Michael Aspel and the team do some beachcombing at Exmouth on the Devon coast. They uncover finds which include a toy that once belonged to Jane Austen.
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We thought the team had been looking a bit peaky lately,
so we've brought them down
to Devon's first fashionable seaside resort - Exmouth -
to let them enjoy a little rest, recuperation and of course Roadshow.
"Diversion and Bathing by the Sea"
has been the motto here since the 19th century.
With over two miles of life-size sandy beaches, Exmouth has been
a favourite destination for generations,
but its strategic location, at the mouth of the River Exe,
made it important long before all that.
Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh often sailed from Exmouth Harbour
across the Atlantic on their Empire-building exercises.
Not all the historical figures attracted to Exmouth were men.
Famous former residents include Lady Nelson and Lady Byron
and then there was Powder Monkey Ann.
Powder Monkey Ann, real name Nancy Perriam, lived here in Tower Street.
And she earned her nickname not from the sale of cosmetics
but because she was one of the very few woman
to have served in Nelson's fleet.
Alongside her husband she fought at the Battle of St Vincent and The Nile.
In battle, Powder Monkey Ann carried cartridges of fresh gunpowder along
narrow gangways and up and down ladders to the waiting cannons.
A tough life, but it didn't do her any harm.
The Navy gave her a pension which cost them quite a lot, as she lived to the age of 97.
At the other end of the social scale was Mary Anne Clarke, who lived here
in Imperial Road as mistress to Frederick, Duke of York.
In 1806 their relationship became a political scandal when the duke was charged with corruption.
He was accused of promoting officers after Mary Anne Clarke had taken bribes from them.
It's said that when the affair ended,
Clarke threatened to reveal all in her memoirs: a shrewd move which forced the government
to provide her with a huge pension in return for her silence.
And we're hoping for a few more interesting stories in today's Antiques Roadshow
which is being held at Exmouth Pavilion on the Esplanade.
Well, it really looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?
-It's not a real cake at all, made of pottery.
What's the story?
It was a wager between my great-great-grandfather Edward Holland.
-And his cousin, Josiah Wedgwood the Third,
that Josiah couldn't make a mould
in the shape of a Charlotte russe in jasperware.
Let's have a look at the really strange object because in here we have a case...
exactly like the real, the real...
-Is that pudding, or a cake? What is a Charlotte russe?
It's a pudding. It's an old Victorian pudding.
-Made of sponge fingers...
I don't know what they put inside it, sort of jelly stuff...
-Because here is rather like the shape of a mould for a jelly.
-But you've got the entire cake here itself and these I suppose are the sponge fingers all around here.
They look so real, don't they?
-And this is the icing that will be decorating the cake.
Not produced in real icing sugar, but this is Wedgwood's own jasperware.
-Um, very finely modelled in clay and looking like a real cake.
-So it was your great-great-grandfather had the wager.
-Do you know when the wager was?
-No, I don't, I'm afraid.
Presumably he was living in the beginning of the 19th century?
Yes, 1805 he was born.
Oh, right, so I suppose that would make this piece, I suppose, therefore 1830s would it have been?
Yes, probably about that.
Because Wedgwood developed the confits in this material
looking like pastry, a little bit earlier,
around about 1805 because at that time during the Napoleonic War
-there was a shortage of flour in England.
And it became fashionable to make copies of pies and pastries
out of Wedgwood's pottery, so it was placed on the table, like the real pies,
-and I guess this is a rather elaborate version of that idea.
But the design there is classic Wedgwood.
-And there you've got a design with love trophies.
-Very much a symbol of love, the quiver and arrows, the love doves.
-And a little garland there.
-Um, it's really nicely done, that sort of design was made in Wedgwood in the 1770s, 1780s.
So they had some designs in their stock and they put them together
to try and work out the wager.
-I wonder if it was good enough to win.
I don't know, I would imagine so.
Do you think it would have fooled people?
-Oh, yes, I think so.
-They made a few of them, I've seen a couple in collections of Wedgwood in America.
-But some time ago, you don't see them very often.
-Because I guess they were so difficult to make.
What's it worth as a very realistic pudding?
Is it worth I suppose £1,000.
-It's so rare and, and a lovely thing.
-Oh, that's very nice.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
Now, I was lucky enough earlier this year to go to Canada.
I've been before but this is the first time I got really involved
in what you might...what is now called First Nation material.
I went to museums, I went to collections,
and although we see things of this type on the Roadshow,
I'd never really thought about it, and so seeing this today,
it's a great treat for me, but also I think,
"God, you know, this is fantastic material."
What is it doing in Exmouth?
Well, I first remember this stuff as a child, we used to play with it,
my brother and my sister and I, and, um, my grandfather travelled
from Scotland when he was age 18 to work for the Hudson Bay Company
-in Canada as an apprentice clerk.
-What sort of date?
Er, that would have been 19... around about 1910, I think.
And eventually he managed the trading post at Churchill.
-He married a Cree Indian lady...
Stop there. That must have been terribly unusual at the time.
Er, they didn't talk about it, it was not the done thing.
Did he ever come back with her?
Er, no. He came on leave back to stay with family in Scotland
on several occasions but didn't bring his wife and children with him
and in letters to his family, he didn't even mention her by name,
he called her "the missus", I think, or something like that.
-So he was stepping out of line in a way.
-It was taboo to marry somebody from the Colonies or...
-But she was your grandmother.
-Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
-So you never met her.
-No, and we had this photograph of her.
This is a photograph of her with my father and my Uncle Ronnie.
So hang on, so this is your grandmother, the Cree lady...
-..with your father and your uncle?
So you just have this photograph.
That's all we have, the photograph and the beadwork, yes.
So how did the beadwork come back?
-My grandfather died.
Out there. And my father and his brother were shipped back to Scotland
-to live with their aunt.
So they were taken from their mother and she never saw them again?
-What an extraordinary story.
Yeah, my grandfather mentioned in his will that he wanted his sons
to have a good education and I think that...
we think that that's the reason they were sent back to Scotland.
Right, we're talking what... When do you think this was made? 1910...?
We think between 1900 and 1915, around about there.
So it might have come with his wife as part of her dowry, perhaps?
-Possibly. Or we didn't know whether she'd made some of this beadwork.
Because what you've got, 1900, obviously we're no longer dealing
with warring tribes and building, making things
entirely for tribal purposes.
Peace reigns, up to a point,
and therefore tourism has taken over, and this is why
you get so many echoes of European design
contrasted with traditional First Nation design, because many
of these pieces will have been brought back by visitors.
-A tablecloth is not a traditional item.
Whereas the shirt is. This started out as a warrior's shirt,
by 1900-1910 it's become something entirely ornamental.
Do you know the background to it?
We know that my grandfather made reference to buying some doe skins
to make a jacket, now that's a date I think about 1917.
Right, so this may be, that may be that jacket,
in which case the embroidery may be by your grandmother.
-Yeah, we think it could well be, yeah.
-So we can date that piece.
Dating the others is hazardous in the sense that we know
they're not 19th century, with the possible exception of the bag,
but they're probably 1900 onwards
but not much later than 1916, '17, '18, I would think.
So you've got here remarkable pieces,
but I think what makes it to me much, much more exciting is that...
I mean, in effect you're quarter Cree, aren't you?
-Have you always felt proud of that?
I have, personally, yeah, but my father never talked about it.
-I think at the time we grew up...
-It was shameful.
-It was, yeah.
-It was not acceptable.
-Have you been to Canada?
-No, I'm hoping to.
-You must, because you know, you will find you fit in,
it's your tradition, your background, your culture.
-Yeah, I look forward to doing that.
-Now, shall I start going through it?
If you like yeah, I mean...
-Well, those are going to be about £2,000 to £3,000.
Um, those a bit less, they're smaller, say £1,000 to £1,500.
These are going to be £800 to £1,500 each,
Um, this is interesting,
this may be an earlier piece, I suspect,
partly because it's still got the traditional decoration.
Also, we're always told that this red bordering
originally was taken from the red coats of British soldiers.
-That's how they got that red fabric, and on domestic pieces,
they had this red rim to say, "Look, we've killed British soldiers."
So that could go back to the 1880s or even 1860s,
or be later, just done in that traditional style.
But again you're looking at probably £2,000 there.
Shirt... Find me another outside a museum.
-Of that period. 1920s and '30s,
-the price is a fraction because it's common tourist ware.
An authenticated shirt, OK not 1880s but going back to the 1900s, £5,000.
-So, you know, you're looking at £10,000 to £15,000 at least...
-..for this group.
Well, it's a slightly battered
but very good looking handbag. BVS,
the initials on it... Who was BVS?
She was my grandmother, Beatrice Violet Scofield,
she was born in 1884 and she married a Rochdale mill owner,
Benjamin Scofield, who was about 40 years older than her,
and this was her handbag.
It's quite a weight, isn't it?
It's very heavy and men always complain we carry too much,
-but they did in those days as well.
-Shall we have a delve inside?
It's more like a dressing case than a handbag!
-Incredible, isn't it?
-Incredible to think that she carried it around.
Silver fittings dating from the early 1920s and all with enamelling
on them, and it's in great condition, isn't it?
-So I guess she would have been in her 40s
-when she had this bag.
-I would think so, yes.
There's the wallet... Just sort of goes on and on.
-A beautiful looking...
So, did you know your grandmother?
Oh, yes, she was a very Victorian lady, we used to stand by the piano
while she played music, or do ballet, we were terrified of her, actually.
-So, a fearsome character.
But tiny, really Victorian and very small.
The bag, a crocodile bag, made in England,
and these fittings here were all made in England
in the early 1920s. They have various hallmarks on them,
they were assayed in Birmingham.
Oddly enough, the compact is Austrian,
and in the late 19th century Austria, and Vienna in particular,
was a centre for enamelling, so this is just the tail end of that.
It is a difficult thing to value. Somebody else's initials on it.
But the enamelling is in good condition and the fittings alone
are worth £600.
When I heard earlier on that there was a guy outside with 37 pictures,
-I thought it was a wind-up, but it's not.
-Where on earth did you get these from?
-From a recycling yard.
-Hang on, a recycling yard?
So you mean they were going to get scrapped?
-All of them, yes.
-They were going to get turned into something else.
-All of them.
-And how come you actually fell for these things?
Well, my granddad and grandmother were in the Masons in Cornwall
and I saw this lot altogether and knew they were from one Lodge.
They're history, I just couldn't see them scrapped.
So all these represent things that are quite close to your family life
-as it were.
-And there's an image here of the entire Lodge
at some point in its history, assembled.
Yes, it looks like their annual meeting.
And the look of civic pride upon their faces is almost palpable
but it's the individual images,
particularly the ones sitting over there,
that really strike me as remnants of a bygone age.
Yes. The regalia and the medals
and what they represent, I find it fascinating.
We need to sort of reflect a bit on the history of the Freemasons
because they are an extraordinarily ancient organisation.
I gather it was in the medieval period they began as stone masons
and indeed some of the regalia does reflect exactly that,
the instruments of stone masonry. I mean that fellow over there,
he's showing them almost with a sort of tribal leader's intensity.
There he is, these objects glowing on his chest.
This is a man not to mess with, certainly within the Lodge.
As they developed they became more and more both a secret society
and a society devoted to charity.
-But also at the same time
developing a little bit of a bad reputation amongst those
who weren't part of them, probably because of all of the secret signs
and handshakes and what have you.
There's something, to me, quite poignant about this. We're looking at 38 pictures
that were once regarded almost as sort of reverential objects
and you find them in a recycling yard!
-Can I ask you how much you paid for them?
-I offered £100, they accepted.
£100. I mean, it's ridiculously cheap on one level,
ridiculously cheap because you're dealing...
apart from anything else...
with 38 very good frames.
Some fumed oak frames themselves can be worth up to £100 each.
This is one of those intangible areas that we have to be prophets about.
But I reckon you could be one day talking about an important collection and a complete collection
of a part of British history that has all but disappeared.
A bit of a sea breeze this morning, right beside the sea,
but this was never meant to be sailed on the ocean, was it?
No, it was in sailing ponds or lakes, inland waters only.
-And you've sailed her?
-I have yes, when I was a teenager.
I used to go as a young lad to the Highgate Ponds in London
and watch the older men sailing these
and the old gentleman who owned it felt he couldn't deal with it any more.
He said, "If you bring your father and £3, you can have her."
It took me a month to talk my dad into coming up.
And the condition was that I didn't tamper with it or alter it.
Where were you living at that time?
In a place called Camden Town, used to go on a bus, carried her on a bus.
-Up to Highgate Pond.
-The boat and some sandwiches up to the pond
for the day and then back again, yes.
Well, this is... What's it termed?
-A ten rater.
-A ten rater which was a serious model yacht, wasn't it?
-They had various classes.
They did and they used to have competitions around a course,
they had buoys in the pond and you had to sail the course.
-And how long would that take?
-Oh, half an hour or so, yes.
And a very ingenious self-steering gear, how does that work?
You analyse the wind pattern on the water,
then set these different things up,
different slides, so it would go to halfway across and then turn,
but if you got it wrong, you had to run round to the other side!
And do you sail her today?
No. No suitable water and getting a bit old to run round after her.
So what's going to happen to her?
I'd like to pass it on to someone else to look after it for another 50 years.
Lovely idea. I suggest you take it up to one of the great ponds,
-like the Round Pond. They're still racing such yachts.
I'm sure you'll find an enthusiast, just like you were.
-And it cost how much, again, in 1953?
£3. Well, a beautiful piece, fully working order, today we're probably talking a figure
of between £1,200 and £1,800
so a good return on your £3 investment.
It certainly is, thank you very much.
For 16 or 17 years I normally look at antique silver on the Roadshow,
but I have a secret passion,
and these are my secret passion, electric guitars.
I've been in love with them since the age of 12, maybe 13.
-Now how many have YOU got?
-At the moment I've got about 80.
Well, I have to say you've brought along one particular guitar that is
full of wonderful memories for me,
because on my 13th birthday I went to a guitar shop
in Surbiton in Surrey and I saw this particular guitar here
-which I think is a Watkins Rapier, isn't it?
-Yes, it is, yeah.
So it should date from around that time, am I talking about 1963?
Yes, they date from the early '60s up until about the mid '60s.
Right, and I saw this hanging on the wall and I thought it was wonderful,
so I went home to my parents, "I want an electric guitar, I want an amplifier!"
They said, "Oh, far too expensive".
I've got a feeling this was 30-something pounds at the time?
I think at the time it was about £29.19.11
-or something like that, yes.
Next to this we've got a guitar which I've heard about
but never seen and it's called a Dallas.
This is the Dallas Tuxedo which is quite legendary
in the guitar world because it was the very first guitar
that was commercially built in this country
and this one dates from about 1957-58.
Fantastic. Right, now lastly this is an unusual guitar.
This is the Gretsch Traveling Wilburys,
-which was a promotional guitar.
I've heard about these.
Well, it's got the signature, or the facsimile signature,
of the five Traveling Wilburys.
Ah! Look at that. So we've got "Nelson"...
that was George Harrison, "Lucky" is Bob Dylan,
"Otis" is Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra,
"Charlie T" is Tom Petty, of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,
-and "Lefty" is Roy Orbison.
-Yes, it was, that's correct, yes.
So, I suppose now two of them are no longer with us,
this is probably going up in value.
I think they have gone up very considerably.
I've got to ask you, which guitar do you like playing the most?
Well, Alastair, I was hoping you wouldn't ask me,
-because I'm not actually a guitarist.
-What? What?! This is all a front?
-I'm a drummer.
-You're a drummer?
-Can't believe it.
I am, and, um I've never been able to play guitar, and I think probably one of the reasons that I collect guitars
is because I'd love to be able to play them,
but I haven't got the ability to do so, and I have tried over the years.
-And I've brought somebody with me...
-..who can demonstrate.
For old times sake, I'd love to hear what the Watkins Rapier sounds like.
So let's hand it over to him,
and give us a twiddle.
If you ever have deja vu, you're probably having it now
because this furniture has indeed been seen on the Roadshow before, isn't that right?
Yes, it was first shown at a recording in Tavistock approximately two years ago.
And it was...a very strong story attached to it.
There was a story because this is part of a set of four items
of furniture made by Robert Thompson, the Mouseman, in Yorkshire.
They were made for my father, also there was another set of four
identical pieces of furniture
made for my father's identical twin brother.
Unfortunately, my father's twin brother lost his life
in the war and we are unaware of what happened
to the mouse furniture itself that he held.
Well, since your visit to the show, as you know, we had a letter. This letter was from a lady called...
who used to be called Elizabeth Mills.
She too was a twin, she and her twin brother, the Mills twins,
knew your father and your uncle when they were young.
And when your Uncle Charles died,
-that furniture was given to the Mills twins.
As a keepsake, and she still has it.
-Would you like to meet her?
-I certainly would.
-Oh, my word!
-Elizabeth Smiley, once Mills.
How do you do?
-And who are you?
Well, tell us your side of the story, tell us about the furniture, knowing the twins.
Well, it's a long time ago, before the war,
we were living fairly near the next village in Yorkshire
and we were all at school, boarding school, and we used to meet,
play tennis, went skating on Shibden Lake
and saw each other in the holidays.
And they were known as the First Twins and we were the Mills Twins.
So we were always invited, the four of us, to parties and things.
And then the war came. We were all going to university but sadly the war stopped that.
And Charles was in the RAF and his plane was lost
and his mother decided that he would have liked
the Mills Twins to share some of the furniture
that was given to them on their 21st.
-There's that story.
-Isn't that amazing?!
-All we need now is the evidence itself...
the furniture, which we have.
Oh, my word!
And that is mine.
Together at last.
-Isn't that amazing?!
Oh, it's so wonderful! Oh, it's so....!
Oh, well...! So thrilling, it really is!
Let's just look at the photographs.
-That's a photograph...
-These are the Mills Twins, this is you.
-At 21 with your brother.
That's my twin brother...
-And here is the picture of the First Twins.
-..became a General.
And you're the son of...
That's right, I'm the son of Kenneth.
Those are lovely photographs.
-All reunited by this furniture.
This is a great pig! Wonderful pig.
Is it a male or a female...?
Looking at the eyes, it has to be a girl, I think.
Oh, yes. Sweet little thing.
And of course marked under the base,
says, "Wemyss Made in England".
Which puzzles everybody because,
-I mean, Wemyss naturally they think is Scotland.
Up in Wemyss. But it was designed and made by Nekola, Karel Nekola.
-Who moved down from Wemyss in the 1930s when they packed up.
-And came down here, locally to Bovey Tracey.
Just round the corner.
-Just round the corner, yes, it's just a few miles from here.
And there is a Wemyss display and a place in Bovey Tracey called The Marble House.
-There is, I've seen it many times but never linked the two.
So it's very much a local thing now, down here in Devon.
So the making would be by mould.
-And painted all over with these mad, mad, mad flowers.
I don't know what the flowers are. Are they Devon flowers?
-We thought they were clovers because...
-That's what we thought.
-Are you a farmer?
We've got a small farm, we specialise in traditional and rare breeds,
-British rare breeds.
-We haven't got any pigs.
-But no pigs.
-Maybe we should start thinking about it.
I think you should! It's a great chap. How did you come by it?
This used to be my grandmother's and she collected it,
I couldn't tell you when. When she died, she passed it down
to my parents and I moved house a couple of months ago
and they gave it to me as a house-warming present.
It's absolutely great. What do you reckon the value is?
-I have absolutely no idea.
They go by size, porkers, in Wemyss,
you know, the bigger they are, the better they are.
Some of them are made incredibly with flat, or lying on their backs,
all sorts of funny things, but this is a normal wonderful chap,
or girl. I think it's absolutely marvellous.
-I reckon you're looking at now over £1,000.
-Perhaps £1,200, something like that.
-And I suppose that's more than a real bit of pork.
-It's a lot of bacon, isn't it?
-But congratulations on it and look after it.
-And look after it well.
-I will. That's a promise, that's a promise. Thank you very much.
That box was sent to my father by the Duke and Duchess of York,
as they then were, became of course George VI and Queen Elizabeth...
At a later date.
-..and then she became the Queen Mother.
Because my father was up at Glamis Castle attending the Queen Mother,
or Duchess of York, as she was then, when Princess Margaret was born.
-So your father was a gynaecologist?
-He's a gynaecologist.
-And he was on duty.
-Yes, that's right.
Was he Scottish? Why was he up there?
No, he was taken up by the then absolutely top-notch gynaecologist in the country called Sir Henry Simpson.
-Who was, I would say, my father's mentor.
-And over the next half...
between 1930 and perhaps 1950, I would say that my father took over his position.
So the box, which is a cigarette box, says,
"To FN Reynolds from Elizabeth and Albert, August 1930".
-There's two curiosities to me about this, one is that...
do you give your gynaecologist a cigarette box?
Today it would seem extremely odd,
but of course in those days it was a very acceptable present.
Yes, um, yes, I think my father
always received a lot of presents, rather more presents than he did fees, I think.
That's why the family are very poor today!
-And this is the secret of gynaecology?!
-I think so!
-That you take the present.
-The other thing is that it's Elizabeth and Albert.
At that point, putting it crudely, you know, we have the heir and the spare.
-He was the spare, he was the Duke of York.
-She was the Duchess of York with no hint how history was going to be.
They expected to play a minor role from that point on, but nothing to do with being heir to the throne.
-The Prince of Wales, who was to become Edward VIII of course,
was fulfilling that role, they were just sort of in the background.
-And so this as a result, is very informal
and he's still using his birth name "Albert".
-Which to me is the key thing.
-He only became George when he came to the throne.
So that's the box, which is a very nice silver box.
-The letter I think is wonderful. May I read it?
"Dear Mr Reynolds, we are sending you a very small box of cigarettes
"as a slight souvenir of August 21st and I will also take this opportunity
"of wishing you a Happy Christmas and a good 1931.
"My husband would have written but he is in bed
"suffering from the effects of anti-tetanus
"injected after a horse had kicked a hole in his leg.
"But he wishes to join with me in sending all good wishes."
-What an extraordinarily informal letter, wonderful.
With the, "I am very sincerely, Elizabeth"...
Well, they'd had a very intimate experience together,
he was there while she was giving birth and I suppose,
they must have developed a sort of friendship, which this hints at.
-And again it's a written, it's a personal letter,
she's even addressed the envelope,
it's been stamped, it's gone the usual way. Again this underlines
-the fact that at that point they were very unimportant people, relatively.
-And it also...
From 185... 145 Piccadilly.
Not from Buckingham Palace or Clarence House or any of that.
I think it's a lovely, it really puts the box in context.
-It does, it makes the whole thing a little bit more.
Yeah, it does, it does.
It's slightly ironic that in the end smoking finished him off,
but, you know, let's not go there.
-And my father.
Let's not go there either.
Now these are wonderful things.
Value... Funnily enough, letters from the late Queen Mother
are not that rare, she was a great correspondent.
-And so that one, full of personal detail,
is going to be £150, £200.
She was not a rare correspondent, unfortunately.
The box, nice silver cigarette box of 1930
is going to be £200 or £300.
Because of what it represents and because it ties in with the letter,
I think I would at least triple that.
-We're looking at the most sort of £1,500 for the story.
Quite right, but to me it's just being in touch
with that strange period in our history when all was about to change.
-It was certainly an interesting time.
-Thank you very much.
I can tell you it was collected about 1900
by this gentleman here, George Luton.
He was a merchant seaman so whether he was able to bring it back
-on the ship that he was on, I don't know.
-I mean this all started
when they were killed for their meat
when the crew needed food.
And somebody said one day, "I think I'll keep that turtle shell.
-"That's almost big enough for a boat," or something like that.
"I'll take it home with me."
-And that's how it developed from very early times.
Well, this of course is what we misname tortoiseshell.
-This is where all the tortoiseshell decoration comes from.
-Not from tortoises.
-Turtles. That's right.
And we were very late in the UK in taking that on as a decorative medium.
It was in the Middle and Far East much earlier,
-came to Europe round about the late 17th, early 18th century.
Used in the form of marquetry in contrast with brass.
And thin sheets of this were produced,
depending on what colour you put underneath it,
you got amber, green, red tortoiseshell. That's all it was,
it was what colour base you used.
Once this is warmed it becomes pliable.
Ah, I didn't know that.
And you flatten it and then you can cut, to a 16th of an inch,
you can cut thin slices which create pieces
not much bigger than each of those. So really and truly the great age
for tortoiseshell veneering was from 1690 to 1720
and then again 1810-15 through to, I suppose, about 1840.
Now, I think this is older than 1900.
-It has a patina. I mean, it is like a piece of timber
and it doesn't get to look that that in just 100 years.
-It really doesn't.
This is an ancient piece.
-What does it look like underneath?
-Let's have a look.
Still got the backbone in place.
-Gruesome! Oh, dear!
-No flesh on it!
No, this is... I'm sure this is late 18th-, early 19th-century,
-That's good news.
-Oh, sure, this is a very rare thing.
-This is a very rare thing.
It doesn't make it very valuable but to me, it's academic -
-it's a fascinating piece.
-And to me.
-Yes, of course.
But on the market, could be anything -
-£2,000 to £3,000.
-Oh, yes, but...who knows?
-But it's wonderful.
-Well, it's family history,
-so it stays in the family.
-A tea cosy.
-And has the tea cosy got any story?
it was made to go on the Titanic and this gentleman was the designer,
the embroidery designer for the linens that went onto the Titanic
and I understand he worked for Bannerman and Sons
which is a big property company,
and it belonged to his daughter who I knew for many years
and nursed her for a number of years. She was very, very proud of it.
The white star.
-The star of David, yes.
-You know, for the line.
Yes, so how do you know it was actually meant for the Titanic?
Well, there was originally a letter from her father,
starting, "Dear Winifred, do not allow this to become damaged or destroyed,"
telling her that he took it from the batch that was made to go onto the Titanic.
Well, this is incredible because anything to do with the Titanic
causes tremendous excitement.
-There's the really good news and the not so good news.
Well, it never went on the Titanic.
Exactly. And in that sense, if somebody as they were getting into the lifeboat
had grabbed one of these and put it on his head
and brought it back, we'd be talking...
But even though it didn't go on the Titanic,
-I still think this is £300...
-Very, very difficult to value, because this is a one-off.
It's a complete one-off.
You're holding a rather poignant looking object, what is it?
It's a certificate presented to my great grandmother,
to Sarah Thead, and presented to her by Queen Victoria,
who signed it. It's a prize for working at Windsor Castle.
And how did you come across it?
I found it in a drawer after my grandmother died,
and my grandmother always told me that her mother,
she was put into an orphanage with two other sisters
and this is where we looked and found out they'd gone to the workhouse
somewhere up in the Middlesex area
and we traced them down and found them.
-So the family traced back your great grandmother to the paupers' house.
-To the pauper house.
-And did you get the facts of that? Did you get the details?
-Yes, it broke my heart
-to see that, my great-grandmother, "Occupation, pauper."
Then she was taken from the workhouse, you discovered...
-To Windsor Castle.
-To work for the Queen?
-Workhouse then the Queen.
-Then the Queen.
And it says here, "..Received a prize of £1 at the annual meeting
"held at Windsor on the 16th day of July
"for having continued four years in her first place of service."
-So she was rewarded for having made it from the workhouse into Windsor.
-Into Windsor, yes, yes.
-What a wonderful tale.
-And a very poignant one for you.
She moved then to Sherborne and then down to Chudleigh, where I live, in Devon
and did so well for herself.
-And given with this was this picture behind.
-Yes, that's right.
Which shows the young Queen Victoria being told...
-rather like the young Elizabeth I... that she's about to be Queen.
-Adding to the sentiment.
-Isn't that touching?
I mean, this is the young Queen Victoria, that was your young great grandmother,
-there's a sort of feeling of synergy there as well.
And as to the value of these?
Well, the value is of course massively from the family point of view.
-Who knows what they're worth? A few hundred pounds, probably.
-Yes, but still precious.
-Yes. Thank you very much.
This is a most impressive looking family tree. Is it your own?
-Yes, it is.
-I see it starts with Edward Austen
who took the name of Knight.
-Who was he?
-Edward Austen was Jane Austen's brother.
-THE Jane Austen?!
THE Jane Austen, and he changed his name to Knight when he inherited Chawton and Godmersham estates.
-And you're a descendant?
-So you're a direct descendant of Jane Austen?
-She's my great great great grandfather's sister.
So you feature on this family tree, presumably, near the bottom?
-How wonderful and I'll just fold the family tree away
for the moment so we can see the rest of the items
that are brought along.
Which are a wonderful selection
and seem mostly to be contemporary with that period.
-Yes, I think they are.
-Who is the man in the daguerreotype?
That is Edward Knight, the son of Jane Austen's brother,
-that's another Edward Knight.
-So that's Jane Austen's nephew?
And this is wonderful, "The New Game of Emulation...
"The amusement of youth of both sexes
"and calculated to inspire their minds."
Isn't that terrific? And then a line that could be straight out
of Jane Austen itself, "Abhorrence of vice and a love of virtue."
-Looks a fascinating game, have you ever played it?
No, I haven't, I don't know how to. I'd love to have a go.
Looks fiendishly complicated but it's exactly the right period for Jane Austen.
-Yes, it is.
-And if I remember rightly, the Austen family
were great ones for playing games and acting plays within the family.
-So the chances are
that Jane herself would have played this game.
Almost certainly, yes, I mean the date's right, it's 1804.
-And this is from the games drawer at Chawton and we know
that when she living at Chawton cottage, which she was given by her brother,
she used to go along to Chawton great house when the family were there, with her brothers used to stay there
and they'd have games evenings so I'm sure she'd have played that.
This is absolutely remarkable. It's wonderful literary history here,
and it's in beautiful condition too.
And here we have a silhouette, I suppose that's too much to hope
-that it's Jane, is it?
-I'm sure it is, yes. ..I wish it was!
-It's the right sort of period, early 19th century.
Showing a young girl playing with a cup and ball. And here we have
an ivory cup and ball, now tell me about this.
Well, that is Jane Austen's cup and ball, that is her own cup and ball.
-You're sure about that?
-Absolutely certain, yes.
How astonishing! And is it recorded that she played with it?
Yes, it is, yes, that was...
She's well known as spending hours with her cup and ball, she could do over 100 in the cup...
I don't know how good she was on the spike, but it's one of the things she used to enjoy doing.
Well, it's absolutely wonderful,
because it's typical of a cup and ball of the period,
made of ivory, nice baluster ring turning here
with the ball on the top.
-And then you can play it two ways, can't you?
You can either flick it up and land on there
or the other one is landing on there, isn't it?
That's the easy way, in the cup. The hard way is getting it on the spike.
It's in pretty good condition, a bit chipped but...
-It's been used!
-Yes, it's been used by Jane Austen.
Yes, and generations since. My son plays with it.
Well, I have to say, this is a quite remarkable collection,
and it's wonderful to see
because, I mean, Jane Austen is the Holy Grail
for a lot of literary collectors,
she's absolutely up there with the gods
and to see all this which is directly related to her, is a great treat.
And we have to put values on the items.
I think probably the daguerreotype of her nephew
is worth maybe a few hundred pounds.
Again with the family connection,
the game with the cups and ball there, about the same sort of value.
The silhouette, as it's not directly related, but it's great fun,
and that's probably worth £150, £200.
-This I think is superb, and lovely condition.
I wouldn't be surprised if a game collector, if it came on the market,
would pay several hundred pounds for that, it's quite delightful.
But this is the piece de resistance, absolutely wonderful.
And used by Jane Austen frequently.
And if that came up on the market
and was accepted by potential buyers as definitely being Jane Austen's,
I would expect that to fetch
something in the region of £20,000, £25,000.
-Well, it is literary history, no more, no less.
And it's been a complete joy to see it, thank you very much indeed.
Thank YOU very much.
According to my information, the estuary of the River Exe
is an important habitat for wading and migrating birds,
which makes it a perfect place for the experts
because they love a place to snuffle around and then move on from.
We've all agreed we like Exmouth so much, we shall be a little sad to leave, but leave we must.
And so, until the next time, from Devon, goodbye.
Michael Aspel and the team do some beachcombing at Exmouth on the Devon coast. They uncover finds which include a toy that once belonged to Jane Austen and a collection of Native Canadian Cree embroidery with a heartbreaking story.