Michael Aspel's team of experts assess antiques. They visit Chichester Cathedral and are excited to see an original manuscript by 19th-century adventure writer RM Ballantyne.
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Here shall the actor strip his very soul
To clothe it in another's charactery
And eloquence, like a flight of doves
Shall circle in the clear, expectant air
And inspiration, reaching for the stars
Glean a rich harvest here.
That was part of a poem to celebrate the opening of this,
the Chichester Festival Theatre -
the first major UK venue in the 20th century
to have a thrust stage with the audience on three sides,
the way they did it in ancient Greece.
Laurence Olivier was Chichester's first artistic director in 1962,
and his season of plays performed by the same ensemble
is a tradition honoured again when the festival opens its doors from April to October.
Chichester Cathedral has drawn us back today.
The shrine to St Richard, who was bishop here in the 13th century,
still attracts thousands of modern pilgrims.
The building has suffered its share of catastrophe -
it was consecrated for the third time in 1199,
having been twice destroyed by fire.
In 1861, the 15th-century spire collapsed,
and restoring it took 100 years and a huge amount of money.
But the separate bell tower from around 1400 has fared rather better
and is now unique in England.
So here we are in the welcoming depths of Chichester's cathedral.
Let's join our choir of experts.
-Let's take it out. You know it's a covered bed?
Oh, yes, I slept on it. For how long?
-From about five to about 35. 30 years on it.
-You're familiar with it.
-Straight on it?
-We had a mattress.
-So you couldn't fold it up?
I suspect that the original user of this was probably a servant.
-And slept on a very, very thin mattress...
-..so that it could be folded up and put away.
Yes, put away during the day.
It's amazing to see one of these with their original bed. Mostly, they've been dismantled.
-Let's put it away. It's very beautifully but simply made, isn't it?
It's held together with these leather strap hinges.
These wedge-shaped bits of framework block it all into position and make it very secure.
Right, when do you think it was made originally?
I think it could be up to 200 years old.
It IS about 200 years old, between 1810 and 1820, something like that.
It's certainly English and was made somewhere in the countryside. It's not a London-made piece.
-It came from Norfolk.
-That's where you used it?
-No, my mother was a Norfolk person.
And she brought it from Norfolk to Sussex when they were married.
Unfortunately, its main value lies in ripping the thing apart
and turning it into a piece of furniture with a very definite modern use, ie a television cabinet.
People would die to hide away their TVs, videos, hi-fis,
computers, all that sort of modern electrical gubbins
-into this piece, but then you've lost its original insides.
It would be a very sad thing to do, but in pounds, shillings and pence terms, that's where its value is.
£500, £600 - not a fortune, given how interesting it is.
It's the amount of use and money that needs to be spent on it that limits its value.
Anyway, jolly nice to see it, and I'm pleased to have met somebody who's slept on one of these things.
You get no draught round the head!
-The pillow doesn't fall off the back either.
You've got so many of these, but you don't know what they are!
I've got an idea they are Japanese.
Um, they could be Mandarin buttons.
Mandarin buttons - I don't think we get Mandarins in Japan.
-Well, I don't really know.
-Where did they come from?
-I bought them when I was in my 20s.
-Yes, at various places.
And may I ask how long ago that was?
Well, I'm 94 now.
-You bought these in your 20s.
-Good time to buy. What did you pay?
-Oh...nothing over £2.
-OK, well, I'm going to tell you what they are.
-They are Japanese.
-They're kagamibuta - a form of netsuke.
-They're a little toggle. The cord went through there,
and that went... was tucked up under your belt,
and you hung a pouch
or a little box called an inro from it.
But these served another function.
You tap out the contents of your pipe into it, so it was an ashtray.
Oh, that's interesting!
Now, the Japanese, when they smoke a pipe, they have a tiny little bowl, only about that big.
The Japanese take one pinch of tobacco, light it,
smoke it in one puff and then tap it out into one of these.
My favourite is this one,
which is all ivory, beautifully carved
with a shishi with its pup, playing with a brocade ball,
which has been stained and inlaid.
On the base we've got another very well carved shishi and a signature.
-What kind of age?
-I was just about to say,
they're all the same sort of date. They're mid-19th century.
This one's going to be worth more than the £2 you paid for it.
-They all are.
-We're looking at an average price of around £200 or £300.
This one, £1,000 to £1,500.
-You have a very good eye.
-Thank you for bringing them in.
-Thank you. I've enjoyed it.
-How long have you had this for?
-More than 50 years,
because it was a wedding present.
-So you've been married for over 50 years. It's a very fashionable, popular object these days.
Made of tortoiseshell, veneered in a very nice casket form.
This has got a sort of caddy top and it's still got, in the front here,
a key escutcheon, because at this time of about 1820, tea was still an expensive commodity,
and the servants were not allowed access, so the lady of the house had the key.
If we open it up, we've got twin canisters -
you could have a selection of tea.
You take the tea out of here, mix it in a bowl,
and then put it into your teapot.
Velvet lined at the top.
-These are made of ivory.
Little turned ivory buttons.
Pristine. They're not broken.
They're fragile, so it's nice to see them here.
And you're still using it.
-Indeed I am.
-Isn't that lovely?
You have got tea bags in there that fit absolutely perfectly.
It's so nice that people use something like this,
because usually, they're just a decoration.
Be careful not to get steam on this,
-because it will take the nice patina off the tortoiseshell.
-Oh, yes, yes.
Because it's quite a valuable thing.
Well, I suppose so!
Well, if I tell you it's worth £1,500...
Well, yes. That IS a lot of money!
It's a lovely dish - massive thing!
Um...and transfer printed - this is a blue print, not a hand painting,
but splendid and intended to be a hanging plaque.
You've got these little holes for hanging it.
This is safe and strong, cos it's massive. How long have you had it?
I bought it in an antique shop in Torquay for £40
about 20 years ago.
The mark is interesting.
Watteau, the name of the pattern and Doulton, the factory who made it.
But down here,
there's the mark of the original factory
-that Doulton bought up in the 1880s.
Pinder Bourne. Doulton bought up Pinder Bourne.
This is an original plaque acquired by Doulton's,
-so they put the print on it.
Made in 1881 and it's splendid, isn't it?
-You like it, do you?
-I LOVE it, yes.
So the 40 quid has risen up to £200 or £300, which is nice. Nice increase,
-but the pleasure of the pot is more than value.
-I think so, yes.
This is charming. Look at that page.
Her bleeding heart, I assume, and things like that.
I've seen 19th and 20th-century picture puzzle books,
but I've never seen a 17th-century one, and this one - not printed,
but actually an original manuscript.
-Where did you get it?
-My husband inherited it from his grandfather,
and we find it quite curious, the fact that it seems to have shorthand on one side...
Shorthand on one side, yes.
..the little texts with the puzzles and the beautiful little drawings.
But it's a wonderful way to teach children.
"Mourn much poor heart
"Stand that friends must part."
And so it goes on.
"The young must die, old must die,
"Something fade and so must you and I."
-I presume the answer is on this side.
-But in shorthand.
I don't know shorthand, I'm just guessing.
-Looking at the binding, there's not much left of the spine to it, but that can be repaired.
I think it ought to be tidied up.
Here is a date - wonderful date on the end - 1694.
-Um, possibly the shorthand was added later as a further exercise.
But that's the beauty of these books, and this one is so pretty.
I wouldn't be surprised if you could see this at £2,000. Oh, God!
-Possibly more, but I think that would be conservative.
Somebody would look and say, "It's a silly old child's book, it's dirty."
-But it's got it!
-It's colourful, it's beautiful, it's clever.
It's cleverer than me!
This is my grandmother and she gave the necklace to my elder sister.
-So that would date from when?
That would tie in with the piece of jewellery,
which is a very interesting design.
It's by the firm Murrle Bennett,
who made silver jewellery in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau style.
This geometric design
is more like the German and Austrian Art Nouveau designs,
which tend to be rather geometric.
-It's silver. The stones are amethysts.
And a very nice little chain,
with this very typical fastening -
this bar through a ring, which looks dodgy,
but is completely secure.
My sister's always worried the clasp could come undone.
You could put a safety chain on it.
I would, certainly for insurance, place a value on this
-of somewhere in the £1,000 to £1,200 range.
-Really? Oh, my goodness!
-Amazing, isn't it?
It's been in England, North America, South America
over the time we've had it in the family.
-It's obviously been looked after.
Because it is a little treasure.
You've brought some evidence to show when it was...
-What year is this photograph?
-1902 - it shows my grandfather's house.
You could keep everybody busy if we could retrieve all the objects here,
but here it is on the top right-hand corner of the mantelpiece
and here it is 100 years later. Documentary evidence, wonderful.
Let's have a look at it.
This was made in Austria by a firm called Loetz. Loetz specialised in iridescent glass
and for a long time, they've been regarded as poor man's Tiffany
which is very, very unfair, because they were making this type of glass before Tiffany,
-so it's worth knowing.
Now, the glass itself, if we look at it,
on the inside, it's a cobalt colour.
The surface is covered with this amazing iridescence,
which is a bit like a butterfly's wing.
In fact, Loetz called this papillon glass.
-And this silver...
is achieved using electrolysis.
It's immersed in an electrolytic bath,
having covered the areas where they didn't want the glass to anneal.
This would have been either wax or a rubber resist
to prevent the actual silver building up in those specific areas.
I'm not sure how long it would be in that bath, but several days,
for that level of silver to build up,
but obviously, it's got to build up enough
for the decorator then to trim away and then carve in the decoration.
It's one of my favourite bits of Art Nouveau glass - that is the style,
with the floral decoration and the...
-It's just such a sensual pot. It's shaped like Mae West!
It is a wonderful pot, and there's very much of an organic feel to it,
so it's a combination of emulating nature
and top technology to bring all these elements together.
Just another thing to look at -
99 times out of 100,
you should have this feature, which is a ground pontil mark.
This is the area where the pontil rod, used in the glass making, has been connected,
snapped off and then it's polished away.
It's always a sign of quality on any type of glassware.
So we've got to come to terms with...with value.
I know it's a family treasure, and I know it's probably priceless,
-but if it was mine, I'd be insuring this for at least £1,500.
It's been a treasure in the home ever since I can remember.
This is a wonderful collection of miniature tools.
My father actually made it.
He was a coppersmith and a blacksmith in the dockyard
-and he made all the pieces gradually over the years.
He had a fantastic eye for detail and quality. If we have a look at one or two of them -
this is a spirit level. Wonderful detail on the brass, there.
A little drill. The nice thing is,
they are all in working order.
-So do you have a particular favourite or not?
-I think the plane's quite nice.
-Oh, yes, a miniature plane here.
-It's got a blade in, underneath.
How long would it have taken him to make a single one, do you think?
It probably took him about a month, I suppose.
-A labour of love, and he just did it as a hobby.
Yes, a pair of shears I see here. Again, they work terrifically well.
-A bow saw. They're almost all made of brass.
-Brass and copper.
-That was his favourite metal?
-It was a relaxation, although almost a busman's holiday for him.
A terrific craftsman. He made most of them when? In the '50s and '60s?
Yeah, yeah, up until probably about the mid '70s, I suppose.
Individually, they're not of great value.
But I would think, as a collection, they must be worth £1,500 to £2,000.
-Pleasure to see them.
-Thank you for looking at them.
It's a lovely collection of portrait miniatures.
How did you come by this lot?
They were collected by a family friend of my parents,
and he left them all to my mother.
-And, er, there was a larger collection.
When my mother died last year, in her will, it was split three ways,
so we laid them out on the floor,
and in turns, one, then my sister and then my brother took one, so unfortunately some are split.
Which ones do you like best?
I like that one and I particularly like that one as well, it's lovely.
I love the beautiful gowns and the colours of it.
-I just think they're pretty.
-They are very pretty.
I hoped you might pick this one - the frame is made up of piano keys.
-Is it? Oh, golly!
-And it's all made up to look like an old miniature.
This is not a rare miniature, but it's very pretty.
If I could choose one to take...
-This lady here is beautiful,
and whilst I have to say I don't know who she's by,
there's something lovely about it, with this extraordinarily long neck
and lovely hair and so on, and I suppose she's, er, about 1825,
so that's rather lovely.
And you've got here something which is quite out of the range.
-Were there other oil paintings?
-Not that I'm aware of.
But for a collector, that's not a portrait miniature
like these are. These are nearly all on card or ivory,
whereas this is on a thin copper panel
and, um, is Continental,
whereas almost all of these are English,
except for the two on porcelain.
So we have a Continental portrait,
probably northern European, about 1740.
It's the earliest of the pictures.
-I can't value what your brothers and sisters have.
But you've got a wonderful collection,
and even ones like this, which aren't particularly old or valuable,
are still worth £150 to £200 for that one.
A really good miniature like these ones, or the girl there,
are going to be worth £500 or £600 each.
And this one here,
-probably £700 to £900.
It's a substantial lot, so it must have been a great collection.
That's lovely, thank you very much.
It was made in one of the loveliest periods of English clock-making,
round about 1800, Regency period.
Where did you get it? Was it something you bought?
It was a clock my grandfather bought, I believe, in Croydon.
Because he ran a pub opposite the auction rooms
and he used to pop across there and buy things.
He made a good buy. We know who the maker is. If we open the front here,
it's signed indistinctly on the engrave there - Daniel de St Leu,
who was an English clock maker but, like so many,
was descended from Huguenot origins.
Two dials at the top there.
The one on the left is numbered up to 31 - that's a calendar dial.
The one on the right is numbered 0 to 60.
You wonder what that is - not a seconds hand.
-Do you know what it's for?
-No, I don't, I'm afraid.
We'll come back to that in a moment. Look at the back plate.
You've quite correctly put the pendulum in there for travelling.
-If we release that, away comes the pendulum and away it will tick.
Back to that dial, that mechanism on the dial which is numbered 0 to 60.
Have you seen what happens when you turn it round?
-Right, let's do it.
-You look at the back there.
-Look at the top of the pendulum. Can you see what's happening?
-It's rising and falling - this is called a rise-and-fall mechanism.
And it's for the fine adjustment of time keeping.
-I've got you, yes.
-In other words, you can make the pendulum shorter or longer by that.
But you have to physically turn the handle, turn the dial on the front?
Yes, you can do that when the clock is working. You don't have to stop the clock.
A pendulum works rather like a dog's tail - the shorter it is, the faster it wags,
so to make a clock go fast, you make the pendulum shorter.
And this whole mechanism there is called the rise-and-fall mechanism. So...
a very lovely clock. Have you ever carried it by that handle?
-Good, good! I'll say straight away, "Good!" ..Don't!
It might have been what it was intended for when it was made,
but now the case is 200 years old, the glue's getting a bit dry.
You pick it up one day, it'll make a lovely noise as it hits the floor!
So always carry it from underneath.
Now, as to its value. I think a clock like this, at auction,
would fetch certainly £3,500. Maybe £4,500.
-Would it really?
-It would. And if you see this in a good antique shop...
somewhat more. It's a £5,000 to £6,000 clock.
-Is it really?
-A lovely clock indeed. Beautiful in every way.
In 1955, living in London in a flat,
we wanted as much storage space as we could get, and we saw this large piece of furniture
quite liked it, knew nothing about it, and bought it in the Kings Road, Chelsea.
It immediately suggests what I would call Biedermeier,
which is the sort of bourgeois furniture that becomes incredibly fashionable
in the first half of the 19th century.
And in Biedermeier furniture,
you tend to have this reliance on simple shapes, on some classical decoration.
And you have these very attractive sort of half-length pilasters here
with little bits of carved decoration,
which is more than you find on some Biedermeier pieces.
Pure Biedermeier is 1815 to 1830,
but it spreads more than that - 1815 to 1848, that sort of period.
But the fact that it's got these carved pilasters
is slightly different to a lot of the most obvious Biedermeier,
which has no carving at all.
And also, these sort of lozenge-shaped drawers, which are very bold, very geometrical.
And it has its surprise when it pulls forward
and has this, I think, really lovely secretaire drawer inside.
It pulls down like that.
And what's interesting about it is on the outside
you have a native wood, walnut, and this is a paler wood -
it could be birch - and ebonised decoration,
which is also quite bold and dramatic on the inside.
But on the outside, you also have this use of symmetrical veneers.
Why no handles?
I think the handles were thought to get in the way of the whole simplicity of the front,
so it works on a key, which isn't the most practical thing, I suppose.
They're heavy to pull out once they're full. Very heavy.
Such things now aren't tremendously fashionable in this country.
-They're much more fashionable on the Continent. What did you pay for it?
-Which was not nothing, then!
I think, nowadays...
..maybe £1,500 to £2,000 - something like that,
-which doesn't seem a lot for an extremely attractive piece.
-Well, it's a good profit!
We're talking plunder here, aren't we? Tell us about this dish.
1889, an iron steamship had a collision in the Channel just off the coast of Sussex
with a sailing ship - it was a wooden one. The iron steamship sank
and loss of life was nearly 50. The captain, also.
It was carrying at the time a lot of china - 600 tons -
some glass and some cotton.
-And where was it heading for?
-It was on its way to Madras and the china was picked up in Antwerp.
-It was collected there.
-Is this expensive?
It wasn't hugely valuable at the time. It was day-to-day types of stuff.
And how much has been recovered?
Over the years - since 1989 - quite a considerable amount of this has been recovered.
-And who is doing the recovering?
-A lot of it is done by sports divers.
You'd think the story would make it very valuable, wouldn't you?
Yes, but it's not hugely valuable.
I think Henry said earlier on that it's going to be worth maybe £40 per piece,
but it's got local interest to us - that's what we like about it.
They were done by my grandmother in the 1910s and 1920s.
They are extraordinary! Here's a bathing costume here...
Put that on there... And lovely dresses here. There must be about 50 or 60 dresses.
Yes, I remember as a child that I was allowed to play with them on high days and holidays.
-And, um...that I've always treasured them. They were given to me when I was a teenager.
She must have worked very hard because they are quite sophisticated
and they're all hand-drawn and they're all coloured in with watercolour.
She went to an art school in London and then became a dress designer,
-apparently for somebody called Raymonde - Raymonde somebody.
-Raymonde sounds terribly French!
Well, I don't know if it's male or female, but that's all I know.
And really I wanted to find out how I can find out more about fashion in the 1920s
and whether she really did design anything that was worthwhile.
You'd have to go to a fashion museum, or a fashion design museum.
-You could go to the clothing museum in Bath...
..and see what literature they've got and whether, in fact, they can trace him - or her - back.
-But I think all of these are obviously, obviously good designs.
This one's interesting, because it's almost contemporary, isn't it?
You know, sort of very much off-the-shoulders,
but also with a contemporary tattoo.
And this one here...
It's hardly decent!
-No, well, she was a bit of a girl, I think, in her day.
-The Roaring '20s!
-Absolutely Roaring '20s!
You've got about another 50...
-I think so, yes.
-..sets of drawings.
So a fabulous collection of costume design of the 1920s.
These 50 have to be worth somewhere in the region...
Very hard to value, but I would have thought between £500 and £1,000.
They were my grandmother's. When my grandmother died,
-my mother had them. When my mother died,
Well, they're really lovely
and just about the prettiest sort of work that was done around the start of the century.
looking at them more carefully, I don't actually think that this...
-ever had anything to do with that.
This doesn't fit and the enamelling's quite different,
-so I don't think it ever went together at all.
-Well, I never!
These were made abroad. And this one's got an import mark.
They were made probably either in France or Switzerland,
but they've got all this beautiful enamelling and it's all engine-turned underneath.
And then you have this translucent enamelling on top,
so that you get this lovely play of light through the enamel.
It's just a delightful little miniature carriage clock.
This is just for your rings...
and of course this for scent. Really charming and delightful.
Very difficult to do this type of enamelling so beautifully.
How old do you think they are?
Well, this was imported into England in 1913,
so it has a London import mark for that year,
and the other pieces are of a similar period.
Well, if you had to replace just this little clock alone,
it would cost somewhere round...
the £1,500 to £2,000 mark.
-What, for that little clock?!
Absolutely! And the scent bottle and the stand
-I would say is probably another £1,500 to £2,000.
I know he's English because I looked him up. An English artist.
-What else did you discover about him?
-That he exhibited a lot.
He was actually a very successful Victorian watercolourist
and largely socially, because he taught the Queen how to paint.
He was one of Queen Victoria's painting masters
-and that, of course, takes you a very long way in Victorian society, as you might imagine.
I wouldn't say that he's one of England's greatest watercolourists.
I'm not making great claims for him, but it's just that he firmed up
on a very lively, colourful style
that you can see very easily in this watercolour.
-Isn't it a very lively little picture?
-Yes, I love it!
-Was it painted in Holland or here?
-It looks more Dutch to me.
But I can't be sure.
I'd say it's probably worth...
£800 to £1,200,
which is quite a nice figure for a little thing like that.
A wonderful set from 1790.
These are carefully-designed botanical drawings.
Sometimes the flowers are rather strange specimens...
but these are nice. They're all British flowers...
each one, looking through the different designs,
were taken from the Botanical Magazine.
It came out as a monthly periodical and each month you would acquire a few more pages...
-..with different illustrations of wonderful flowers drawn by Curtis.
And the pottery factories would acquire the books and copy the designs onto them. Lovely specimen!
It's always labelled clearly on the back of it.
Yellow-flowered dog's-tooth violet. They were an education in botany.
-You'd learn your flowers from looking at the service.
Many potteries, especially in Staffordshire, produced these sets.
-They don't have a maker's name...
-..but they are Staffordshire rather than Leeds,
because they're whiter pottery. Leeds was creamier.
-It's had a bit of a hard life, hasn't it?
-Well, they were in London during the war
-and we had a bomb 50 yards from the house and they got a bit chipped then.
-So a bit chipped further.
Nowadays, usually these sets are split up, which is a sad thing.
Individual plates, like these with nice flowers...
A single plate like that would normally cost today
-round about £500.
A dish like this is certainly going to be £400 or £500
and you've got here 11 plates, even with some damaged.
-I suppose we could be looking at a set here worth...
perhaps about £4,000.
Ooh, are we?!
I shall have to be more careful with it! Thank you very much.
-Is this a family piece?
-Yes, it is.
It's my late husband's maternal grandparents'.
-I believe it was a wedding gift.
Well, I've seen a number of these over the years.
They normally date from, er... the early part of the 20th century,
between sort of 1900 and 1920,
and, um...I expect
-you may have seen pictures of baskets strapped onto the back of motor cars...
..for picnicking in the grand style!
And what I love about these sets is that they're not so much...
the silver or the plate,
it's the engineering - that they managed to get so much into such a wonderful compact basket.
So let's just take a piece out.
It's a nice weight.
Do you know, this is, I think, probably the first one
I've ever seen with silver fittings inside.
Here we've got a set of hallmarks - made in Birmingham
and the date letter for 1900, so was that when they were married?
I don't exactly know, but all I know is their first child was born in 1904, so it would be about then.
So that sounds about right. But that is exceptionally unusual
to have them made in silver.
Just look at the quality of this kettle here.
"Remove this lid, also cap from the spout before lighting lamp. Drew & Sons."
Well, Drew's were a firm operating in Piccadilly
at the late 19th century, early 20th century, and specialised in making these sort of things.
And, um...what I particularly like is attention to detail.
I mean, these spoons...
-just the way they slot into these little holders!
-Clever, isn't it?
But look at that - a lovely little fleur-de-lys at the top, nice big hallmarks down the stem...
You know, they really thought about doing everything in great style.
-The spoon has got a small chip in it.
-A little bit on the bowl,
-but we can forgive it that because at least it's still here!
-It's never used.
-It sits in a cabinet.
-Well, that's where it belongs nowadays.
But originally made for mustard. The little mark underneath, the little crescent mark,
-a tell-tale sign...
-..which means Worcester.
-And the fence pattern - a popular pattern.
Well-made, beautiful condition, nicely-made little object.
So a mustard pot and cover like that is worth about, um...
£500. The spoon alone...
-with a chip, about £800.
We've got more... more treasures inside.
We've got cups...
and this is probably for sugar.
Ah! Here we are.
-"Drew & Sons en route..." I like that!
-Excellent, isn't it?
"Piccadilly Circus, London West."
This is...a rarity. A great rarity in superb condition.
-That's what collectors like. That's what buyers like.
I think this is such a nice set, I think it should be insured
-for at least £10,000.
-My goodness! How lovely!
I don't know how many pieces of commemorative ware I've seen today,
Some of them go back to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887.
And what are they worth?
£20 to £30.
So for the person who bought them for, I don't know, two shillings in 1887,
-no way have they proved a good investment.
And I don't believe that any of these will. I mean, a lady came in earlier...
..with a plate for the Golden Jubilee.
She'd just bought it - I don't know whether it was this morning! -
and she said, "Should I keep this as an investment?"
-I said, "Don't think of it on those terms."
-"That is not the point.
"The point is - do you like it?"
"Oh, yes. I like it." Well, that's what it's all about.
You've had, obviously, pleasure putting together these commemorative pieces,
which range from the Jubilee pieces
through the coronation of George V.
Edward VII. We've got three of Edward VIII. Why three?
They just happened to come along at the time and my son was just getting interested in this
and I asked him if he was interested. He said, "Oh, yes. I'd like to buy those."
Right. ..Well, this is, I think, the nicest one, really.
-With hand-colour on.
It goes all the way round. The date - May 12th, 1937.
And on the bottom in gold, um...
"A perpetual souvenir..." Well, only if you didn't drop it!
"..in Paragon china". Paragon was a good factory, in fact.
"Crowned Westminster Abbey, May 12th, 1937." Well, of course...
-It didn't happen.
And people imagine that because he abdicated,
these pieces are worth a lot of money, but he was a hugely popular Prince of Wales
and enormous numbers were made for the Coronation in advance,
and, er...that was that.
-George VI came along.
-The bulk of what's here...
-is £5 to £30.
But this one is going to be worth
-£200 to £300.
-I thought that was just pretty!
-And we just like them.
-They're good quality. That's what sets THESE aside from those.
-And if one is buying commemoratives, always go for the best quality that you can find.
This is quite remarkable - I can hardly believe it's walked in here!
But you've brought me in the original manuscript
of RM Ballantyne's "The Lighthouse". Explain yourself!
Well, RM Ballantyne was a friend of my grandfather's. My grandfather got married in 1869
and the date of this is 1865,
so they were bachelors together
and he was - my grandfather was - the keeper of the manuscripts in the British Museum
and the keeper of the muniments in Westminster Abbey.
-Good heavens! My old alma mater!
-I sang in the choir there.
But this is quite remarkable.
Ballantyne was quite remarkable.
He was born at the beginning of the 19th century in 1825.
He died towards the end in 1894.
And the first thing he did - one of his first jobs -
was to work for the Hudson Bay Fur Company.
-And I suppose he got a lot of his ideas
for the many, many boys' books
from Canada. But The Lighthouse is actually set in Scotland, isn't it?
-It's set off the coast of Forfarshire, or somewhere like that.
But this is very exciting!
-I'm going to say £8,000 to £10,000.
-You don't sound surprised.
-Well, I AM! I think that's wonderful.
And now I think I'll have a stroll around the cloisters, so from Chichester Cathedral, goodbye.
Michael Aspel's team of experts assess antiques brought for scrutiny by the public. They're excited to see an original manuscript by 19th-century adventure writer RM Ballantyne, as well as continental furniture and glass, a rare mustard spoon and a silver picnic set. Plus a trip to Chichester Cathedral.