Political heavyweights Edwina Currie and Lembit Opik use all their debating and dealing skills when they take on each other at an auction house.
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Hello and welcome to Bargain Hunt - Famous Finds,
from Ardingly in West Sussex.
Today's contestants might think they know a thing or two about
politics, but today I tell you the manifesto is entirely mine.
We're pairing up a star name with a family member or friend.
Their task will be to find three antiques or collectibles with a budget of £300.
They'll take their goods over to auction, and try to sell them for a profit there.
So, let's go and meet today's teams.
For the Red Team, or should I say Gold Team, we have Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik.
Lembit's been an MP since 1997.
Multilingual Lembit speaks fluent Estonian, German and is currently learning Welsh.
But will he be able to speak the international language of bargaining?
Welcome to Bargain Hunt.
So, Lembit, how is it wearing an orange fleece, or should I say gold?
-Gold, I prefer gold.
-So, Lembit, who have you brought along with you today?
-There was only one choice, it had to be my mother, Liivi.
-How do you do?
So what sort of things are you going to be looking out for today, Liivi?
Coming from the Baltic, Estonia, amber.
-I'm hoping I will find something.
-So why is Liivi
the best person you could bring on this programme?
Well, first of all she knows my, my obsessive hoarding quality.
Secondly she's known me for 43 years, so she knows to rein me in when I'm
going down the wrong path in trying to get a good bargain.
Because your collecting history is, shall we say, patchy?
-It's consistently poor.
-What sorts of things?
Everything from magazines to motorbike engines for one period of time.
And what's all this about harmonicas?
Harmonicas, I've played harmonicas now since 1989 when a good friend of mine gave me a harmonica and a book.
And do you have one about your person?
-I always do.
-So are you going to give us a demo then?
A tune dedicated to you, then, when I see you coming across the horizon.
HE PLAYS "WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN"
Can you tell what it is yet?
Oh, very good, a round of applause!
Thank you very much!
You realise there are millions of people applauding that performance?
-If I'd realised that I wouldn't have done it.
-So let's see who they're up against!
For the Blue Team we have a real true blue in Edwina Currie.
Edwina served as a Conservative MP from 1983 to 1997.
I've brought a pair of handcuffs.
Don't worry, I'm not going to chain myself to the rostrum.
She retired from politics to concentrate on writing and broadcasting.
Edwina, welcome to Bargain Hunt.
So, do you know your Minton from your Majolica?
I'll tell you what, I may not be able to blow a mouth organ, but I can blow my own trumpet!
That is certainly true.
-And the Blues have always been the best.
-Who have you brought to help you today?
I've brought along Mr Jones, cos I'm Mrs Jones in real life, it's my husband, this is JJ.
-Welcome to Bargain Hunt, too.
And why is JJ the very best person that you could have brought on the programme with you?
He's very knowledgeable.
He used to be a police officer, so he can tell the real from the fake just by looking at it.
What sort of things will you be looking out for today?
Well, we collect books, and I sometimes buy bits of
jewellery, and you've got your eye open for a couple of things.
Oh, yes, fishing tackle, more books, because we both love books.
Tell me a bit more about your collections.
You're grabbing a book, tell us about that.
It's a real first edition of Pickwick Papers
by Charles Dickens who I suppose is our favourite author.
There are only 14 copies of the printed complete book ever made in the proper first state, so if
you have one of those they're worth thousands.
But we love Pickwick, we love Dickens, and there it is.
So tell me, how are you going to beat the Golds today then?
Oh, I think we'll try and get one or two very nice items which will do well.
Anyway, you lot, this is the money moment.
£300, £300, you know the rules, your experts await, and off you go, and very good luck.
So, which way will this competition swing today?
To help our famous finders spend their £300 on three antiques, we're giving them an expert each.
For the Golds, it's Anita Manning.
And for the Blues, it's James Lewis.
First up, James is proving to be a real team player.
I used to have a trunk like this to go to school with.
-Nice big box, but this is a lot more practical.
It's a piece of Regency mahogany furniture, it's great.
It's a little work box, it was made around 1820, 1825.
Have a look, here we go. The lock works.
That helps. It's in a bit of a state!
-It's what we call distressed.
-Let's have a look.
-Tip it up.
That's supposed to be in the lid, isn't it?
This would have had a tray in there, but you know, we can glue that in, that's not a problem. Close it up.
-If you look here, see the way this wood's split?
It just wiggles along the grain.
All the grain is black, so with a bit of furniture polish
in there, that will tone it down nicely. That's £160, £180.
-So what do you reckon we should pay for it here?
-It's priced about 50.
If we can get it for 40 then that's great.
-Yeah. Shall I give it a go?
James did the deal for £39. Now, how are those Golds faring?
This says changeable, so maybe one day it'll stop raining.
Oh, look, what's that? Is that amber?
-Oh, yes, it's a hatpin in the shape of a golf club.
-Look what I found.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-Isn't that lovely?
-You like amber.
-I love amber, I love amber.
Now tell me why you like amber.
Amber is really the jewel of the Baltic, and this is a nice one.
Well, let's see what we've got.
It's mounted in silver, and we can see the hallmark here,
London silver, assayed 1908.
This is a girlie item, you know, but do you like it?
-Can you appreciate it?
I can appreciate amber because we've got a lot of it in the house,
but why do people collect things like this?
They do reflect an age, at a time when women wore these wonderful hats.
And it's a golf club, that is a very important element, because you'll
have people who collect golfing memorabilia. What price on this?
It's £110. I think that's a bit much.
To a collector it's not a lot, but I do think we do have to get it down
substantially if we want to make a profit.
-Work on the stallholder.
-OK, let's go and see if we can do it.
-See you later.
The Gold Team teed off with a hatpin for £80.
Back to the Blues now, who've found something they really love.
-We've found something, Maling ware.
And we've got various bits at home.
I like the sheen on them, they've got a really nice shine.
-Made in Newcastle, aren't they?
-There you go.
-A lot of houses now have cream walls and
plain furniture, so perhaps something like this sitting on a table and using it, really pretty.
-Bit of character.
I appreciate that they've got crazing, but I've never seen one without a bit of crazing.
The crazing is quite considerable in there, but the crazing is only surface cracks.
-And if we go... do you hear that?
-It's totally dead, isn't it?
That means there are internal cracks to the body.
So that concerns me slightly. Let's have a look at this one.
That's better. It's not as bad as that one.
Bit of a problem there with the internal cracks, but having said that,
-they are collectable, but how collectable? How much do they want?
-Well, they're asking 56,
we've managed to talk her down to 50 and I don't know,
-might be able to get a bit more off.
-We think they're very pretty. I love the colour on that.
You going to have a go?
-Yeah, we'll have a go.
-I think so, yeah.
-Do your best and see how we do.
-We'll try, cheers.
Edwina and John did wrap up the deal for a nifty 50.
Are the Golds really sure about this?
-That is so bad that it's wonderful.
-I love it.
-Let's have a look.
-It's kind of a combination of 1930s and 1960s.
-What do you think?
Well, it's not 1930s, it's not art deco,
-it's 1960s, and '60s items are hot just now.
-Is it? At the moment?
If we look at the design, you've got lots of chrome there which is
very fashionable just now, and we've this wonderful quartet of cloud glass shades.
I think this item is absolutely irresistible.
Somebody's going to love it and more than one person is going to love it.
-You are joking, aren't you?
-He's not the one then.
He's not the one.
-Are you seriously going to go and buy it?
-Don't you like it?
The colour there, have you seen?
Oh, yes. In political terms we'd describe this as courageous.
-Very good luck.
-You'll need it.
-Well, if Austin Powers is there we'll certainly sell it. Lots of mojo.
-It's great fun.
-What's it say for the price?
-£160, it's a bit pricey.
We've got to get it down.
-But I still believe in it and I think we've got a chance.
-Let's do it.
The light fitting became a gold member and their second buy for 140,
which leaves them £80 left for their last item.
So far, Edwina and John have spent £39 on the Georgian box
and £50 on the plates, so that leaves them £211, that's plenty.
So they should make their final buy count.
What's this little lady then?
I always try and find bronze at these fairs,
because they're often overlooked, especially if they're not signed, and this is a really lovely example.
She's very sweet. I thought at first that she was Florence Nightingale,
the lady of the lamp, but actually she's got a plait round her head.
Swiss, do you think? German, Austrian?
-I think, yeah, Heidi.
There's a wonderful centre for bronze making in Austria
around this period, around 1870 to 1890, so it could well be Austrian.
-Is this the sort of thing that you would buy then and have at home?
-Only to throw at him.
We haven't got any bronzes.
-I would like to have some art deco bronzes to be frank.
But this is very nice. How about price, then?
What would you think a bronze like that would be on the market for?
-£100, something like that.
-That's exactly what I'd have thought, but it's not, it's 75.
If I can get it down to about 50, should we?
-Definitely, don't you?
-I think so, she's very nice.
-She looks like she wants to come and live with us for a bit at least.
-We ought to give it a go.
If it doesn't sell we'll buy it in and take it home, how's that?
You're not allowed to, even if it makes a pound you've got to sell it.
-I'll have a word with him and see what I can do.
James squeezed the dealer until the pips squeaked and picked up the bronze for £49 and a measly 75p.
-How will the Golds measure up to all this?
-Look what I found.
-Ah, that looks lovely.
-What have you got?
I don't know what you think, but I love this. It's a ruler, and is that ivory?
It is ivory. In any tool we're looking for the maker's name,
and yes, there we have there J Rabone and Sons of Birmingham.
That's quite a good make. Oh, I love this.
What we have here is the name of the owner of this little ruler in 1890.
-Oh, that's what it is.
This makes it more interesting and exciting for the buyers.
-Why did you pick it up?
-Feels like quality, and it's 118 years old.
Yes, that's right.
The other great thing about it is it's just so compact.
-I don't want to auction it, I want to keep it.
-Oh, I think you've fallen in love with it.
Liivi, tell me what you think of this little item.
Well, I think it's a toy Lembit would love.
Not a toy, a precision instrument!
Well, you've fallen in love with it.
It is the kind of thing I would have, and
-I believe there must be someone out there who'd bid for this.
£68 they're asking, don't know if that's good.
If you can get it below 50, it would be wonderful.
-Quite a feat if I can.
-Let's get the measure of it!
Oh(!) I'll see you later.
They wouldn't have been allowed to buy any ivory item made post-1947,
but being made in 1890 makes Lembit's ruler a legitimate commercial item.
Now, let's have a reminder of how the Golds got on.
And first up it was Liivi's choice, an amber and silver hatpin at £80.
Next was the 1960s art deco chrome light fitting for £140,
and finally Lembit spotted this 19th-century ivory ruler, £55.
Today's been a riot. I've learned about antiques fairs, I've learned about bargain hunting,
and I've learned about the hope of buying extraordinary things and praying that they're going to do well
at the auction stage, and we'll wait and see.
So let's remind ourselves what the Blues bought.
Well, fingers crossed for their first piece,
the Regency mahogany work box at £39.
Next, Edwina and John just loved their Maling boat-shaped
lustre dishes at £50, but will the saleroom?
And last up was their 19th-century bronze lady for £49.75. Ha!
My hope is that the people who buy the pieces that we bought today will
get as much pleasure out of using them and having them in their homes as we've had in buying them.
The teams' buys are ready and waiting to go under the gavel, but just how will they do?
Are we all done?
But first, let's see how valuer Daniel Webster
at Criterion Auctioneers in Islington rates out items.
Now let's run through Lembit and Liivi's objects.
First of all is the ivory ruler.
A nice thing, it'll appeal to collectors and
-should do quite well I think, Tim.
-What's your estimate?
-40 to 60.
-OK, £55 paid, so that's a bit tight, isn't it?
-But you never know.
-Might get a couple of people on that one.
The next item, Liivi loved this hatpin, but do you think it's a good hatpin as an object?
Unfortunately, the actual head of the club is made from amber glass as opposed to amber.
-It's glass rather than amber?
-Liivi will be disappointed!
OK, fine, what's your estimate?
50 to 80 on that one because it's something that's going to appeal to the collectors' market.
-We need it to get to the upper estimate because they paid £80.
And what about this creation beside me, the chromium plated and glass light fitting?
I suppose of its type it's a good example, if you like that sort of thing, sort of 1960s, '70s.
-What do you think it's worth, Daniel?
-80 to 120.
Lord. They paid £140.
I think whatever happens they're going to need their bonus buy, so let's go and have a look at it.
So, Lembit and Liivi, you gave £25 worth of leftover lolly to Anita.
Let us see what she bought for the bonus buy.
Lembit loves broken old engines, so I bought him a broken old engine!
-It's great fun, it's Japanese,
it's in the latter part of the 20th century, made by Modern Toys.
Now Modern Toys used to be the Masudaya, which was one of the oldest toy companies in Japan.
I do love it, it actually reminds me of my childhood days,
we had these great tin toys, which do get battered but they survive.
-How much did you pay for it?
-I paid £10.
Do you think it'll make a profit?
-I think it will steam along quite nicely...
-Do the wheels work?
-..to a small profit.
-Enough of these puns, Anita, thank you very much.
Let's find out what the auction valuer thinks about Anita's train.
So, Daniel, the big question is, has the train left the station? Is it any good, this thing?
It's a bit of fun, isn't it, Tim?
Do you think it dates from what, sort of 1980, or something like that? It's quite late a thing.
-It is, yes, sort of '70s, '80s.
-What do you think it's worth then?
-40 to 60.
-Clever old Anita, she only paid £10 for it.
-She's done well.
-So she should get a profit on that.
If the team decide to go with the bonus buy.
Anyway. Now for the Blues. James went with this mahogany work box.
-What do you think?
-It's a nice example from the Regency period.
Unfortunately there is some damage on the top where the timber's shrunk.
So what's your estimate on it in its slightly tatty state?
In its restoration state 30 to 50.
Well, that's not too bad, cos James took them down the path there at £39, so he's in the frame.
He is, yeah, and I think that will do well.
The next item is the bronze figure, and she's rather handsome, isn't she?
It is, good solid bronze, late Victorian, and I think that should do quite well.
-So what do you think it's worth?
-Got 60 to 100 on it.
Have you? This is looking good, isn't it?
£49.75 they paid.
Oh, there's a profit there.
Well, there we go. And then finally, the pair of Maling dishes.
Is there a collectors' market in London for these?
They appeal to the art deco collectors. Not over-popular at the moment, I must say.
Do you think they might be worth £20 to £30?
-Yeah, it's difficult, isn't it?
-So maybe £20 to £30 then.
I have to tell you they did pay 50, in which case we'd better go and have a look at their bonus buy.
Edwina and JJ, you gave James £161.25 of your leftover lolly. What did he spend it on?
-There we go.
-It is, you wanted a piece of Derby.
-Didn't let you down. What do you think?
-What was it you taught us to do? You taught us to go like this.
-Steady. Oh, it rang!
-Nice, really nice, that's whole.
That means it's not cracked inside, it's in perfect condition.
No, it's about 1880, 1890.
I spent £105.
And what do you think it's worth?
-Well, what do you think that one's worth?
Well, if one's worth that that's good news, because I've got five for 105.
-What?! You're joking!
-So that has got to be a bargain, hasn't it?
-I hunted well.
-I think they're about 30 to 40 pounds a plate.
-So hold that thought.
But for viewers at home, let's find out what the auctioneer valuer thinks about them.
So Daniel, look at this, a nice little group of Derby plates.
How are you for collectors here in Islington of this Crown Derby stuff?
-We do get people that come in and always buy this.
-We shall see.
-We shall see.
-What's your estimate?
-We've got 80 to 120 on these.
Well, James paid £105 and he really rates them.
So, Daniel, are you taking the sale later then?
Not tonight, it's my colleague Peter Ball.
So we won't see you later.
-But thank you very much, Daniel, and it'll be exciting to see what happens in the auction.
So, Gold Team, how are you feeling, all right?
-Are you nervous?
I wasn't before, but now I see it all happening, we're nearly there...
But you're a House of Commons man, this has got to be a piece of, of, of...
-It's fun, yes, cake.
The House of Commons is nothing to do with putting your
entire antique reputation on the line in front of millions.
Absolutely. What about you, Liivi?
-Nervous as well.
-You're feeling nervous.
I don't think you've got anything to feel nervous about. First lot up is your ivory ruler.
The 19th-century ivory ruler there,
and I have got £30 here on behalf of the commission, bid here at £30.
35, 40, 5, 50 the lady...
-Yeah, come on!
At £60 that's the lady's bid,
at 60 it's bid with the lady at 60 and selling.
-You're in profit!
-Are we all done?
That's great, £60. Plus £5.
-Steady, here comes the hatpin.
Hallmarked silver hatpin, amber glass in a
golf club form, I've got again a £30 commission bid here.
-35, 40, 5, 50, 5, there at £55, any more?
-£55 there, are we all done? 60.
60 over there now, and 60's bid, are we all done at £60? And going, £60.
Bad luck, Liivi, that's minus £20, darling. Overall you are minus 15.
-Not too bad.
-Now, the light fitting.
1960s chrome four light chandelier, and I've got again 85 bid here.
At 85, 90, 5, 100, 10,
-120, 130, 140, 150.
160, 170. £170 here,
are we done? £170 and going.
-Go team, £170.
-I knew it, I knew it.
You've got £30 on that, which is a very happy breakdown,
this is, isn't it? This is better than politics!
Anyway, so plus £30 on that, you're now plus £15.
You have £15 in the bank.
Just shows what I know about 1960s light fittings.
-Listen to me.
-Will do, Lembit.
What are you going to do, are you going to go with the tin train?
I mean you've got £15 in the bank, if it sells for nothing or for a pound or two you'll
lose money on it, but do you think it's going to make profit?
-I like it.
-You like it.
-And she only paid a tenner for it.
-Let's risk it.
Well, yes, I mean as experts now...
-..we accept your guidance.
-Let's do it.
OK, we're going with the bonus buy.
A tin plate toy locomotive, Fireball Express.
20 I've got for the commission.
£30 here, 35, 40. No?
40 to the commission, selling at £40.
-Look at that.
-Yes, yes, yes!
Selling at 30.
Well, that's amazing, isn't it?
-What a team.
-A profit of £30, well done, Anita.
So overall then you are plus £45, all right?
What you must do now, OK, Golds, is don't say anything to the Blues,
all right, zip, all right, nothing.
Look miserable when you go past them, look absolutely miserable.
You've just lost a vote in the House and it's a disaster, all right?
I don't even mind doing that at the moment.
£50, 50, 5, 60.
Great result for the Golds, now it's time for the Blues.
It's a bargain.
So do you know how the Gold Team got on?
No idea at all.
Have you got any regrets, are you feeling confident?
Tell me what your plan is.
Well, it's bit late to have plans actually, Tim, but the way we're feeling at the moment, there's
-more people in here than there were earlier.
I'm hoping people have seen our lots,
at home and waiting on the phone and internet, and going to bid like
mad for all of our three items and we're going to make a lot of money.
First up is the Regency box, and here it comes.
The Regency mahogany work box,
inlaid detail, and I've got a bid at £50.
Anybody else? 52, 55, 58,
58 down here, any more, 58, at £58 and going, are we all done at 58?
-What about that?
-That is plus £19.
Shh, here comes the next one.
Bronze figure, the water carrier, and again I've got £50 bid here,
at £50, 55, 60, 5...
We're in already.
70. £70, 75, 80 here.
Here still, £80, are we done?
-We've done well.
-That's £30.25, ha!
-Pair of Maling ware boat shaped dishes, 25?
25. 28, 30,
-32, 35, 38, 40...
42, 45, 48.
At £48 it's in the room, at £48 it's going, are we all done at £48?
£48, just shy of a profit on every lot, but you are plus £47.25.
-That must be a world record.
-It's a miracle, that is an absolute miracle, well done.
-James, well done.
-£47.25. Now what are you going to do, then?
You've got £105 on the line here with the Crown Derby.
You're £47.25 up, that could be a winning score, all right, you could
have beaten the Golds at that, but what are you going to do?
Are you going to go with him or not?
-He was right about the box, wasn't he?
-Look into my eyes.
-We want to sell the plates.
-We want to sell the plates.
-For James's sake.
-For James. There you go.
We're going with the bonus buy.
The Crown Derby porcelain cabinet plates, a good good lot there, again
a bid of 55, but I'm going to go 60 here, for 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90...
95 there, at 95, 100, and 10, 120...
Well done, James.
-£140 for the cabinet plates, £140, are we all done? 140.
-That is the business, that is plus £35, I love it.
-Give the man a kiss.
That is 70, that is £82.25 isn't it?
£82.25p, most awkward maths I've had to do in years.
£82.25, that is superb, how about that?
Look at her face, it's pure joy, isn't it? Isn't that lovely to see?
Right then, £82.25, now, don't say a word to the Golds, all right?
-I will reveal all in a minute.
Fantastic profits. The teams' chosen charities will be pleased.
That's £45 to the Motor Neurone Disease Association from Lembit and Liivi,
and £82.25 for Marie Curie Cancer Care from Edwina and John.
Well, how exciting is this? Famous Finds is setting a standard here, cos both teams have made profits.
I mean, how often does that happen?
That's an achievement in your own right. It's just a question of scale really, and I'm afraid to tell you
that the Gold Team has actually made less profit than the Blue Team.
But it's not half bad, I have to tell you.
You guys made a profit of £45, OK?
-Very laudable. Here is the £45.
You made profits on three of your four items, you went with your bonus buy, but you've been a great team.
-Lembit, have you enjoyed it?
-Absolutely loved it.
-Thoroughly wholesome experience!
-And I'll be back for more, probably.
Well, you'd be most welcome.
-But the victors are Edwina and JJ, congratulations.
-£82.25, a particularly difficult amount of money.
-Where's the 25?
-Hang on a minute, hang on a minute, Edwina, here's your £2.25.
Brilliant. You made profits on nearly everything, just those Maling dishes let you down.
Overall then £82.25. Are you pleased with that, JJ?
-Absolutely thrilled to pieces.
-What about you, Edwina?
I'm very, very pleased, and I have to confess now that I wasn't really expecting to do as well as that.
It shows it's all in the luck of the auction.
-You've been great teams. Join us soon for some more bargain hunting, yes?
For more information about Bargain Hunt, including how the programme was made, visit the website at bbc.co.uk
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Political heavyweights Edwina Currie and Lembit Opik use all their debating, deliberating, and dealing skills when they take each other on at an auction house.
Edwina, a former Tory MP, is helped in her search for bargains by her husband John Jones, while former Lib Dem frontbencher Lembit is partnered by his mother Liivi. They find their items at an antiques fair in Ardingly, with the help of antiques experts James Lewis and Anita Manning.
Edwina and John's items include a mahogany work box while Lembit and Liivi's items include a silver and amber hat pin and a chrome light fitting.
They are joined at the fair by presenter Tim Wonnacott, a former director of Sothebys, who takes time out to discuss antiques with the teams.