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This week, the Roadshow comes from a town on the edge of Cardigan Bay.
It was known in the 1920s as the "Biarritz of Wales".
Welcome to the Antiques Roadshow from Aberystwyth.
Bringing the Antiques Roadshow team here to Aberystwyth has been
a pretty long journey for all those involved and, in fact,
Aberystwyth's remoteness was often a problem in the past, particularly
for the Victorians who liked to come here and dip their toes in the sea.
And, in fact, promenades like this were constructed so they could
show off their fashionable clothes, and take the air.
'But, if the town was to become a top holiday destination,
'it needed one thing in particular - a good public transport system.'
'In 1861, the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway Company was formed,
'and awarded the contract of forging a rail link to Aberystwyth.'
Well, it was quite an event,
the day the town celebrated the official opening of its new railway line.
On 22nd July, 1864, there was a large procession through the town
and then a train with 35 coaches, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers,
pulled up to Aberystwyth station.
Now, before I go, there's one thing I've got to do, which is...
..kick the bar.
Because I'm reliably informed that, for years, visitors have ended their walk along the promenade
by coming here and kicking the bar.
I don't know why. It seems a funny thing to do.
But I've seen people do it and, apparently, it brings good luck.
Let's hope that luck is with us today,
as we join our experts at Aberystwyth Arts Centre at the university campus.
When I was coming up on the train yesterday, with my colleague,
I said to her, "The one thing I would really like to see tomorrow is a spoon rack."
When you came into reception, she came running over and she said,
-"I've got somebody you must meet." And here you are!
-Yeah. Here I am.
How far back can you remember them in your family?
Well, I remember my father talking about his grandfather using them,
so that would be my great-great-great grandfather.
So that takes us almost back to the beginning of the 1800s.
-Where was that?
-That was in a little village called Llanfihangel ar Arth.
I'm glad you said that and not me!
In the north of Carmarthenshire, really, still in Carmarthenshire.
-And were they in a farmhouse?
What they used to call a longhouse.
One main room, one bedroom, with a bedroom door leading into the cow shed.
-And these would have hung on the wall?
-On the kitchen wall.
And tell me how they were used?
They were used for what, in the Welsh was called cawl, which is broth.
Put a big pan on the fire, open fire.
Potatoes, meat, onions, carrots, parsnips, swedes
and last, before serving it, the leeks.
I bet it was one of those dishes that, when you had it the second day, it tasted even better.
Oh, much, much nicer, much nicer.
But what I love about this is that it is a design, a shape, that has never changed.
It could have been made in 1780,
it would have been looking just the same in the 1880s.
Very simply made from local wood,
the actual rack is pine with a bit of staining, but it's got this
sort of lovely blackness over it, which must have been from the smoke.
-Smoke, most probably.
-And all the spoons are, you know, wiggly waggly
and they would have just been simply carved, wouldn't they?
-Whittled away in the evening.
-Front of the fire.
Front of the fire. This piece speaks family - family life,
children round a table, they just are a dream.
-You can picture it, can't you?
-So how long ago were they last used?
I think they were last used in 1986.
-I think Health and Safety might have something to say about it now.
I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see them, and so many spoons.
So, now to value.
I mean, to me, they are as rare as hen's teeth these days.
-Families have kept them, they were passed down...
-They will be passed down.
..generation to generation. So how often do they come to market?
Why would anybody want to sell them?
But I have to put a price on because that's what we're about,
and I would say somewhere in the region of
£400 or £500... What?! ..is a gentle price.
Surprised, really surprised.
How does a lady wearing a jacket as fantastic as that,
come to own a piece like this?
My father bought it for my mother about 40 years ago.
My mother's died now, so my daughter's inherited it,
so I brought it up for her tonight.
So why did he buy it for her? Was she particularly attracted to birds?
-It was the sort of thing she really liked, yes.
I don't know where he bought it.
It's been in the family about 30 or 40 years now, I should imagine.
OK, you don't have any idea what he paid for it?
-Or where he might have bought it?
-No, no, I don't.
OK. Well, actually, if you don't know that,
you can add a little bit of revenue out of it, too.
-And he starts moving his head and singing.
He's a quiet one, he's quite silent.
-It's gone quiet.
-It's late in the day.
My mum used to put the penny in and he used to make more noise.
So he loved your mother?
Yeah, he did love my mum, I think.
-He was happy when she was around.
-Yes, I think so. Yeah.
He needs restoring again,
-as I'm sure he'll love your daughter as well.
These are real feathers, but obviously the bird
is covered inside, and I think he'll come up wonderfully bright.
And quite snazzy, actually, when he's had a good bit of a clean.
-And his bellows, too.
You'll hear him, he'll sing sweetly again.
What's interesting is that these were made
for parlours in the 19th century
-and they were effectively a rich person's toy.
They were for entertainment, you'd have them in a corner.
-Like a cylinder music box.
Wind it up, play a tune, and ha-ha, everybody had a lovely time.
They were made in France, often with Swiss movements.
This was made probably in the late 19th century,
-so probably the 1880s.
-This wonderful decorative panel.
-He's quite magnificent.
-They're very sought-after pieces.
-Ah! There we are, then.
-He's quite large.
-In need of a bit of repair.
And I still think you're looking at around £2,000.
Gosh, that's great.
So make sure that when he's spick-and-span again,
and ready to go, he takes pride of place in the living room
-and he can sing once again with joy.
One of the exciting things about a Roadshow is when an object is brought along
and it looks pretty ordinary, similar to countless others we see every week,
but there's something special about it that sets it apart
and makes it significant and valuable.
The thing is, how do you tell?
As you know, in this series our experts are setting us
a bit of a challenge - basic, better, best.
This week is the turn of our arms and militaria expert, Graham Lay.
So we have here a set of medals. One is a basic set worth about £80,
the other is a rather better set worth £500 to £600
and then there's the best, worth £4,000 to £5,000.
I have to say, medals are not my speciality
but Graham is going to reveal all later on.
First it's time for our visitors and you to see if you can work out which is which.
-Have you any idea what you're looking for?
This is a trick question. The smallest one will be most valuable.
-What about the age?
What do you think? Basic, better, best.
Here would be basic that one would be better, that would be the best.
-That one and that one look very similar, don't they?
OK, I'm going say better and best.
Crosses there, and crosses generally say more important.
-That could be the best.
-Why do you think that?
-There's two crosses.
These ones are the most important ones.
Basic, better, best.
Hold on, switch those around.
Basic, better, best.
-Sure as I can be.
Now this is a striking bit of human anatomy.
How did it come into your life?
Well, it's quite a story.
I visited an old friend of mine
that does house clearances
and from time to time he gets a painting,
he gets in touch with me and he says, "Are you interested in buying?"
And this is my hobby, so he brings it down to me
and it was in a terrible state. I saw the ticket on the back,
Francis Bacon and recognised the signature and we did a deal.
I gave him a few hundred pounds
and when I had a look at it, I thought, well you know, this isn't for me really,
but the name is.
Of course the central question is "Is this by Francis Bacon?"
Francis Bacon, the major towering figure in British art
in the last 20-30 years, died fairly recently.
If it's by him, of course, it's a picture of extreme value,
art historical importance, worth many millions of pounds,
so it's really worth getting this one right.
From the front,
well it's the sort of composition we normally associate
with Francis Bacon, in as much that you've got that rather sort of bruised and angry flesh,
almost like a corpse, and you've got that bleary out-of-focus face,
all the sort of stuff that you associate with Francis Bacon.
But I think before we go any further on the front,
as we're trying to establish if this is the real thing or not,
-Let's have a look at the back, shall we?
OK, now it's always been my view,
that whenever you're looking at a picture that could potentially
be a great treasure or, indeed, a fake, that the back of it
will tell you more than the front.
The title of the picture it seems, Ophelia, with a sort of inscription
we find from time to time on 20th-century pictures and earlier,
"A gift to my sister."
Now this gets more interesting, we have a label
at the top here that says "Francis Bacon B29".
Now I have to say the writing looks quite modern,
but what do you think the B29 refers to?
Well, I was thinking
perhaps it's the Hanover Gallery Exhibition number of 1952.
Well, you've really done your homework,
because the Hanover Gallery was the first gallery
to discover Francis Bacon,
and if it a label from that exhibition,
that is immediately exciting.
It proves that it was at a place
and at a time which is extremely significant
in the life of Francis Bacon. You could say we're warming up.
But then, does that look really old?
Or does it look like a photocopy of a label?
And is this B29? Is the paper just a little bit fresh?
I'm not sure. But let's just ask those questions.
What do you feel?
I think it's an old label and the reason I think that is because
it's bowed slightly with the damp,
within an attic for years and years
and the ink is coming off in places
where it would do, with damp.
But the signature looks to me to be genuine because it's spontaneous.
And I'm going to just go back to the front.
Someone has gone to inordinate trouble to get it right.
And they haven't just tried to paint a picture
that Francis Bacon might have done.
And it looks fairly plausible. I have to say
I don't think I'd be taken in
and I don't think a lot
of 20th-century scholars, or dealers,
or auctioneers would be taken in.
But the combination of that and the back
has meant that someone out there...
Someone around us, who knows?
-Has actually decided to create not just a fake,
but a fake history,
a fake exhibition history, a fake owner probably,
-and has done it quite well.
And don't worry, you are not alone.
I have to say,
I've even been taken in myself.
-So join the crowd.
Yes. It's all part of learning, isn't it?
Graham, it was interesting talking about these -
they excite a lot of interest
and it seems invidious to talk about a value for these things,
when just the fact that you've fought in a war
and gained a medal should be enough.
None of us really were quite sure what we were looking for.
Well, you know, medals are a testament
to the heroism of the recipients
and I always feel uncomfortable
about talking about values of medals,
but people are interested in them.
During the First and Second World Wars,
millions and millions of people served their country
and almost everybody was entitled to a medal.
During the First World War, for example, the British War Medal,
this silver medal -
6.5 million of these issued during the First World War,
so they were issued in huge numbers.
And the great thing about First World War medals
is that they were always named.
Gosh, so every single one of those millions were individually...?
Yes. There are lots of websites out there
that can point you in the right direction for doing the research.
So campaign medals, therefore, I assume are not that valuable.
Well, they are.
They can be, depending on what the campaigns were
and depending on what the recipient did.
And that's when we come to the Basic, Better, Best point of view.
Right. Well, I'll tell you what I suggested.
I was thinking, "Campaign medals,
"everyone will have got one, so presumably not that valuable,"
so I put Basic here.
I didn't know what to make of these.
I looked at these and interestingly, cos I read out on the news,
-time and again, about in Afghanistan or Iraq.
And maybe about someone who's winning a Victoria Cross
or a medal for bravery, and so I looked at these and thought...
I realised I'd never seen one,
but I'm assuming one of these must be a cross for valour, for bravery,
and therefore I've put these in the Best category.
Well, you're absolutely right.
Well, good, cos it doesn't happen very often!
But looking at these - let's look at them first.
This is the Basic group of three First World War medals.
These are worth somewhere in the region of £60 to £80.
Better is this group.
Now, this is also a group that shows heroism of some sort
because he's got the Military Medal
and also this means "mentioned in dispatches".
-This oak leaf,
so he must have performed many acts of bravery.
But also he served in the Second World War,
because this is the Defence Medal,
so he would have probably been too old
to serve in the Second World War,
so he took part in some way, perhaps he was a Special Constable.
And that's going to be worth somewhere in the region of £800.
-I had a vague idea, I thought, "They're crosses."
-But go on, cos I didn't really know.
-Well, this is the important medal.
This is the Military Cross, but it's even more important than that,
because do you see this bar here?
It means he was awarded it twice.
so not only did he perform some act of gallantry
to be awarded the Military Cross,
but he performed ANOTHER act of heroism,
-and so he was put up for it again.
You can't be awarded the same medal twice, of course,
so he was awarded the bar to go with it.
I think we should name him, if he was that courageous.
"Captain John Williams, 15th Battalion Welsh Regiment."
A very brave man.
And I happen to know that he was mainly responsible
for the capture of Thiepval Ridge
and Pozieres village in 1918, during the First World War,
and the capture of many German guns and over 1,000 prisoners.
And you found this out by researching his background?
-He was a very, very brave and courageous man.
And this group is going to be worth somewhere in the region of...
£4,000 or £5,000.
Gosh. Well, as I say,
it does seem slightly invidious, really, talking about the value,
when clearly to have fought with medals like this,
you have shown bravery by being on the field.
I hope it's given you some insight, if you have medals at home,
of relatives, now you have an idea of what to look for, and what value they may have,
or if you want to bring them along to a Roadshow,
have a look at our website...
You can see the locations we're coming to
and maybe you could pay us a visit.
I suppose what I expected least to see in West Wales,
is this wonderful array of Native North American beadwork.
I am actually overcome by the sort of diversity, the richness of it.
Tell me the background, why have you got it?
I inherited it from my nana,
it was my nana's Uncle Tommy who went over to British Columbia
in the early 1900s and he went there to work - he was a missionary.
-He went over to work in a school over there.
-And she inherited it down then to her,
and then obviously I inherited it then.
So working as a missionary,
-he was in contact obviously with various tribes.
-And so these are things he brought back...
-..to show how it had been.
-Yes, they gifted these items to him,
and also you can see some of them have been worn as well, by him.
Often we see things like this, but it's very rare
-that you can actually precisely time the event.
-What have you got there?
-Well, what I've got here is...
-Is that a picture?
-Yeah, that's Uncle Tommy.
So here we have this intrepid man in his fur coat.
-In the snow.
-Over there, yes, at the time.
-Do you know much about him?
Not an awful lot, no. Unfortunately, my nana's passed away, so I don't... I obviously never met him.
-So I don't know an awful lot about him as a person, no.
-And this is what?
This is a letter then, the date there, August 20th.
OK, Well, this is, yes, August 20th 1909,
now this is crucial.
-I mean obviously writing letters home.
-I won't read it all
-but I'm sure it's full of interesting facts.
-But the point to establish is,
he was miles away from everywhere, and therefore leading a very, very remote life.
Now the first thing I'm going to tell you
is obviously, by and large, these are things of that period.
And a lot of this material can go back to much earlier dates.
-The only thing that may well be earlier here are the gauntlets.
-Those could go back into the 19th century.
-Oh gosh, right, OK.
We've got typical beadwork styles.
What we've also got to acknowledge is - by now, while these are tribal pieces,
a lot of them were being made for people like him.
-We've got - in a sense - the tourist element, the visitor element.
So the famous pieces like the slippers, the gloves
and so on, the purses, the bags,
were very much tourist-minded by the makers.
-And so on that basis,
it's not that surprising that they did move out from Canada
into places like Wales.
We've got pipes - traditional cut from stone type pipes.
But the things that excite me most of all are these.
-Now why do you think those are different?
-They're incredible pieces of...
-I'm glad you say that.
They're made from a material called argillite which is a stone
that only occurs in a certain region of Western Canada.
-And they are totally the product of one tribe, the Haida tribe.
-Oh, right, OK.
-The Haidas actually sit on the world's resources of argillite.
It's slightly related to slate and when it comes out of the ground,
it's quite soft and it can be carved,
and then it becomes harder and harder and harder,
and it was used from the early 19th century
for carving things like miniature totem poles and figures that relate
to all the creatures and animals
that are significant to the tribe.
-So a piece like this is a wonderful piece of story-telling.
-All the figures are symbolic and it is this smooth stone-like material.
There's nothing like it in the world anywhere else.
This is excellent, but fairly typical,
this is just completely exceptional.
-Oh, right, OK.
-So to see that is just sort of blowing my mind out.
You're sitting on, here, a remarkable collection,
-and I have to say, quite a valuable collection.
A pair of gauntlets like that is probably £500, £600, £700.
The slippers are £200 to £400.
All the smaller pieces are £100 to £200 and sometimes more,
so you've got probably £2,000 or £3,000 worth in the beadwork.
-Come on to the argillite.
-That's going to be £1,500 - £2,000.
-Oh, my gosh.
This is going to be - it's such a fantastic piece -
it's going to be...
oh, between £2,000 and £3,000 - or even £4,000.
Oh, my gosh, I never...
So put it all together, you're getting towards £8,000 or £10,000.
-Wow, how incredible.
-So, he did you proud.
Yes, he did. And my nana, yes, for keeping all the stuff.
I've dreamed for years
to have a really great piece of argillite on the Roadshow.
-You've done it for me.
-OK, oh, thank you.
-So thank you very much.
-Oh, no problem.
'What a great end to the day for Paul. Our experts never know
'whether they're going to see collections from halfway around
'the globe or just around the corner.'
It's been wonderful here at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
From all of the Roadshow team, until next time, bye-bye.