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Today we're in Cambridge where some of the world's finest young minds come to be sharpened to a point.
We've brought our own scholars,
they could be in for a bumper time as Cambridge is a city of treasures.
The university owns no fewer than eight museums and most of them are used for teaching.
Life here is one great learning curve.
Anthropology has a fine display of human artefacts from all over the world,
including a huge ceremonial gong from Polynesia.
Among the skeletons and stuffed animals in the zoology museum
there are specimens that Darwin brought back from his voyage on The Beagle.
You'd never guess that this was a museum.
There are no glass display cabinets, no solemn labels, and...
..you can sit in the chairs!
This is like a real home, which in fact, until quite recently, it was.
Not many places have a masterpiece in the bathroom,
but the man who lived here was the first modern art curator of the Tate Gallery
which is why Kettles Yard is festooned with examples of 20th century paintings and sculptures.
If you prefer old masters, or if you're keen on ancient manuscripts,
then you'll find them in Cambridge's premier museum...the Fitzwilliam.
This was built before the National Gallery and the V&A
so it has some important collections you might not expect to find outside London.
Egyptian mummies, contemporary glass, suits of armour,
the Fitz is famous for its variety.
You can ogle fine porcelain
or gasp at the stunning exhibition of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.
Cambridge is blessed with these treasures largely because of the calibre and generosity
of the men and women who passed through its great colleges.
Some of those Impressionist paintings
were donated by the eminent economist John Maynard Keynes,
who was a fellow and a bursar here at King's College.
Today's Provost and the jolly good fellows of King's College have welcomed us onto their turf
which is even more of an honour than it sounds.
It requires permission from a Fellow for anyone to walk on the lawns.
and we seem to have attracted a pretty good crowd.
Now there the barometer is set fair, perfect day, perfect barometer, it's obviously very accurate.
Yes, it is, yes.
But a bigger question is...
..why do you two ladies have a propeller?
It belonged to our father.
Yes. He flew in the First World War. So he was in the Royal Flying Corps? Yes, he flew in Camels.
When did he join up?
He joined the army at the beginning of the war.
Yes. And he went out on a troop ship to Salonica.
Oh, right. Which took six weeks. Yes.
When he got there all the fighting was over, so he was not going to return
with his unit for another six weeks and the only way to stay there was to join the Royal Flying Corps.
So otherwise he'd have gone back to France?
Yes, and so he learned to fly and he had the talent to fly.
I bet he had a wonderful time. He loved it.
Because by that time, that sector of the war was pretty calm wasn't it?
He got shot down. He got shot down?
He was picked up by a battleship that was then torpedoed. Oh well, he had a few adventures.
He did. I mean you were exposed weren't you?
Oh, yes. In a cockpit. And you had no parachute...
And you had no parachute so you just shot at each other.
He spent his time rescuing sailors who couldn't swim
and he thought, after that, that everybody must learn to swim. Very sensible.
But I have to say, the fact that you are here
indicates he had a better time than he might have had on the Western Front.
Oh, definitely. Presumably.
I can safely say he wouldn't be here or you wouldn't be here.
No, no, no. Because the life expectancy of a pilot there was a couple of weeks.
Coming back to this, this was what, a souvenir or...?
No, no, he's reputed to have won it in a mess raffle.
With the barometer or...?
I think he probably had that put in.
In those days, much more than now, a barometer was in every house.
You were keen on recording the events of the day and the events of weather and so on.
We had no weather forecast. You did it yourself. Yes.
Anyway, you've got a wonderful propeller, a lovely souvenir of your father
and quite a valuable item.
Forget about the personal element, to a collector you're looking at...
£600, £800, something like that.
There won't be a question of selling it.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
What a charming little box, you know it's a carriage clock?
Yes, it's sat on my mother in law's mantelpiece, usually out of the box
and I admired it immensely and was fortunate enough to win it last week.
Win in the sense of being told I could put it on my mantelpiece rather than...
Oh, I see, so a very generous gift really. Yes, a very generous gift.
It's actually in its original fitted travelling case,
though you sometimes don't have it there. Look at the impression in the velvet,
that thick velvet there against the handle. It's a charming little clock.
Now, a beautiful silvered dial engraved with flowers and certainly leaves there
and look at these columns, we've got fluted columns, they're silvered metal
and then we've got gilded capitals and we've got other silver sections, so it's alternate colours of metal.
Now I can see here a very nice feature,
just above my little finger is a very small stamp which is a baby beehive,
with AM on either side and that is the stamp of Margain who was a very fine maker of French carriage clocks.
Really? So it's lovely to see it in its original box.
Have you any questions about it?
Yes, there are two things.
There seems to be a slot in the back here
and there also seems to be a slot in the front which this glass doesn't fit.
Right. And I wondered why you would have a double glass on it.
OK, bearing in mind that they were used as travelling time pieces,
so if you can imagine a clock in there with the lid shut, that is actually quite subject to damage.
Yes. It's fine if it's on your mantelpiece or on a bedside table, so what they did,
there's even a little thumb piece fitted, you can withdraw that from the slot, and there it is,
that's the original colour, OK? Yes.
That's the original colour of the box and that slipped in there.
I couldn't pull it out, that's intriguing.
There we go. And that then makes it completely rigid and non-breakable.
It's a sweet thing, in its state like that,
even in the raw that's going to fetch at auction £1,200.
Golly! And you wouldn't get away with much under £1,800 to replace it for insurance.
Gosh, thank you very much.
Do you know what it is?
I've always understood it's a cup and saucer from the 18th century when they had no handles on cups.
Right, I remember somebody saying to me "It's a handle-less cup"
or in other words a tea bowl.
Yes. And you're almost right, we're on that cusp between the 18th century and the 19th century.
You can date the falling away of the tea bowl
and the appearance of the handle on a tea cup almost exactly on 1800,
There are exceptions but by and large that's true.
Made in Staffordshire, it's a Pearl Ware body, this very blue pooling in the glaze,
now if you had presented me with that on its own, I would have said you'd got a sugar bowl,
but the fact that you've got that clearly indicates that it was meant as a tea bowl.
Why is the saucer so big? Did they tip the tea into the saucer?
Absolutely, it was perfectly acceptable to do that to cool your tea.
Yes, yes. But then what did you do? Did you pour it back again?
Or did you drink it...? No, you drank it from the saucer. Perfectly all right,
even the upper classes did it, so no problem there.
I think a tea bowl and saucer like that is going to be worth around £60 to £90
but the value's not the thing...it's... I wouldn't part with it. Nor would I.
Delightful little group of spoons here. What can you tell me about them?
Well, they came from my family, my father's family, and I'm the third generation to own them.
Right. And they're a bit of a mystery to us.
We can't read the marks clearly, we've always called them the "shovel spoons".
I don't quite know why but we had thought they might have been for snuff or for spices or even sugar,
but they're too big, aren't they, for snuff or spices?
Absolutely right to be suspicious of the idea of snuff for these and they are a bit big for that.
What they are, are salt shovels, so you calling them the "shovel spoons" was right. Ah.
And these are the forerunners of the salt spoons.
Oh, were they?
The marks are very difficult to read,
that's because it's a tiny space to mark in.
When those marks were hammered in, it spread the stem out.
Yes. And when they got back to the goldsmith,
he had to hammer that back into shape and it closed the marks up.
Oh, right, oh.
And have you noticed the initials are on the back?
That is the way up that they go. Yes, yes.
Date-wise we're looking at the middle years of the 18th century. Mm.
It was actually by about 1760 that they were starting to develop what we think of as the salt spoon today.
It's lovely to find two pairs, often you find them individually but so few of the pairs have survived.
Yes. Had you thought of value? Not at all, I've no idea.
I would say you'd have to pay at least £150 a pair for those.
Mm, yes, well that's very nice.
I don't usually recommend putting fine furniture out in the sunshine
but for a few moments it won't hurt and what it does do is to bring out the depth of colour in a good piece.
I particularly like this,
well, it looks like an IB. In fact it's most likely to be JB,
that's the normal typeface for a J and 1694. Can you actually trace it back that far? Yes, I can do that.
It could be a John, a Joseph, a Jeremiah, a Jacob. I can't do any more than that.
That's enough. I should think so.
And certainly is of the period and most of those names, certainly Jacob and Jeremiah.
The problem with this type of settle upon which we are settled
is that in the 19th century so many of them were put together out of earlier pieces
and dates were carved in to add authenticity.
Yes. But there are certain features in a good piece of oak and one of them is the colour,
and if there were any doubt about this, the sunshine would have exposed it.
There is no doubt that this is absolutely of the period
and there are just one or two pieces I would like to point out to you.
Just look at the depth of colour inside of that little flower head,
When first made this was treated with oil and a wax
and that has darkened over the years and created, as it's been rubbed, these wonderful highlights. Yes.
Giving it greater three-dimension.
Below the JB we come to these panels
which are common panels to all joined furniture of the 16...
..well, the late 1600s really.
They're done with a half round chisel, do you see these little "s" scrolls?
That is one chip with a half round chisel, followed with turning the chisel the other way
and coming at it from underneath and then a little tiny punch in the centre
and you've got that little scroll, I mean it's so clever and full of life, full of life.
The settle is a traditional box form, erm, and it has a lift up seat
and when we lifted it up just now to have a look we found these inside.
But tell me, do these fit into the story somehow?
It rather depends what they are.
I've always hoped that they would be pharmacy jars because in a very early part of this family,
it's the same family. Right.
There were apothecaries working in London
and there were four generations and I'm really hoping that this is what they are but I've no idea.
Um... You're going to say "no" aren't you?
Well, no I'm not, not definitely.
Well, this one says "number one"
and it says "BP" on the bottom which is one of the Delft factories, this one is Blume Pot. Is it Delft?
Yes, Blume Pot. Wow!
And its date is round about 1745-1755, difficult to be precise.
This one doesn't have a mark but, you know, it's exactly the same body, same glaze and this one says "tonka".
Do you know what tonka is? No.
Tonka is a bean, and it was used as a flavouring, an alternative flavouring
and it's still used today, it's an alternative to vanilla or almond.
Is it? But the point is that it was used in the 18th century as a flavouring for tobacco.
Was it? Now then. This would be number one snuff.
So these basically are to do with tobacco. Yes.
But an apothecary would have sold them. Really? Oh, yes.
Oh, so we are getting there. Yes, you are getting there.
There is little doubt that these would have been in an apothecary's shop.
Yes, yes, I love it.
So, all right.
They are a traditional form, these are the original lids.
Are they? Oh, yes. I did wonder.
Yeah, that wonderful untouched colour. If you didn't want to polish it,
it would look like that all over, you don't have to clean them.
Although a little bit nibbled around the edges, basically very good form, nice decoration,
these cartouches are lovely and now retail value round about £1,500 each.
Each? Back to the settle, as an exceptionally good one, an exceptionally good one,
I suppose this has to be in the region of £4,500 to £5,000.
Splendid! But what a lovely piece
and with the story beyond value, beyond value, it's been a joy. Yes, yes, yes.
This is tremendous, I've seen a few of these,
usually they're knackered, this one's in good condition.
I'm not really sure on that one. The lady who actually owns it,
she's just had it on her wall for the last 11 years that I know of
and as someone said, it's like moved from house to house with them so...
OK, they're actually made of very, very, very fine threads
used almost as an architectural relief on a piece of silk.
They were called hair paintings
because people believed that the black bits were human hair.
Right. And I don't think this is so. We're looking at threads but they're very fine
and what we have is probably the most saleable image of all country houses,
a wonderful view of Chatsworth in its Derbyshire dale, sitting there
with the superb great hill of the moors rising up behind,
what was known as a "howling wilderness", and it has some interesting features,
the way that the stitches are actually used to give the impression of bulk for the trees is fascinating,
and she's used silver here, tiny stitches, you can hardly see them,
but even this is done so finely with a minute needle, it's a marvellous, marvellous thing
and this is exactly today what decorators want to buy to put in posh flats and houses in London.
This picture wouldn't be in the Fulham Road more than a half-hour before somebody bought it,
the price somebody would pay for this would reflect what the image is,
and the time and work that went into it.
I wouldn't be surprised if somebody didn't ask £3,000 to £4,000 for this, retail,
and you certainly should insure it for £3,000.
That's wonderful but I don't think they would sell it,
and if they do then I'll certainly try to buy it, I just love it.
Good. Every bit of it fascinates me.
Tell me about this. What do you know of the background to this?
Well, it was given to me recently
but I know that it came from the estate of Wilfred Blunt who was art master at Eton at one time,
so I assume that it had some merit to it.
The Wilfred Blunt connection of course with this college is through his brother Anthony.
Although he was studying at Trinity, they would meet,
the Cambridge Group would meet here with Dadie Rylands,
so King's was the sort of focal point of that particular group. I didn't know that.
So this has come indirectly back into the family, as it were, in this wonderful courtyard.
But the actual screen itself is not what it seems, this is not a fireplace. No.
All these bits and pieces, the small tiles and the larger ones,
were taken from another screen, a Chinese screen.
They're all hand painted and everything on this is auspicious or scholarly in some respect.
These mountainous retreats which symbolise rejection of the everyday world,
all these animals and figures like the deer here, that symbolises longevity. The crouching tiger,
you've heard of the film "Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger",
this is the crouching tiger and he symbolises the west in many ways
and then the elephant which is not indigenous to China, would have been brought in,
symbolises peace in the Far East. Oh.
So all this has been put together and rather well
by material made in China at a place called Jingdezhn, probably around about 1830-1840.
Coming to value, have you had this thing valued? Not at all.
Well, it's quite difficult to put it on because it's now no longer in its Chinese context.
I think you're looking at, I suppose, £600 to £800, maybe even £1,000 in a retail outlet.
That sounds reasonable. Yes, considering all the work that's gone into it.
Our search for the nation's most dedicated collector could be subtitled "Tales of the Unexpected"
because we have come across some rather strange fixations,
and our Cambridge collector's motto could be "flash, bang, wallop"
because what she does, Nelda Utilini,
is to collect wedding photographs.
I've always been a bit obsessed about weddings.
When I was a child I would stand outside the local church on a Saturday afternoon,
wait for the bridal couple to come out and the bridesmaids, then go home and draw them and paint them.
They're very emotional. There's fear, hope, there's all kinds of things.
Yes. They're very much a social document. Yes. What's the earliest one you've got?
Well, one of the earliest ones is this one,
that's an early Victorian one, they're hiding the background with a tarpaulin as you can see,
but they look as if they're middle class with their top hats.
They're well dressed and you've got the whole range from the very elegant to the very simple.
Yes. He looks as if he hasn't got a few bob.
What about that? Probably a borrowed suit.
A borrowed suit? Yes, they would have borrowed each other's suits for the wedding photograph.
As you can see the jacket's tight and the trousers are very short.
How many do you have in your collection? Around 4,000.
Wow. And where do you get them from?
Well, I used to go to the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury, they have a fair once a month.
It's sad the pictures are no longer with the families. Yes, yes, it is really, but families die out
and people move and when people moved then they threw a lot of stuff out.
It's amazing to think they'd do that. When you look at these pictures,
do you invent a story for the situation as you see it, something's going on here isn't there?
Yes, well yes, I see it as a quite upper class wedding in a marquee and I see her as an old retainer,
possibly an old nanny and she's saying "I will go now, my Lord"
and she's saying "Oh, how sweet!" because that's what they say, isn't it?
Or he's saying "That child was never mine!", something like that, and this is another jolly scene.
Yes, that's a working class wedding reception, you can see the sauce bottles on the table,
but look how jolly they are!
Yes, yes, got your sauce, you're happy.
They say every picture tells a story, now this one...
you would think it was just a rehearsal shot
because the body language means that it's not going to be a great life together.
She doesn't want to get married.
And the way he's standing, you know, I don't think I'd like to marry him either.
You've got a theory about this one?
Yes, well as you can see, somebody's been rubbed out and they've etched a chair in.
So this was once a guest?
Well, it looks like it, doesn't it?
That chair's been etched in and they're all looking rather strangely in that direction.
If you look, even the bride, can you see her?
Yes. You know, he's either got drunk or something like that.
Gosh, I wouldn't like to go to a wedding with you, you'd pick a quarrel with anybody.
So this is your painting, one of your many wedding paintings. Yes.
So what do you take from these to transfer to your version, as it were?
Well, I just love doing the wedding reception and wedding cake and the dresses,
the bridesmaids, the page boy. You've really got every aspect of the wedding there.
Yes, yes, that's how I imagine the table would be set.
Someone else who would be interested in this but professionally,
is of course Paul Atterbury who's been watching us with his lips dripping with saliva.
What do you reckon to this collection?
I wish I'd done it, it's as simple as that, I think
the wedding is a fantastic thing that is the history of our culture.
Here you've got fashion, you've got social change, you've got the class system,
and you've got this wonderful thing of the eternal triumph of hope over experience,
which is what every wedding is.
Today there is no wedding without a photographer, it'll go on into the future
and this is just such a wonderful record of our time, as I say, I wish I'd done it.
"Metropolitan Police, Property Found, Dalston, October 1951.
"The platinum and diamond brooch found by you
"in 1943 or 1944 in Ridley Road, E8"
Who found this in Ridley Road, E8?
That was my aunt, Miss Smith she was known as, but Miss Elsie Rolls Smith.
That's right, so Miss Elsie Smith, 55 Ronalds Road, N5.
She worked in London and it was during the war time,
I know little about it other than that. So let's look at it,
she's found the brooch in either 1943 or 1944, she's held onto the brooch
and she's then submitted it to the police in 1951.
Do you think she had some kind of pang of conscience that she'd held on to it for so many years?
Yes, that brooch is worth money and she realised she had to hand it in.
Of course it begs the question, you know, 1943 or 1944, we're suffering bombing in London.
The person who lost that brooch, would it have been a casual loss
or would it have been someone trying to flee a burning or bombed out building,
taking all their possessions with them, and you can almost see them running along the road
and then it falls out of the bag. That's correct.
Because it's quite a significant brooch and the description here, "platinum and diamond brooch",
absolutely right, because this is not a small brooch.
It's a Deco diamond brooch, platinum frame, rectangular form set with three principal diamonds here
in a geometric frame of smaller diamonds and then you've got diamonds
in these sort of side panels here, so what happened then was this.
In 1951 she gives it to the police
and then it says here "deposited by you on this day in 1951."
"If we cannot trace the person who owns it, it will be restored to you in due course. "
Well, once it was restored to her, it became her property then.
We move onto the question of value.
Everyone is buying Art Deco at the moment, it's extremely popular.
I think in auction today if it was being sold,
it would probably achieve a price between £2,000 and £2,500, that's the auction price.
In a retail shop, where these things do very well,
I think you're looking at something more in the region of about £4,000 for it. A good find.
OK, yes, very nice indeed, thank you very much, I love it.
Stingray Annual and there, there they are at their controls. Gosh, this takes me back!
Was it Sunday evenings, spent watching the puppets doing their thing?
Was that part of your...no, you're too young for that, surely?
No, no, I mean...
we get the re-runs as well on BBC2 and on cable as well.
That's true, so you're a bit of a fan?
Casual fan, I wouldn't say I'm a die-hard fan, no.
But you've got some good Gerry Anderson things here. Captain Scarlet Annual,
where are you getting them from?
I've had these for about, I don't know, 20 years or so, from when I was a nipper.
These ones specifically I found at a jumble sale for pennies,
some, believe it or not, people threw away. Throw away where?
Are you going through...going through dustbins? You can tell us.
Well, I 'fess up, on occasions I do, but...
All right, nobody will know, so dustbins or skips or...
..or tips or...
It's just a case of keeping your eyes peeled.
Exactly. A lot of people don't seem to value these, I think because they think it's pop culture.
Exactly. It has no value.
It's sort of real throw-away... throw-away material in every sense of the word.
Indeed, yeah. Good for you, for being a conservationist.
And an archivist as well. Yes, exactly. Looking at this,
first of all you've got a very good eye because you're honing in on what I call TV, the TV generation.
Exactly, yes, yes, yes.
The TV generation are all about people who love Gerry Anderson, who love Star Trek. Absolutely, yes.
James Bond, people like you and me, you know?
Yes, yes. We are the people who are buying this.
And I think although at the moment we're talking about a small amount of money,
you have zeroed in on exactly that rich seam of collecting that people
will look for in the future. I just love the books.
Well, we've got a very fine pair of percussion pistols here, English.
Do you know what their purpose was when they were built? I believe they're duelling.
Possibly target practice.
Yes, it's interesting, the time that they were built...
and I can actually be very precise about it, to within four years which is pretty good for antiques.
Oh, good. And they were made between 1837 and 1841. Right.
And I know that because the maker was William Parker
and it says "Maker to His Late Majesty, Holborn, London"
so that must have been William IV, who we know died in 1837.
Now Parker we know died in 1841 so it's a four year window.
Right, oh, fine. When these pistols were made.
At this time, duelling was greatly frowned on in England,
there'd been scandal when the Duke of Wellington, who was Prime Minister,
fought the Earl of Winchelsea over the Catholic Emancipation Bill, people were horrified...
the Prime Minister was out there effectively condoning attempted murder, which is what it was,
for all that duelling was socially acceptable three or four decades earlier, it was always illegal.
Your idea that they are for duelling is absolutely right,
but also they would be perfect for target practice. Right.
One thing suggesting they were intended for target practice is that they have sights on them. Ah.
Real pure duellists wouldn't use sights, they'd regard it as very unsporting
and not the sort of thing to do and the other thing is this...
..can you see that tiny screw there? Yes.
That is a set trigger and when I push that forwards, it goes click
and it sets the mechanism so that when you put the pistol up to the point of aim,
you've only got to touch it and off it goes. It makes it a hair trigger.
You're not there shaking with it and it's exactly what people call a "hair trigger".
Like most firearms of the period, they come in this very nice mahogany case
which has everything you need for cleaning, maintenance and loading.
How did you come by them?
They were given to my grandfather by an acquaintance
and my grandfather then just passed them on to my father and I've inherited them from him.
Any duellists in the family? No, unfortunately there's no gory details behind them,
not that I know of anyway...
Very occasionally you get details of duels,
there are quite a lot of them but few people were ever killed
and statistically it was very low and as soon as Queen Victoria comes to the throne in 1837
she made it plain that she wouldn't tolerate duelling
and anybody who was known to have duelled wouldn't be received at court. Right.
So we have a very fine pair of pistols in absolutely wonderful condition,
I think that they are worth between £4,000 to £5,000.
Thanks very much.
Even I know this is a racing silk, but who does it belong to?
It's supposed to belong to Fred Archer.
And why's it missing half the front of it?
Because when they win a famous race, they're supposed to tear that piece there
so that no other jockey can use that silk.
Right, well Fred Archer in his time was the David Beckham
and he was a superstar, he died tragically at the age of, I think, 29,
and there were tens of thousands of people at his funeral, so he really was highly highly considered.
I think he won the Derby five times
so for collectors this is an iconic piece of racing memorabilia
and really should be in a museum.
Any idea about value?
Well, I have had it valued and that was valued between £1,000 and £2,000.
Mm, I think it's quite conservative, collectors would give anything almost to acquire a piece like this,
and I would see this at auction at an estimate of between £2,500 and £3,000 but it could make more,
you know, Archer is considered the ultimate, and you've got a truly historic and fabulous piece.
Blue and white... the classic Oriental colour scheme...
..these are exactly the sort of things you can see somebody with an eye collecting.
If you had to dismiss one object...
..or the pair...to get rid of...
..which one would go? I think that one.
That's the one you like least? Yes. OK, and which do you like best?
I like this pair best.
OK, well, we'll put those to one side.
Here is an 18th century Chinese blue and white plate,
typical of the class that came across for use by the shipload.
Six million pieces were landed in the mid 18th century every year.
Good heavens. Yes, plate like that, going to be worth £100 to £150.
Really? As much as that.
Yes, this one is a bit earlier.
This one is about 1700.
We've got a crack in here which destroys the value to a great extent.
That is going to be worth around £70 to £100.
This one was made during the reign of the Emperor K'ang Hsi who reigned from 1662 to 1722.
So that's even earlier.
This is about 1680-1690. Really?
This wonderful vibrant blue, almost pulsating with colour. Yes, it's a lovely colour, mm.
That's going to be worth around £300 to £500.
These are interesting to me because we've got a date, a firm date at the end of the 19th century.
Many people will tell you that these were 20th century, they're Japanese, not Chinese.
Ah yes, that accounts for the slightly different style.
Yeah and they're Seto porcelain, they're not much collected yet,
not really understood so I'm afraid that pair is, at the best, £60.
But the one that you wanted to chuck out is the most interesting. Oh, really?
It is so often the way.
Yes. This is what we call transitional porcelain,
the Ming dynasty collapses over the first 50 years of the 17th century
and is replaced by the Ch'ing dynasty.
In between we have the transitional,
this is a classic transitional pot.
So what sort of date is that? Relatively heavy, 1630-1640.
Really? Yes. But what I love about this is this mad bird sort of crashing out of the sky,
I love the painting of this, it's wonderful, rare piece of porcelain.
If you're going to chuck it out, fine, I'll take it home, thank you very much.
I've changed my mind about that. Well, exactly, we're looking at £600 to £1,000 there.
Really? Oh, I'll take care of it. It's a lovely vase.
I found it in my boyfriend's house
which is quite an old dilapidated place with lots of rooms, it was up in an attic room coated in dust,
obviously not cared for very much so he said would I like to look after it as I clearly did like it
and a little while later we discussed what would become of it, if we should part,
or anything else happened. Right. By then he was using my viola
and we decided we'd be happy that he'd keep the viola
and I'd keep the cupboard. What do you know about it as an object?
I'm afraid nothing, because his family over the years has been left all sorts of bits of furniture
so we don't know how old.
Well, that's easy in fact, it's made of mahogany and it's made in Holland, it's Dutch,
it's Dutch marquetry which was very popular in the 17th century
and was revived in the early part of the 19th century and exactly to when this dates to
and one of the easiest ways of dating this is the door, you've got this sort of Gothic arch,
Gothic revival arch which would come into England and Northern Europe in around the 1810-1820 period.
It's amazing, I find, in the early 21st century that we still find things in the attic.
Now what's the viola worth?
Well, it was an English handmade one that I paid about £700 for.
Right, so is it a good swap or not?
Right, well this is worth between £700 and £800.
Well, we're both very happy still.
No winners, no losers, that's perfect. Gosh.
Where did he come from? He's German, I grew up in Germany and lived in Germany
and when I was about eight, which is nearly 30 years ago, I got him from a private car boot sale.
Do you know the story? Why somebody was selling him?
Yes, there was a mother and her daughter, she was quite a bit younger than me
and she was crying and I learned that she had to sell the bear
because they were moving into a much smaller apartment.
And mother made her child sell her bear? Yes, she was crying.
He's really rather lovely, I mean I'm fiddling with his tail here
because he's got this armature inside which links through to this little stubby tail
and as you move the tail from right to left, so his head moves and if you move it up and down so he can...
..he can answer simple questions. Do you have a name?
He actually hasn't got a name.
Oh, sorry, "No, I don't have a name!"
You could have hours of fun with this, but looking at the back here,
you also, I can see the other important thing which is,
I presume, a musical box. Yes.
"Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top?"
MUSICAL BOX PLAYS
Identifying teddy bears is not an exact science, I have to say,
but I feel that he's almost certainly by a company called Schuco,
the reason that I say that is because Schuco invented this wonderful yes/no mechanism, as it's called. Oh.
In 1921, and they used that in a lot of their novelty bears
right through into the 1950s and '60s
so that holds him in very good stead.
The other thing which I think is very appealing
is this wonderful sort of lost puppy look that he has.
Yes, very earnest. Very earnest, good name for a bear.
But he also, he has this "take me home and love me" look about him, which obviously appealed to you.
Back then, can you remember what you paid for him? It must have been either two or five marks.
Well, a good investment. I have to say,
because today he'd be worth something in the region of £600, maybe £700.
Right. So you really were a rescuer of a bear, well done.
Well, this is an absolutely fascinating note.
"This scarf was worn by Drill Sergeant McLellan, First Battalion, Coldstream Guards,
"who was killed at the Battle of Inkerman in the Crimea on Sunday November 5th 1844, Guy Fawkes Day"
and it says "This is preserved by Corporal Frederick Bridges of the same regiment".
Right. How did you get it?
I got it via my grandmother and my aged aunt
who inherited these relics from my great great grandmother.
And there it is, this is the sash that the chap was killed in.
Yes, that's right. That is quite extraordinary.
It's at the Battle of Inkerman.
That just is...I mean pieces of history like this, the fabric of history,
that is, that is more than fabric isn't it, I mean that is just incredible.
All the other stuff that you've got here is all to do with this Mr Bridges.
Frederick Bridges. Frederick Bridges. We have his discharge papers,
he was discharged in consequence of being unfit for further service.
Right, he was severely injured in the Battle of Inkerman. Yeah.
And it was at the Crimea where he met Florence Nightingale.
Did she actually treat him?
She did, as I understand it, and they became relatively good friends
which led to her seeking to obtain a position for him as a Buckingham Palace messenger.
Oh, well that's absolutely tremendous because we go on from that item to this item.
Yes. "Colonel Phipps requests Corporal Bridges to call at Buckingham Palace
on Saturday morning at half past ten o'clock", presumably for a job?
That's my understanding. But then here, a letter in pencil.
Yes. "35 South St, Park Lane West - Mr Bridges, I have returned to London
"as I promised to let you know when I wanted you again and I have done so.
"I find you have left the Corps of Commissionaires"
which I assume means the Corps of Commissionaires at Buckingham Palace,
"and if you have found a permanent situation, I could not advise you to take mine"
so presumably she also wanted a messenger, or something like that. Presumably.
But I now give you the opportunity, as I said I would, sincerely wishing you well as you know I do",
it's signed "Florence Nightingale". Exactly. A very typical letter in Florence Nightingale's pencil,
she wrote in pencil more often than she actually wrote in ink.
Really? Quite extraordinary, so there's no doubt about it,
that is a Florence Nightingale letter, absolutely wonderful.
All this stuff is incredibly difficult to value,
except of course the Florence Nightingale which I can value definitely.
The sash, my goodness, you know, what value could you put on that?
That is extraordinary, but the Florence Nightingale letter, I would value that at about £1500.
Really? Yes, absolutely, but the collection...
..well, who knows?
I'm trying to work out the mathematics here... what sum is he doing?
Well, we wondered about this, he's either just divided 112 by 14 and that's the answer, eight,
or he's just beginning to multiply them and that's the two times four.
We haven't decided.
There may be a clue in the title, there you've got the name "The Diligent Scholar".
That's right. That's the title of the figure and there the group, potted by Doulton and Co,
of course great figure makers indeed.
And that's all I know about it. We're looking at a figure here made in about 1920. Oh, right.
And we see lots of Doulton figures on the Roadshow, they were very prolific figure makers. Yeah.
But I must admit I've never actually seen this one.
Really? I mean I know it from the books and I've seen it in the books but I've never held one in the flesh,
because when it was issued I guess nobody bought it.
Ah, does that mean it's no good?
Well, I mean luckily in collecting terms it works the other way round.
Right. Because when it was produced, um, they tried out different modellers at Doulton,
this was by a modeller called William White
and for some reason his models just weren't as successful as the others by Harradine
and other successful sculptors, they only made a few of his.
I think they're a bit uncomfortable in their scale compared to the pretty Doulton figures.
Most of the Doulton figures we see are crinolined ladies, the Dickens characters.
They have obvious appeal, so the pretty ones that everybody bought
and everyone has at home are not worth much money now.
If you had to go to a Doulton specialist to buy one,
for a collector it's probably going to cost you £4,000.
Ooh! The cats walk round it on the shelf!
Haven't knocked it off...? Not yet, no, no.
I guess they won't be doing that any more.
Wow. No, it's exciting to find.
I said that Cambridge was rich in treasures,
it's also rich in Vitamin D if today's weather is anything to go by and this is just our first visit.
Next time we shall go into the cool and magnificent chapel which took five kings
and four master masons more than a century to build.
Untill then, from King's College in Cambridge, goodbye.
Subtitles by Chris Boyd BBC Broadcast 2004