Bala Antiques Roadshow


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Bala

Michael Aspel and the experts travel to Lake Bala, north Wales, where they see a pair of books inscribed to a local by Queen Victoria and an unusual collection of tie pins.


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This week we're near Snowdonia - a land of mountains and myths,

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romance and railways, shimmering lakes and wild, wild water.

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The National White Water Centre is a major attraction,

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not far from the town of Bala, whose name means "outflow of a river from a lake" -

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in this case Wales's largest natural lake, Llyn Tegid.

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Strangely enough, Bala was founded by the English in the 14th century

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to keep the unruly Welsh in order -

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not a total success. And it's now known as "Calon Gynnes Cymru",

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which means "a warm heart of Wales".

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THEY SPEAK WELSH

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The Welsh language is melodic, but to outsiders impenetrable,

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and in this area it's spoken by 90% of the population.

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Heave a brick from Bala High Street, and you'll find what looks like a prehistoric stone circle.

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But it's less than 40 years old, and marks the proclamation spot of the 1967 National Eisteddfod.

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The idea was inspired by a mystical moment from a festival in Carmarthen

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when a Welsh poet whipped 12 pebbles from his pocket and placed them in a circle on the ground.

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Wales was at the forefront of the Nonconformist movement.

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Mighty chapels sprang up everywhere, and Bibles were brought in by the truckload.

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Methodist leader Thomas Charles preached to thousands in Bala,

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and was a pioneer of both the Sunday School movement and the Bible Society.

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Given the Methodists' insistence on temperance, it's surprising that the area had its own distillery

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making Welsh whisky, and here's the proof -

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well, 70% proof, anyway!

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RJ Lloyd Price, who built the distillery, also instigated the first ever sheepdog trial.

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In 2002, Bala hosted the first World Sheepdog Championships,

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and it was a Welsh Shepherd who emerged as top dog.

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We're holding today's Roadshow at the Penllyn Leisure Centre, across the lake,

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but, whatever comes our way, I don't think our experts will see anything as rare as THIS.

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It's a gwyniad,

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and it's found only in Llyn Tegid, and it's a protected species.

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Whether it's nice with chips - we'll never know!

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So, the time has come to dive in.

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-Have you some other pieces?

-Yes.

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-Where do you keep him?

-Well, I keep it in the best room.

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-In the best room?

-Yes.

-How long have you had him?

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-Um, a few years.

-A few years.

-Yes.

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-I think it's French.

-The name is Delphin Massier.

-Yeah.

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He was a potter working at Golfe-Juan in France,

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and, in fact, that's where Picasso went, and did HIS ceramics,

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but rather later than this.

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This dates back to the turn of the 19th-20th century -

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about 1895-1900.

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And, in fact, this is right at the end of the Aesthetic movement

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when we were so influenced throughout Europe by Japan,

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and, indeed, all Oriental things.

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You know, we've got a section of bamboo here,

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probably made to take, um, either peacock feathers...

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-or, possibly, you put reeds...

-Yes.

-..bulrushes, grasses...

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-Yes.

-..something like that in this hollow in the back.

-Yes.

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It's made of a material called faience.

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Now, faience is a tin-glazed earthenware.

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It started in Italy as majolica,

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then spread up to Germany and France as faience,

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and we know it in this country, and in Holland, as Delftware.

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It's an earthenware body with a tin glaze - a tin-oxide glaze -

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-on which you can put these brilliant coloured glazes.

-Yes.

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-And this is lead glaze...

-Oh.

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..which are banned now because the lead's poisonous,

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but in these days you could use it,

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-and it enables you to get this wonderful coloration...

-Yes.

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..which you can't do today. They're not as bright or as violent

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-as it is in the case of his comb there.

-Yes.

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I think it's a splendid thing -

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very decorative - exactly the sort of thing which is in fashion.

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Massier's got a good name.

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I could see this easily making £2,000 to £3,000 at auction.

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Really very nice.

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I've no Welsh, but I am learning Spanish

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-because I've got a...

-Oh?

-..a Mexican son-in-law.

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-Yeah.

-My wife spent a year in South America. So, looking at this,

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it says the centenary of a colony - a Welsh colony in Chubut...

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-Yes.

-..which is Patagonia, isn't it?

-Chubut is a small place in Patagonia.

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-A small place in Patagonia?

-Yeah.

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-What is the connection - 1865-1965?

-Because the people went over.

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-Michael D Jones and the...

-Was the person who appears on the...

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-On the teapot and the kettle.

-Yes.

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First, Lewis Jones went over and see the places,

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-and said it's a nice place to take Welsh people over.

-Yes.

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And, er, they make friends with the Indians -

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Tehuelche. Tehuelches are very good Indians.

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They show the Welsh people how to catch the animals and things like that.

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And he then funded it from Bala?

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-Yes.

-Yes?

-He used to live in Bala.

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-And you clearly lived out there, and you now live here?

-I born there.

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Michael Jones - these are commemorative plates.

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I see that impressed into the clay there...

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-Yeah.

-..is a date, 1904.

-Yeah.

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-This may be close to the time of his death.

-Yes...

-He was born in 1822.

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-After the death, they make this one.

-Yes.

-Yeah.

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-And you've got two types of tea here.

-Yes.

-The mate tea which is...

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Yeah, that is a green tea. It's a mate used in South America,

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but it's bitter. When you try it for the first time it's bitter.

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And is that the preferred tea out in Patagonia

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-of the Welsh community?

-No, this one, they use.

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-So, they would have served two types of tea?

-Yes.

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These are local commemorative items for Michael Jones...

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-Yes.

-..people who know who he is would be very keen to have such things.

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Yeah, because you can't get this one now, and not a lot of people got it.

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-They are, I think, very rare.

-Very rare.

-Because outside Bala and the local area,

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-I can't imagine there'd be that much demand.

-No.

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-I suspect you're looking at about £100 for the teapot...

-I don't know.

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-..and probably just under that for the plate.

-Yeah, for the plate.

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The mate teapot - about the same.

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-Yes.

-Not big values, but thank you for bringing these.

-You're welcome.

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I can tell from the quality of the binding they are something special.

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That is a wonderful green Morocco binding.

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They've probably got a binder's name in it somewhere.

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-That's the binder's name.

-Oh.

-"R Ingalton Drake, Binder."

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-Now, more than that - we've got a Victoria signature here.

-We have.

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-And this one, as well?

-That one, as well.

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-Right.

-They were two books given to...

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-my children's great-great-grandfather...

-I see.

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..on her visit in 1889 to North Wales when she stayed at Pale Hall,

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which was the family home then.

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They are "Leaves From The Journal Of Our Life In The Highlands"

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written by Queen Victoria,

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and this is "More Leaves From The Journal". So, a sequel, as it were.

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-A sequel!

-Now, what we've got there is a facsimile autograph.

-Yes.

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-And what we have over here is the real autograph.

-Yes.

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Now, that's a very fine inscription.

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It looks to me as if it's all been done by Queen Victoria.

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That in itself is uncommon.

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More often than not, the inscription would've been done by a secretary.

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Then it would have simply been signed by the Queen.

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But the slope of the hand and the colour of the ink

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tells me that she's done that all herself. She valued Mr Robertson,

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and was very pleased to have visited him.

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-I love this, as well.

-That was the house - Pale - where she stayed.

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It was built in the 1870s by this Henry Bryher Robertson's father,

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and he died just before her visit.

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So he was the host to her, and that was dinner, which is rather good.

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-It does look rather good.

-Very good.

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"Her Majesty's Dinner, August 24th 1889."

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All in French, but, if I'm correct, she ended up with creme brulee.

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-Delicious.

-That's very nice.

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Well, these are unique. They are in remarkably good condition.

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What value can I put on them? We've got all the right points.

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We've got a quality binding.

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We've got both volumes - the complete set - both autographed,

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which is absolutely splendid. On the open market...

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-..£500, £600, perhaps £700 - that sort of level...

-Really?

-..on the open market.

-Lovely.

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-I've got to do this.

-Oh, I say!

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I can just imagine this being worn in the '20s. Have you ever worn it?

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-You're not old enough.

-I haven't.

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How did you come to have it?

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I bought it at a local auction about two or three years ago -

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in the auction in Dolgellau, and I just liked it.

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-It's such an unusual colour.

-It certainly is.

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What is so lovely about this era is that the 1920s was,

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-if you like, modernisation of woman.

-Yes.

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-Emancipation - they threw away their corsets. They were free.

-Free.

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-I love the stylised...

-It's glorious.

-..bows.

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-They're like bows.

-They are.

-They're not flowers, are they?

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It could have been made in England. I don't think it's French.

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It's difficult because there's no label.

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-No.

-So, it has a lining,

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but the outside is muslin. It's very fragile,

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and very heavy - with all the beads.

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-It just lends itself to the dance.

-It certainly does.

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At the bottom - I had to look twice

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because I thought, "Hang on - it isn't quite the right length."

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-Now, the '20s were the short length.

-Yes.

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Then, suddenly, by the time we got to the 1930s, it was much longer.

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-I see.

-And so someone has put that on so they can go on wearing it.

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-How do you keep it at home?

-Um, I lay it...

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I've got it on a layer of acid-free tissue,

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and I keep it flat because to hang it would be... The weight of the beads would drag it.

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-I think you're right.

-But I'm hoping you can give me advice on that.

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Well, the advice is I think you're doing absolutely the right thing.

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-You want to protect it from moths.

-Yes.

-Acid-free paper is the right thing. What did you pay for it?

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£50.

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You HAVE done well!

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That's fantastic! Well, you've obviously got a good eye.

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In the right sale, probably, in London,

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-we are talking about somewhere between £500 and £800.

-Wow!

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-I didn't expect that much.

-That's a pretty good return...

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-It is.

-..compared to stocks and shares.

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I had a draught in my sitting room.

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I was in an auction in Machynlleth. I saw this,

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and I thought, "That's pretty. OK, £5." I got it, and that's it.

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-You bought it as a draught excluder?

-That's what I bought it as, originally.

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-22 years ago, I think.

-About 22 years ago.

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-Yeah.

-I mean, 22 years ago, it wasn't an awful lot of money.

-No, it was dirt cheap.

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Have you any idea about the origin?

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-No idea. I've done nothing. That's why I've come to see you.

-That makes me feel wanted, actually.

-Oh!

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-The giveaway is the ladies because they're from the Far East.

-Yes.

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I think you've got to go as far as Japan. The faces are done in ivory.

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-Yeah.

-Date-wise, this is probably around about 1900 -

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I reckon that your £5... has probably turned itself

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into somewhere around about maybe £100,

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-or possibly...

-Well...

-..£150.

-My lucky day.

-It WAS your lucky day.

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It's all very well having a chipped jug, but this goes beyond the pale.

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-Do you know what it is?

-I don't.

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It's a traveller's sample from the 1880s.

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This is Wedgwood, and they would come with a bowl,

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a vase, toothbrush box and cover, sponge box and cover, soap dish...

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It's such a wacky survivor from that period. Value - what do you reckon?

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I just find it interesting. I don't know the value.

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For the conversation alone

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it's got to be worth between £70 and £100 - just to have one. I'd love it.

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Judging by the condition and the copper showing,

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it looks like you've been in battle with it. Where did it come from?

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I acquired it when my mother died. I inherited it.

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Well, it's actually made by a very interesting process called electroforming,

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which is basically building up from a mould, layer upon layer,

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and you get this perfect reproduction of an original.

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It's made by Elkington's - a firm who were the great pioneers of this.

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It was designed by this chap here, Morel Ladeuil,

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who worked for Elkington's.

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It's actually signed and dated 1878.

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I think this is what they called The Milton Shield.

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Originally, it was all completely covered in electroplate.

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My mother cleaned it religiously.

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-I think... She was obviously a very zealous cleaner(!)

-Yes, indeed.

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In this sort of condition, I think, if you put a figure

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-of about £2,000 for insurance.

-Really?

-Yeah.

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That's lovely. Thank you very much.

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The clock in the middle here has a name, which I think is a local name.

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-Ruthin.

-So, this is quite a local piece, one would imagine?

-Yes.

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-I think this is really rather an unusual feature. You don't see clocks...

-No.

-..in many dressers.

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It's got lots of lovely features

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that really are, in some senses, characteristic of this area.

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It has these reeded architectural pilasters at the sides,

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but not very sophisticated - they're just little mouldings,

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but they have matched the quarter columns of the clock,

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-and I'm told that there's a secret...

-The secret drawer.

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-So, it comes out sideways. Oh, that really is quite secret.

-Yes.

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-Have you ever seen anything in it?

-Nothing much worth having.

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-There never is!

-Unfortunately.

-There never is, it seems to me.

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And then you've got this, the board,

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which is the sideboard - so silky, so smooth. Even though it's oak,

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which is a wide-grained timber, this is lovely to feel.

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Then you come down to the panelled doors with these fielded panels,

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which is very much a characteristic of pieces of this area, too.

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So, it's a fascinating piece because it's a traditional dresser form,

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but with a clock incorporated.

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-There do exist dressers WITH clocks, but very, very rarely. I think.

-Yes.

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Er...in the current market, it's actually quite difficult

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to put a precise sale value on something like this.

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My gut feeling is in the region of £4,000 to £6,000, but, as I say,

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if you get more people in a local area who want it,

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it's likely to go much higher than that.

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That's a portrait of myself 50-odd years ago.

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-I see. Now, the uniform is of...?

-Is of Christ's Hospital School.

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Orange or yellow socks?

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-Er, orange.

-Orange. Yes.

-Yes.

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-It's painted by Charles Spencelayh, as you obviously know.

-Yes.

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-It's extraordinary because he was almost 90 at this time.

-Mm-hm.

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Tell me about when you were painted by him.

0:17:340:17:37

Well, the worst problem was having to cycle to where he lived -

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to Bozeat in Northamptonshire.

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I had to cycle about seven or eight miles, and then get changed into the uniform.

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I sat around most of the day and then cycled home.

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You say it almost as if it was a chore. Why was it commissioned?

0:17:540:17:58

I take it you didn't want it to be done, but it was your parents.

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Well, I went to Christ's Hospital, thanks to a governess,

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-and, as far as I understand, she would have settled the bill.

-Really? How fascinating.

-Yes.

0:18:080:18:14

Yeah. Well, I think, looking at the picture and some of the detail,

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I am taken by the stamp album.

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I don't think I've ever seen pages of such brightly coloured stamps -

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perhaps they weren't really, but it added some detail in the picture.

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-Were you a county lawn tennis player?

-No.

0:18:300:18:33

-So, the paraphernalia there - it's a lot of artistic licence?

-Yes.

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Was the landscape a view from the window?

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-Oh, no!

-It's a complete invention?

-Yes.

-Wonderful.

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Even the crack in the pane of glass...

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-Well, he's obviously using all his skills in his inventions, and so on.

-That's right.

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But we must consider the value. I would think that, for insurance,

0:18:550:19:00

-£10,000 or £12,000 would be a proper figure to put on it.

-Yes. Yes.

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Last week I did over 1,000 miles in five days,

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and I stopped at every antique shop you can imagine

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between Suffolk and here, and I bought this.

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Now, what is it and what's it worth?

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Well, as YOU bought it, it must be worth something.

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It's a little tiny vase, and it looks as if it's from the Far East,

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and, um, I should think it's probably worth...£150?

0:19:280:19:34

Pretty good.

0:19:340:19:35

-Well, actually, I paid £18. Right?

-Yeah.

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That's what it was worth to the person that sold it,

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who probably paid £10 for it, who've got to make their profit on it.

0:19:450:19:49

This question of values is one which confuses people the whole time.

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I can give you at least four valuations for any one object -

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all of which are correct.

0:20:000:20:02

Which is the first one you go for?

0:20:020:20:04

Probate is the lowest value you put on something.

0:20:040:20:09

Next, you put auction price. That is a guesstimate based on experience,

0:20:090:20:16

and that is the price that we USUALLY give on the Roadshow.

0:20:160:20:20

If we're quoting £1,000 to £1,500 on something -

0:20:200:20:24

that is an auction price.

0:20:240:20:26

-Next?

-Next one up is retail.

0:20:260:20:29

That is the auction price,

0:20:290:20:32

plus what the dealer is going to have to put on to cover his costs and his profit,

0:20:320:20:39

and it's probably double upper estimate.

0:20:390:20:44

Now, he may come down a bit if you were to buy it in a shop,

0:20:440:20:47

but we're looking at roughly double.

0:20:470:20:50

And then above THAT you've got insurance, and that's the highest,

0:20:500:20:54

and that is to cover you against loss if it's stolen or broken.

0:20:540:20:59

-What about jewellery? I know that's not your line, but the mark-up is colossal.

-Huge. Huge.

0:20:590:21:05

I remember sitting in a... board meeting at the auction house I used to work for,

0:21:050:21:11

and we were discussing insurance values, and we were saying we would double up on the upper sale room -

0:21:110:21:18

effectively, a retail price - perhaps a little more for insurance.

0:21:180:21:23

And the jewellery guy popped up, and he said, "I would put five to seven times sale room",

0:21:230:21:29

because the jewellery dealer has to hold a HUGE

0:21:290:21:34

and expensive stock,

0:21:340:21:36

so his overheads are much greater.

0:21:360:21:39

Therefore, his profit has to be larger,

0:21:390:21:42

he has to charge more, and the insurance figure is much more.

0:21:420:21:45

But my little pot... I paid £18 for it.

0:21:450:21:51

You were pretty good. I think, probably,

0:21:510:21:54

in a smart shop in London - retail -

0:21:540:21:56

we'd be talking about £300.

0:21:560:21:58

-Uh?

-And it proves there are still good things to be found

0:21:580:22:03

in this country if you look hard enough.

0:22:030:22:06

Do you wear a disguise when you go shopping?

0:22:060:22:08

You can find all that information about valuations on our website.

0:22:100:22:15

It comes from my mother's side of the family -

0:22:150:22:20

-most of it must be from my great-grandmother.

-Right.

0:22:200:22:24

This is the most modern piece.

0:22:240:22:26

-It's probably my grandmother's.

-That was probably made about 1920.

0:22:260:22:31

-Is that following?

-Yes.

-It's separate calibre rubies

0:22:310:22:35

and pave-set diamonds. It's a really nice Art Deco piece, actually -

0:22:350:22:41

-it's a very pretty ring.

-It's a favourite piece of mine.

-It would be of mine, too.

0:22:410:22:47

Value-wise, one's looking to insure that for round about £2,500, so...

0:22:470:22:53

-Really?

-I'm not surprised it's a favourite.

-Lovely.

0:22:530:22:57

Looking at the other pieces, this is typically Edwardian.

0:22:570:23:02

It's a nice twist pattern gold necklet.

0:23:020:23:05

It's set with half pearls and a full pearl in the centre.

0:23:050:23:10

The reason for that is,

0:23:100:23:13

-if you put all full ones in this setting, you'd knock them off.

-OK.

0:23:130:23:17

-It also doubles up on the price you'd pay for it.

-Yes.

0:23:170:23:22

-This, of course, fits on the bottom.

-Yeah.

0:23:220:23:26

I'd say a combination like that,

0:23:260:23:29

if you went to buy one today, would cost you at least £2,000,

0:23:290:23:32

and this one - alone - you're looking at probably £800 or more

0:23:320:23:38

-if you went to buy it.

-My goodness!

-Tell me about this.

0:23:380:23:42

Well, that name is my great-grandmother's maiden name.

0:23:420:23:48

-Right.

-Um, but I know so little about it.

0:23:490:23:53

I've asked my mother - she doesn't know anything about them, either.

0:23:530:23:59

-There are obviously three children. This is a mourning brooch.

-Yes.

0:23:590:24:04

-Three children died - 10, 5 and 3. You know nothing about that?

-No.

0:24:040:24:09

It's not in very good condition on the front.

0:24:090:24:13

Normally, somebody left money in the will for people to remember them by,

0:24:130:24:19

-but it's unusual to get four members of the family.

-Yes.

0:24:190:24:22

-I mean, as a mourning brooch, the thing itself is quite badly damaged on the enamelling.

-Yes.

0:24:220:24:30

Even so, the interest in that would push the price up,

0:24:300:24:34

-so you'd be looking in the region of, what, £400 to £600 for that.

-Gracious me!

0:24:340:24:40

-You've some insurance to pay, I'm afraid.

-Thank you very much.

-OK.

0:24:400:24:46

-It was my grandparents, who were Belgian...

-Ah, right.

0:24:460:24:51

-..through my mother, who was also Belgian...

-Right.

-..down to me.

-OK.

0:24:510:24:56

-You know full well this is a Belgian piece of glass.

-Yes, indeed it is.

0:24:560:25:02

-We don't often get Belgian glass.

-No.

-When you think of Belgian glass, you think of one factory.

0:25:020:25:08

-Yes.

-And that is...

-Val St Lambert.

-Val St Lambert.

0:25:080:25:12

They made some great things. It's very misunderstood as a factory.

0:25:120:25:17

-This is one of their better cameo vases.

-Yes.

0:25:170:25:21

Very much in the tradition that was pioneered by Emile Galle and Daum, for that matter, in Nancy,

0:25:210:25:28

-but what about a signature?

-There is a signature on it.

-OK, let's keep moving.

-Keep turning!

0:25:280:25:35

-Keep turning! Found it.

-That's it?

-Yeah.

-Do you know what that is?

0:25:350:25:40

-No, I don't know the name.

-You don't?

-No.

-Well, you do really,

0:25:400:25:45

because if you look at that, that is a V, S and L.

0:25:450:25:50

-It's a monogram used by the St Lambert factory.

-I hadn't twigged.

0:25:500:25:55

That makes me feel very useful.

0:25:550:25:58

Um, so, you know, the more I'm holding onto this,

0:25:580:26:02

-the less chance you have of getting it back. It's lovely. I'm assuming you both like it?

-It's beautiful.

0:26:020:26:09

It is a beautiful piece of glass.

0:26:090:26:12

If it was mine, quite honestly, I wouldn't part with anything less than £1,500 or £1,800 for it.

0:26:120:26:20

-Good.

-You'd better take it off me, because I'm loathe to pass it back.

-All right.

-It is a little treasure.

0:26:200:26:27

-These are what I need for my future grandchildren.

-Yes.

0:26:280:26:32

-Drinking his milk, probably.

-That's unusual. Maybe it's honey.

-Could be!

0:26:320:26:38

-Even his tail goes round, too. He's very busy.

-Yes.

0:26:390:26:43

Then you've got this jack-in-the-box.

0:26:430:26:47

-Yes.

-Let's see if he works.

-Very frightening. Oh, there we are.

0:26:470:26:51

-Quite frightening, if you're young.

-Yes, it is - my children didn't like it very much at all.

0:26:510:26:58

-It is frightening, but this is Chinese.

-Yes.

-It has a rubber head,

0:26:580:27:03

but the star is... Shall we see what he does?

0:27:030:27:07

Yes.

0:27:070:27:09

-Ooh! That's fantastic! Even those...

-Very energetic!

-Absolutely!

0:27:120:27:18

-Now, this is actually a German make.

-Yes.

-It's by Arnold, which started in Nuremberg in 1906,

0:27:180:27:25

but they started after the war making these sort of toys, so this is probably around 1950.

0:27:250:27:31

Starting from him, he's probably worth about £40 to £60 at auction.

0:27:310:27:37

-Not a great deal.

-No.

-This one a bit less.

-Right.

0:27:370:27:42

You want two people in an auction wanting him - I would say we are talking of about £150.

0:27:420:27:49

Oh, right, yes. That's a lot, yes.

0:27:490:27:51

I wouldn't sell him!

0:27:510:27:54

Way! Whoop!

0:27:540:27:55

Very entertaining!

0:27:560:27:59

But in the 1920s,

0:27:590:28:01

my mother-in-law sent this to a jumble sale here in Bala.

0:28:010:28:06

My husband, who was a teenager, was so upset about his beloved cats being sent to the jumble sale,

0:28:060:28:13

-couldn't persuade his mother to withdraw them, so he bought them for sixpence.

-Sixpence?

-Sixpence.

0:28:130:28:20

-My goodness!

-Which was more money in those days, of course.

-It's still not enough money I'd suggest.

0:28:200:28:26

-They've stayed here ever since.

-They're Austrian or German terracotta.

-Are they?

0:28:260:28:33

Made, I would've thought, in the 1880-1890 period,

0:28:330:28:37

and they are...

0:28:370:28:40

Well, they'd make at auction, they'd be very popular at auction.

0:28:400:28:43

-Nowadays? Would they?

-Even now.

-Would they?

0:28:430:28:46

-I suspect they'd make between £300 and £400.

-Oh, really?

0:28:460:28:50

-Yes.

-Better than sixpence!

-Very much. Thank you.

-Lovely. Thank you.

0:28:500:28:56

-Two tickets - one is from Llanuwchllyn to Bala.

-Yes.

0:28:560:29:00

The other's from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bala.

0:29:000:29:03

-Is that the date?

-Yes.

0:29:030:29:05

-That's June 5th 1895.

-1895.

-I've got a pair, actually, of those - 107 and 108.

0:29:050:29:11

-They're GWR items?

-They are.

-And this says, "One dog."

-"One dog."

0:29:110:29:17

The fare from Llanuwchllyn to Bala was three pence, which I think was very expensive in them days.

0:29:170:29:24

-Three pence?

-Yes.

-Still expensive. They're both tickets for dogs?

-Both tickets for dogs, yes.

0:29:240:29:30

-You collect this sort of material?

-Yes.

-Are these very rare?

-Yes. I wish I'd brought the whole lot!

0:29:300:29:38

-I just love everything about it.

-So where'd it come from?

0:29:400:29:45

It came from an old... well, a sort of second-hand shop in, um, Llangollen

0:29:450:29:51

when we first came here about 15 years ago.

0:29:510:29:56

-We saw it in the shop and I fell in love with the colour of it.

-It's wonderful.

0:29:560:30:01

Yes. It just called to me.

0:30:010:30:04

-The thing itself, a chest on a low stand, obviously goes back to the 17th century.

-Yes.

0:30:040:30:10

-But the style of this suggests a bit later.

-Right.

-I think you're putting it into the 18th century,

0:30:100:30:16

but being a country piece of furniture, it's in oak, rather than a walnut veneer,

0:30:160:30:22

which is what grand furniture would've been, but it's lifted out of being just oak furniture

0:30:220:30:29

-by this very broad crossband...

-Yes.

-..that you've got in it,

0:30:290:30:34

which is a feature that you get in the north of England, certainly,

0:30:340:30:39

-possibly across into North Wales, as well.

-Yes.

-Has this veneer lifted fractionally?

0:30:390:30:46

It's not actually a veneer.

0:30:460:30:49

You've got solid panels of oak making the drawer fronts

0:30:490:30:54

-and this is actually inlaid into the solid panel, so this is walnut which is inlaid.

-Oh, right.

0:30:540:31:01

You can see how thick the inlay is because there's a bit missing there.

0:31:010:31:06

It really is thicker than you would find with a veneer,

0:31:060:31:11

but this is what's so great about this piece - you've got the solid quite open grain of the oak,

0:31:110:31:17

then the cross grain of the walnut, which has been applied in sections.

0:31:170:31:22

-Because they've lifted slightly, you've this flickering movement...

-Ribbon.

-..which is like ribbon.

0:31:220:31:29

-Exactly! It really brings the thing alive.

-Yes, that's the thing that attracted me.

0:31:290:31:36

-Obviously its feet were bigger.

-Tell me about the feet - they look very quirky.

-We never cut them off!

0:31:360:31:44

-It wasn't you?

-No, it was like that.

-No, but we know they should have been more of a cabriole leg.

0:31:440:31:51

-They must've rotted.

-Stood about that high, probably.

-Yes.

-Probably rotted away on concrete floors.

0:31:510:31:58

That cabriole leg would date it in the 18th century, rather than the 17th century.

0:31:580:32:04

-Would you say the handles were original?

-Um, no. In fact, I think you can see in certain places

0:32:040:32:11

-evidence of other handles.

-They've been replaced.

0:32:110:32:15

To me, they're a little too fancy, too open, but beautiful colour.

0:32:150:32:20

Um, I think in the right sale, you're looking at £3,000 to £4,000.

0:32:200:32:26

-Very nice.

-That sort of region.

-We didn't pay that much for it.

0:32:260:32:31

A fellow tie pin collector!

0:32:320:32:34

-How did you start collecting?

-My great grandfather collected them.

0:32:340:32:40

He probably had a lot of them made up.

0:32:400:32:43

I mean, there's one here, for instance -

0:32:430:32:46

the first tooth his only child, my grandfather, lost.

0:32:460:32:50

-A nice idea to have it made into a tin pin.

-It's lovely. It's mounted up in diamonds, too.

-It is pretty.

0:32:500:32:57

This one here catches my eye.

0:32:570:33:00

-It's signed by William Essex...

-Right.

-..who was quite famous for this type of pin.

0:33:000:33:06

What about this one?

0:33:060:33:09

-That's interesting.

-Yes.

-Do you know the significance of it?

-Not at all.

0:33:090:33:14

-The King of Clubs.

-King or Jack.

0:33:140:33:17

-Jack of Clubs.

-Yes. And what about the FUL at the top? Any ideas?

-No.

0:33:170:33:23

No? Obviously, with tie pins, lots of them are made up FOR people - the novelty ones particularly are.

0:33:230:33:30

He was quite a gambling man -

0:33:300:33:33

there's one, looks like a horse's bridle, is it?

0:33:330:33:37

-Indeed it is.

-It says "2 to 1" in the middle.

-That's it, yeah.

0:33:370:33:41

"2 to 1", yes.

0:33:410:33:43

-This one's a real gambler's one, as well.

-Indeed, indeed.

-Yeah.

0:33:430:33:48

-That's very pretty, all enamelled.

-They're beautifully made.

0:33:480:33:52

I don't know what the significance is,

0:33:520:33:55

the cupid's bow and the "up".

0:33:550:33:58

-There's obviously significance.

-I couldn't tell you.

0:33:580:34:02

-There's also a significance here.

-That's rude.

0:34:020:34:05

It is rude.

0:34:050:34:07

-The screw and the U, yes.

-The screw and the U.

0:34:070:34:11

The one thing I envy you is, I've always wanted a skull.

0:34:110:34:15

They're macabre, but I haven't got one - I do envy you.

0:34:150:34:20

-They're wonderful.

-Yes, they are.

0:34:200:34:22

-They're great fun.

-There's, what, about 30 of them?

-About 30, yes.

0:34:220:34:27

-That's a nice one.

-Lovely.

-That's a reverse crystal intaglio.

-Yeah.

0:34:270:34:32

It's actually incised at the back.

0:34:320:34:35

-It's a cabochon crystal, and into the back they've cut the anchor, then hand-painted it.

-Yeah.

0:34:350:34:41

Always very saleable. It's a wonderful collection.

0:34:410:34:45

-It's got to be £5,000 or £6,000 worth, I'd think.

-Is that right?

0:34:450:34:51

-A very nice collection.

-Thank you.

-Thanks for bringing them.

-Thanks.

0:34:510:34:56

-It belonged to my auntie, and she worked for Lord and Lady Fitzgerald in County Wexford, Ireland.

-Yeah.

0:34:560:35:04

-When she married, this was given to her as a wedding present.

-By the Fitzgeralds?

-Yes.

-A lovely present!

0:35:040:35:11

-It's like a chocolate boxy thing.

-Slightly, except I think it dates from about the 1850s...

0:35:110:35:18

-Oh.

-..so it's previous to that kind of chocolate boxy type of painting.

0:35:180:35:24

-Nonetheless, it's the chocolate box of its time.

-Right.

0:35:240:35:28

-I think this picture is about time. I mean, she's dangling a watch.

-A pocket watch.

-Exactly.

0:35:280:35:35

You can see that it's early evening and there's a bit of a sunset going on behind her, as well.

0:35:350:35:42

Yes, yes. I can see that now.

0:35:420:35:44

I think she's kind of playing with that watch, isn't she? I think it's reminding us about time.

0:35:440:35:52

She's playing with this watch as if playing with time.

0:35:520:35:57

It's a layer of meaning you may not have bothered to think about it, but it's lovely!

0:35:570:36:03

-That's another way of looking at it.

-Yes. Its great success lies in its colours -

0:36:030:36:09

-the sash is such a beautiful lilac, and going round to the band over her hair...

-They all match in.

0:36:090:36:16

Perfectly. And her eyes with that lovely blue...

0:36:160:36:20

It's charming - she's looking directly at you.

0:36:200:36:23

I think it's English - I don't think it's necessarily by an Irish artist.

0:36:230:36:28

In a way, that's bad, because...

0:36:280:36:30

-It'd be nice if it was.

-Yes, and it makes pictures valuable if they're by Irish artists.

-Really?

-Yes.

0:36:300:36:37

The other thing is, it's set in this oval. It's very concentrated - not much is going on around her.

0:36:370:36:44

Totally. It's just her, isn't it?

0:36:440:36:46

-It's like a very large miniature painting.

-Like when you have...?

-Like a cameo or a miniature.

-Yes.

0:36:460:36:54

So, I set to thinking, maybe it's by Sir William Charles Ross.

0:36:540:36:59

Now, he was a society painter, but in miniatures.

0:36:590:37:03

He painted all the grand heads of Europe, including Prince Albert.

0:37:030:37:07

As photography got going, he found miniatures were not so successful

0:37:070:37:13

and he had to look at a different way of painting to support himself.

0:37:130:37:18

He started painting on a larger scale, producing this sort of thing. I was wondering if it was him.

0:37:180:37:25

-Mmm.

-It must remain speculation.

-Only speculation. Totally.

0:37:250:37:29

Any idea what it may be worth? It's been in your family for ever, but...

0:37:290:37:34

We've discussed it occasionally - probably something in the region of £500...at least, I would hope.

0:37:340:37:41

Yes, yes. Well, um, such a pretty picture, isn't it?

0:37:410:37:46

Well, add a nought and you're closer - and a bit.

0:37:460:37:51

-It's probably about £5,000, £6,000.

-Really? That much?

-Oh, absolutely.

0:37:510:37:56

Right, OK!

0:37:560:37:58

When I saw this I began to drool, to salivate, as any watchmaker... any watch collector would,

0:37:590:38:06

as this has everything they're looking for.

0:38:060:38:10

At the bottom are some little feet, which we'll open...

0:38:100:38:14

..and we can lift it up and put the handle up,

0:38:150:38:19

-and it becomes a table clock, but it's built like a chronometer...

-Yes.

-..but isn't.

0:38:190:38:26

No, it puzzles me, so can you tell me anything about it at all?

0:38:260:38:31

I'm sorry. My husband would be able to tell you more.

0:38:310:38:35

I know that when his family got it or inherited it, it caused a lot of fuss and excitement.

0:38:350:38:42

-Why is that?

-I'm so sorry, I don't know, but it's made by Frod...?

0:38:420:38:47

-Frodsham.

-Yes.

-That's part of the excitement. Charles Frodsham & Co - the company still exists in London -

0:38:470:38:53

they lasted throughout the 19th century and 20th century.

0:38:530:38:57

-This particular one was made probably around 1895.

-Right.

0:38:570:39:01

But it is based very much on a chronometer.

0:39:010:39:05

To get into it, you have to unscrew the front, like a chronometer, to set the hands.

0:39:050:39:11

In this example, you set the hands from the back.

0:39:110:39:15

There's very inelegant movements.

0:39:150:39:18

When we turn the whole thing upside down, hopefully the movement will come out - there we come -

0:39:180:39:25

just like a chronometer.

0:39:250:39:27

There we have the most beautiful balance wheel I've ever seen on a clock. That is a work of art.

0:39:270:39:35

It is a compensated balance made of brass and steel.

0:39:350:39:39

It has a mixture of gold and platinum screws around the outer edge for perfect timing.

0:39:390:39:45

Whoever timed this clock would've spent days, if not weeks, getting it absolutely perfect,

0:39:450:39:52

as perfect as he could, so it really is the most magnificent clock.

0:39:520:39:57

There we have - turn it round the other way - what's called the fusee.

0:39:570:40:02

The barrel under here, the fusee for ironing out any uneven strengths of the spring of the clock.

0:40:020:40:10

This would keep time within a few seconds a week. It's a week going clock. It should run for a week.

0:40:100:40:17

-Yes, about four, five, six days.

-You say it runs five, six days - well, it's nearly fully wound now

0:40:170:40:24

and it's having difficulty going, so actually it needs a bit of a clean, there's no doubt about that.

0:40:240:40:31

-So if this was coming to auction, I think you're looking at some £3,500, £4,000 price.

-Really?

0:40:310:40:38

-As much as that?

-You can imagine a bit more - quite a bit more - if you saw it for sale in a shop.

0:40:380:40:45

-Could be £5,000, £6,000.

-Wow.

-It really is the most beautiful clock.

0:40:450:40:51

My husband and I, we went to London for a weekend 30 years ago,

0:40:510:40:56

and then we saw a sign "auction" in Sotheby's,

0:40:560:41:00

so we walked inside and watched the auction. So I said to my husband, "Ooh, I wouldn't mind that."

0:41:000:41:07

"Ooh, it'll be too expensive." So we keep on bidding and bidding, so we got it at £70,

0:41:070:41:14

-which was a lot of money then.

-Yes, of course.

-Yes.

0:41:140:41:18

This is one of the great pieces of porcelain. It's absolutely... From the Mackintosh of Mackintosh service

0:41:180:41:26

made by, of course, Nantgarw in Wales, but decorated in London.

0:41:260:41:31

-Mm-hm.

-Probably by Robins and Randall.

0:41:310:41:35

The decoration is superb - these birds with this gorgeous gilding round there

0:41:350:41:41

and the little flowers running under the handle, which are superb -

0:41:410:41:46

probably the work of Randall - and continued with more birds.

0:41:460:41:51

The gilding is in first class condition.

0:41:510:41:54

London gilding was the paramount quality of gilding at that time and the whole thing is gorgeous.

0:41:540:42:02

The birds are just scrumptiously lovely, aren't they?

0:42:020:42:06

-Which do you like best?

-I like this one myself.

-This one?

-Yeah.

0:42:060:42:11

I'm not sure what birds they are - do you know what bird that is?

0:42:110:42:16

Sometimes it's... There's a mallard this side.

0:42:160:42:20

We've got this one on Bala Lake!

0:42:200:42:21

LAUGHTER

0:42:210:42:23

-On Bala Lake!

-He's a local bird...

0:42:230:42:27

But absolutely gorgeous.

0:42:280:42:30

-Lord knows what it would fetch at auction.

-Yes.

0:42:300:42:34

But I'd suggest that perhaps for insurance purposes

0:42:340:42:38

-and probably near what you would get if you sold it...

-Yes.

0:42:380:42:43

-£10,000.

-I should think so.

0:42:430:42:46

-£10,000.

-Yes, yes.

-Happy?

-Yes.

0:42:460:42:49

LAUGHTER

0:42:490:42:50

-It's a beautiful piece.

-Thank you. Thank you for your kind words.

0:42:500:42:55

So what caught your eye today?

0:42:570:42:59

The Majolica cockerel or the tie pins?

0:42:590:43:03

You can be sure of seeing them again on our website.

0:43:030:43:07

That's all from Bala on the shores of Llyn Tegid.

0:43:070:43:11

Before we go home we've got time for a trip round the lake and a spot of white water rafting!

0:43:110:43:17

On the other hand, perhaps a cup of tea and a nice cake. Until the next time, from North Wales, goodbye.

0:43:170:43:25

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:520:43:54

Michael Aspel presents the show in which members of the public are invited to bring along their antiques for examination. He and the experts travel to Lake Bala, in north Wales, where they see a pair of books inscribed to a local by Queen Victoria, an unusual collection of tie pins and a portrait by Charles Spencelayh. David Battie explains why a single item can have four different valuations, all of them still correct.