
The concept of an easy chair like this, with a padded bergere side,
-the whole proportions of it, is a different shape to any 18th-century prototype.
The construction of the rails...
They've actually got rather a nice old, quite pure surface
with oxidised timber, and there's also, at the bottom of the legs,
there's a good amount of wear actually on the feet themselves.
These aren't, I'm glad to say,
20th-century chairs, but they're not 18th-century chairs either.
You bought them as being...?
I suppose either sort of late Victorian or Edwardian repros.
Right. Actually, it's a very, very gutsy chair and its shape...
I wonder whether it may originally have been covered in leather or...
as library armchairs, and with this scrolled out section,
in terms of construction, I think they date from the mid to the second half of the 19C.
Characteristically Irish on the bottom. How much did you pay for them in their distressed state?
-They were £500.
Well, I think, just as a very good, over-scale pair of 19th-century Irish bergeres like this -
incredibly comfortable as you say, going with your recommendation -
they would probably fetch £4,000 to £6,000 at auction, so, distressed they may have been...
-..but they're happier now!
-So am I! Thank you.
This is brilliant!
Modern medicine - Clark's miraculous salve
for the cure of ulcerated bad legs,
boils, abscesses, fistulas...
-..bad breasts and gatherings of all kinds.
One and a ha'penny... One shilling and one ha'penny per pot.
-As toucans go, this is impressive. Michael, you remember these, don't you?
-Oh, I say, yes.
I remember the film with Glenda Jackson - Only Two Can Play. That was excellent.
-One of the most famous advertising symbols, isn't it?
-And there was the other one... "My goodness, my Guinness."
Where the boy's lost his glass down an ostrich's neck. It's fabulous.
-How long have you had it?
-Over 40 years.
-What's the history of it?
-My father used to work in the pub trade...
-Did it stand on the bar?
-Yes, as an advertising symbol.
-And it would have had a glass of Guinness on the back?
-I think so.
Which unfortunately's been...
Rough evening in the pub, perhaps. The glass has gone, as you can see.
It's made of papier-mache
and there are a lot of collectors of this animal, the toucan, because of the advertising symbol,
and I think a collector of Guinness memorabilia would probably pay £300 or £400 for this,
-even in that condition.
So, ruby and diamond cufflinks in the form of owl's heads.
-Tell me about them.
-I didn't know they were ruby and diamond, to start with.
-No, I didn't.
-That's a good start then, isn't it?
-It is rather, yes!
We want to know who they belong to.
I bought them for my husband as a birthday present.
Well, what a brilliant thing...
So, gold and silver and rubies and diamonds
and I guess they date from about 1910, something like that.
How much were they?
I can't remember exactly, but I'm a generous wife but not over the top -
-about £300, I think.
Well, everybody would want these. They look fantastic on the cuff,
they're not too noisy and they're not insignificant,
and very desirable, and I'm going to value them at £1,250.
-I think I deserve brownie points for years!
-Do you drink tea out of this?
-No, it's in a display cabinet.
How did it come to you?
Well, it came from my grandfather's side of the family...
-I heard the word "teatime".
You've come all the way from China?
-Do you know what that is?
-It is a lump of compressed tea.
Yeah, and they export it just like that,
-and I bought one for my daughter. Sorry I interrupted.
-I thought it was a coincidence.
-The perfect moment! You haven't got the cream?
-We'll grind it up, make tea.
It's a tea brick.
Actually, they made those for the Russian market.
We, of course, were drinking leaf tea in the 18th century,
and this is for leaf tea. You call it a service, but is it really?
Well, we keep it as a service in the display cabinet,
-but the patterns are slightly different on some of the items.
-The patterns ARE different.
The odd one out is actually the teapot.
The reason is... these are all porcelain,
albeit of different patterns, but this is made of earthenware.
If you hold this up to the light, you will not see light through it.
It is earthenware. Let's do that.
You see? Nothing coming through at all.
This is a pottery body, but it is a beautifully made piece of pottery
that is actually imitating contemporary porcelain.
The porcelain probably was made in Staffordshire,
maybe at a factory called New Hall, but this earthenware teapot
could have been made in a number of places. Liverpool is a possibility,
Staffordshire, Yorkshire - they all produced this pearlware.
I do like that swan on top. Isn't that pretty?
These tea bowls date circa 1790 and you can buy these in shops for £20-£40 a tea bowl and saucer,
but the teapot - this modest piece of pottery imitating porcelain with its broken swan finial -
it's something for which you'd pay somewhere in the region of £100 -
maybe anything up to £200.
-We don't collect. It came to me through my father...
And it was given to him about 55-60 years ago, all in tiny little pieces.
-The leading had gone.
And at the end of the war, he brought it all out, he made a little crate, made up the jigsaw...
-Yes, it is like a jigsaw.
..and put it on top of his Austin 7 car and off we went up to London
-and he took it to the firm of Kelly's...
And this was 1947, and it was all re-leaded,
-and we noticed there is a signature...
-There it is.
-..Which says H Hughes, 1870.
Of course, stained glass is a long tradition in English art.
It goes back to the Middle Ages.
The Victorians revived the medieval method of doing stained glass,
which was basically to colour each piece. Each piece of glass
was individually coloured and put together, and then they painted over it as well,
usually in a sort of enamel.
The famous maker of stained-glass windows was William Morris and Co,
-and Burne-Jones their most famous designer.
-There were others.
There were many others, and of course Henry Hughes is as yet, you know, not well known or remembered,
but he obviously, clearly, was a first-rate artist.
Now, what about the subject? I see here it says "Black Prince".
-Son of Edward III.
Yes, Crecy and Agincourt.
And this explains, therefore, why his shield here has both
-the French arms and the English.
Because at that time we owned,
-or laid claim to, large parts of France.
-Parts of that country.
But tell me, where do you have it in your house?
-Because it's quite difficult to put stained glass in...
-We had to redesign the porch
-and entrance hall to take it.
-So it's on an inside wall?
-An inside wall.
-Does the light come through it?
The whole essence of stained glass is you've got to have light coming through.
Otherwise you lose the point of it. This is a very handsome figure,
but not many people collect stained glass. It's a minority activity.
But they are beginning to, and it's beginning to be appreciated again,
and I certainly think a panel like this must be worth £2,000 or £3,000 now...
I would think, without question.
-It was bought locally in a small cycle shop owned by a German gentleman in Boston.
-How nice. Well, it's a fantastic piece.
How the publican earned money out of it -
you threw a penny in the side, and it came down here
and that started the movement which revolved the disc.
-Shall we give it a go?
-Give it a wind.
-Plays wonderfully, doesn't it?
-Yes, it's lovely.
-Any idea about value?
It was bought for three pound ten shillings, a long while ago...
-That was quite a lot of money then.
-Well, my suggestion is today, you insure it for about £3,000.
I didn't know how much it was worth. It's just a treasure. Love it.
-You love it?
-You keep it, but do insure it.
-I will now!
This is truly a whopper. How did it come into your life?
Well, we bought it off the internet, which sounds a bit strange...
We didn't realise it was as big as this when we bought it.
We bid for it on an auction site.
-Were you looking for something like this?
-I was looking for a sideboard
and I showed the wife this, and we both like old antique furniture,
and because of the carvings on it,
we both fell in love with it.
-Did you have the full dimensions?
-Yes, but it's one of those things
where you don't realise how big it actually is when you measure it.
It is gigantic.
-What did you pay for it?
-We paid... This is the secret of bidding.
We actually paid £300 and a penny!
-Three hundred pounds and one...
-We actually won it by a penny.
-And did the price include delivery?
-No, it was about £50 for delivery.
-So you spent about £350.
-And one penny.
And a penny, yeah. And a penny.
-And what do you actually know about it?
-Well, we know that it's oak.
We was told that it was Flemish. And, er, basically, that's about it.
We were also told it was late 19th century, but we don't actually...
Well, one of our experts was sauntering past
and gasped, and told me that it's Renaissance revival, about 1900,
and that with that sort of specialist appeal, you could get at auction between £500 and £800.
That's OK. Not a bad profit, is it?
-So that's one for the internet.
My dad was at the 1936 Olympics and he brought this back.
Wow, an American baseball! Look - "American Baseball Team
-"at Olympiad, Berlin, 1936..." He was there?
Fantastic. That was, of course, the Games that Hitler attended
to show off the power and physical prowess of the Third Reich.
-So these are the signatures of the American baseball team?
But it wasn't an official Olympic sport, was it?
-No. It was a demonstration game.
-Right, that all makes sense.
There's going to be a huge interest from the US in this.
It's a difficult one to value. I've never seen one.
But if you could get these signatures looked at
by somebody who perhaps knows about the players whose name this bears,
-it's potentially worth at least £2,000 or £3,000.
-The sky's the limit. It's a unique item.
-What a great little chap.
-He is, love.
I like the, er, bottom bits.
-This is a fertility figure, I suppose.
-It is a fertility figure.
-Intended for...young ladies...
-An engaged couple.
To help them produce, I suppose...
-Establish a family.
-He's very well endowed...
-I think he's lovely.
-From the Tek Sing ship's cargo.
-That's right, love.
-Which has been fairly recently discovered.
-Have you got much stuff from the Tek Sing cargo?
-Quite a bit.
-How did you get hold of it?
-Well, my husband worked for Mr Hatcher.
Mr Hatcher's uncle did the deep-sea diving and found all the pottery.
-That's Captain Hatcher?
-That's Captain Hatcher, yes.
-He's a lovely man.
-Yes, he's great.
-He is, yes.
-I met him once.
-He asked me to go deep-sea diving with him.
-I can't swim!
I think he's absolutely lovely
and one of the most valuable things on that Tek Sing cargo.
-These fetch hundreds of pounds.
-Dealers ask, some of them, almost £1,000 for one of these.
-So you've been very fortunate.
-I think he's wonderful. Yes, he is.
Of English furniture, dining tables are the most problematic things
-because they're used. This has seen some good use.
-Over the years...
Well, since I've had it, yes, but previous to that, grandparents.
-And my mother.
-Oh, so you've known it in the family for...?
And the difficult thing is, there are more reproduction dining tables than you'll ever see
and they make them beautifully, very, very good timber, copying the same designs exactly.
-What date do you think this table is?
-Haven't a clue. I just thought it was reproduction.
There's a few good giveaways.
One always looks for the construction on the underside.
The top can be repolished and refinished.
Looking at the underside,
one of the things I always like to look for is the catch itself.
This is a very nice traditional design of catch.
Can you see where the light catches bits of old lacquer on the brass?
It's a wonderful finishing technique which most reproduction dining tables don't have.
-That is a very nice Georgian catch.
You also would expect to see quite a lot of corresponding wear between the top and the base,
because the tilt top section...
these end sections and the central pedestal should mark the top.
You've got corresponding wear here.
-I wondered what that was.
-When it's down there, it's pushing through.
With shrinkage over time,
this piece lifts up and stands a little bit proud of the platform.
Let's have a look at the base.
It's got this very confident ring-turned baluster shaft
running all the way down, very, very nicely turned,
lovely colour, dense timber with these nice reeded legs
and with a good amount of wear
round the bottom where fidgety feet
have scraped along, so you've lost some of the definition that's raised here.
That's a good sign. The sandwich construction of the platform,
made of pine in three sections, is exactly as one would like to see.
These are all promising signs of its being an antique dining table.
I hadn't noticed the sandwiching.
-These, however, are not so good.
I mean, they've got these rather...
Those would suggest that this is not a period dining table if you're looking at those alone.
-The good news for you is that these are not the original supports.
And the real giveaway is that you've got here, filled holes
-and shadow marks for longer bearers which originally went here.
But if we just swing it round a little bit
and then let's see how it goes.
Now, it's a very, very nice, good three-pedestal dining table,
and they're extremely desirable.
One thing that affects the value of a dining table - and this isn't a reproduction, as you feared...
-It is a late 18th-century dining table,
which is quite close, in the design of the plinth, to the dining tables
that Gillows of London and Lancaster produced in the 1790s,
but the colour of the top has been taken back.
That was in our attic for a long time and those two have been used.
-Right, because there's a slight colour difference.
-There is, yes.
-It's had a lot of use over the years, has it?
In fact, we used to put the table tennis net across here and play table tennis round it.
-From end to end?
-Oh, my goodness! Slightly more difficult with a rounded one.
-I wouldn't recommend that.
-Even with the alterations,
this George III, three-pedestal dining table is probably worth
-Because they're such good plinths.
Alistair, of all the priceless pieces of silver you've discovered,
you have brought in a table full of fakes.
-How do you know they're fakes?
-It's largely down to experience.
You have to know where certain pieces were marked at a particular period in time.
In the 18C, they marked particular objects in a particular way.
The most important thing to remember about silver...
is that it's the only part of antiques that's governed by Act of Parliament,
so you're limited to what you can and can't do to a piece of silver.
So a fake is something that has contravened that?
Yes, that's the short answer to it.
There are different types of fake. Probably the most common one,
is that you cannot change an object from the original purpose for which it was hallmarked.
If we look at this coffee pot here, which is rather an odd shape,
does it strike you as being reminiscent of anything else?
-A good old tankard.
-Well, that's exactly what it is, yes.
If you mask away the spout there...
-..there you have an absolutely standard mid-18C tankard,
hallmarked here for 1755 by a firm called Gurney and Cook,
but it's been to the Goldsmiths' Hall
and they've stuck marks on it to show that it has had additions.
What they forgot to do was put the marks on the addition itself,
but as this piece was from the first year that this law came in, 1844, I think we can let them off.
But that was transformed from a tankard into a coffee pot.
I should just add that decoration - and this decoration is also about 1844 - is not illegal.
You can decorate a piece of silver
-if you don't change the use of it.
-When you say illegal,
-are people liable for prison sentences, fines?
-Yes, in the 18C,
prison was - and transportation -
was a very common punishment for repeating offenders.
-There's nothing new in this particular crime?
-Fakes have been going on for centuries.
That's why we have one of the best hallmarking systems in the world,
a wonderful form of consumer protection going back 700 years.
Have any of these pieces got a very dramatic history?
Well, this little cream jug, which looks harmless enough,
is part of one of the most famous fraud cases ever to come to light.
Two characters, Charles Twinam and Reuben Lyon,
in the late 1890s, made such a substantial number of fakes,
that the Goldsmiths' Hall published for the first time in their history
a special booklet listing all the pieces they'd found,
with all the fake punches.
This is a cream jug made by these two with a false set of marks,
with a date letter for 1783,
and it actually was made round about 1895-1898.
-So, by being so greedy, they helped the cause of justice.
This is the most extraordinary illustrated diary I've seen.
It's over three years and each page is covered with these most extraordinary drawings.
-Where did it come from?
well, it belonged to my great-aunt who was a tailoress
and from what I've been told, she got it in part payment
-because a gentleman hadn't enough money to pay.
-How much was the debt?
-I've no idea.
-Well, this is lovely! Just open this little door...
and there's wonderful things in the cupboard,
including some little gremlins drinking pop or something.
They're all very amateur,
but nevertheless they're very much to the point.
This one here gives me a slight clue that it's not English.
You don't know where it came from at all?
-No, I don't.
-A slight clue is this is called A Temperance Lecture.
I'm not saying we didn't have temperance lectures in England,
but I think they're more likely to have had big temperance time in America.
And as I go through, I mean, these wacky little pictures...
Look, this is quite extraordinary.
"Melting brass burnt through the patty pan."
And here he is, and this tie is very un-English, don't you think?
-I mean it IS in English.
But it suggests to me that it is American, so we're talking about American primitive art,
and the other thing which backs this up is this wonderful list here, in the back.
"There are 26 states which consists the Northern, Middle and Southern states." This is all America.
-And it lists them all here,
and the territories, "Wisconsin, Iona, Florida..."
Iona? Iowa, sorry! I can't read his writing.
"..and Columbia District." But that's absolutely lovely.
It's in a little green vellum binding, little brass clasp,
a little bit worn, but I think we will forgive it that,
but essentially it is just a delight.
-Value, any idea?
None at all, really.
Well, I think we'll go for £5,000.
-I hope the debt is now repaid!
-Thank you very much.
-Very exciting to see.
It belonged to my husband's family. My husband's lived in the farmhouse for as long as we can remember.
My husband found it when he was a little boy up in the attic.
From what we can gather, it belonged to a family member.
Now the interesting part of this helmet... We're in Boston,
and here around the title is "Holland Cavalry".
Now, this area is known as Holland,
-Boston, is it not?
So we've got a helmet for the locality and really it gets better
because at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars,
they had what was called a tarlatan helmet which the officers wore, and the troopers.
Some of those tarlatan helmets exist for the officers,
but you very rarely get other ranks' helmets.
Now it wouldn't surprise me if this is prior tarlatan.
-Now, we're talking about 1795 now.
France declared war on us in 1793
and then it went on more or less without a break till 1815,
nearly 22 years of war, but these early helmets, they just do not exist.
I can't emphasise enough,
they are that rare.
I think any collector of this period would be willing to pay
-about £4,000-5,000 for a helmet like this.
This is a tiny, tiny, little ring. What prompted you to bring it?
-Well, because I believe it's valuable.
-What made you think that?
-Well, it says Lalique inside.
-What do you know about Lalique?
-I know they did...
-They do a lot of...
-They didn't only do jewellery...
-Pottery as well?
-Yes, glass later on, yeah.
-Well, that's where we realised it could be valuable.
Well, it's not only a rare thing,
-but it's a very beautiful thing, isn't it?
-Who gave it to you?
Old gentleman who lived next door...
We looked after him. He was left on his own, we looked after him and so on. He was 94 years old.
-And did he know about...?
-I don't really know, no.
-I don't think he realised the value of it.
-But what has to be said,
is that this is a complete little masterpiece of goldsmith's work
and it's made by one of the towering geniuses of the Art Nouveau Movement, Rene Lalique.
He is a genius who chose to work in jewellery, then moved on to glass,
and this is a tiny expression of his work, but it's all there.
-Now, what do you think about this green material?
-Is it enamel?
It's a particular sort of enamel,
which we call plique-a-jour enamel which means "applied to the day."
That's a way of saying that it's an enamel without a background.
Lalique was returning to nature.
-His inspiration comes from plant life and animal life.
In order to achieve that, he used a Japanese technique,
suggesting the veins in leaves and the veins in the wings of buzzing insects with pierced gold,
and then he'd hold the enamel in suspension, like a bubble,
and it gives a little bit of naturalism, more than a little bit.
-Now the reason it's tiny is that it's a ring.
So this is not marks against it that it is a tiny work of art.
People collect these things
-and if it turned up in a sale, two collectors wanting it...
..I think maybe £5,000-6,000 wouldn't be completely mad.
I'm not generally in favour of flowery porcelain.
It's not my taste, and pink roses...eugh!
something is so over the top and blousy
and in-your-face that it just kind of works.
And this absolutely works for me.
I think it's absolutely brilliant.
-Do you like it?
-I do, I mean, it's always been in the cupboard at home.
It's never been allowed out for fear of it being broken,
but yes, I do, yeah.
OK, the fear of it being broken
suggests that you thought it might be of some merit.
Not me personally, but I think my parents...
It was handed down from Great Aunt Lucy in Nottingham to my mother.
And she always valued it, I think, because of Great Aunt Lucy.
I think that me, as a small child,
because it was colourful and pretty and little girls with tea sets...
-Absolutely, but you weren't allowed to play with it?
-No, I wasn't, no.
And Nottingham's interesting.
-D'you know where it comes from?
-This is Derby porcelain.
And we've got on here a typical Derby puce mark.
Puce is this particular pinky colour.
And it's all...I've had a look - I say all, most of it...
and it appears to be puce marked except one piece which is...
Now the puce mark ran up till 1800 and then it changed to a red mark.
This suggests to me
we're exactly on the cusp of 1800, unless that's a replacement,
which it doesn't look to me as if it is -
that's where we're at, we're on the year 1800.
Now you were quite right to be kept from playing with it as a child,
although I will give you permission when you get home to play with it for 5 minutes, very carefully!
Dare I now? I just don't know.
Well, it's a rather wonderful survival. There seem to be...
I haven't counted, but, I mean, a dozen each of the coffee can...
Now, how are we going to value this? It is without a teapot.
-I do... I'm sure I have a teapot.
OK, let's price it individually.
You would get £150 to £200 for the slop bowl.
The plates are a bit worn, or this one's a bit worn,
so we're looking at perhaps £250, £300, £400 for the plates.
The jug, we've got a bit of misfiring on... No, it's dirt.
-Don't draw attention to it!
-It could all do with a slight clean.
£250 to £350.
is such a wonderful neoclassical shape,
it's so clean and bright,
I think we're looking at about...
-pushing £1,000 for that.
And a saucer,
a coffee can and a teacup,
which is what we call a trio,
we're looking about £400 to £600.
-If you tot that up overall, without the teapot,
-which we may or may not have got...
-I think we have.
-We're looking at somewhere around £4,000 to £6,000.
I just can't believe it, I really can't.
It's a good job I wasn't allowed to play with it. It's terrible.
See if you can find the pot.
-If you can find the pot, another £3,000.
I'll find the pot. I'll find the pot!
-Thank you very much.
Standing next to a massive piece of furniture seems the perfect place to say goodbye from Boston,
home to the tallest working windmill and the largest parish church in the land.
And now I'm going to look for the deepest cup of tea!
Thanks to all the Bostonians for bringing us a wide range of items.
You can find out more about silver from our website, but now from Lincolnshire, goodbye.
Subtitles by Suzanne Macdonald and Dorothy Moore
Michael Aspel presents an edition from Boston, Lincolnshire, where the founders of the Massachussetts city originated. Interesting finds include a dining table valued at £25,000 formerly used for table tennis, a Chinese fertility figure rescued from a shipwreck and a baseball from the 1936 Olympics.