Series looking at the value of household junk. Caroline auctions off old possessions in preparation for her daughter's upcoming move to Australia.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic,
the show that finds your hidden treasures and helps sell them at auction.
Welcome, too, to Sidmouth in Devon.
This beautiful beach front forms part of the Jurassic Coast,
England's first natural World Heritage Site.
And hidden in 95 miles of cliffs
are 185 million years of the Earth's history.
But the discovery of many of these fossils owes a lot to one woman.
Mary Anning was born in 1799, just down the coast at Lyme Regis.
At a time when women were supposed to stay home,
Mary emerged as a pioneer of the new science of paleontolgy.
Mary's finds were donated to the Natural History Museum in London,
on display to this day.
Let's hope we can carry on her work and unearth some treasures
of our own as we go in search of items to go under the hammer.
'Coming up on today's Cash In The Attic:
'could this be my toughest assignment yet?'
James?! Are you taking time out or working?
That's what I want to know.
'Will the corks be popping even before we know our grand total?'
I heard I was here because of something to do with wine,
and I thought you might be doing a bit of wine tasting.
'Come auction time, have we set our reserve prices too high?'
I hope there are people who are going to break open their own piggy banks to buy this.
Find out what happens when today's collectibles go under the hammer.
I've come just down the road to the village of Newton Poppleford.
Isn't that a lovely name?
I'm here to meet two ladies looking to make a big change in their lives.
After living in Greece, Caroline and her daughter, Jenny,
moved back to England about 13 years ago.
29-year-old Jenny now wants to spread her wings
and not only follow in her mother's travelling footsteps,
but become an expert in some of the finer things in life.
Jennie, morning to you. How are you?
You look as if I'm late. I'm not, am I?
We've got a lot to do today.
It's something to do with wine.
-Ooh, you can count me in!
-Let's go and find out.
-I heard I was here because of something to do with wine,
and thought you might be wine tasting, but just my luck, you're not.
It's a bit early, I suppose. So, I know it's about wine, but why are we here?
I decided to relocate to my parental home in Devon.
I quit my job in London and I had quite a lot of stuff with me,
so Mum decided if I could clear out the attic,
anything I found I could keep.
What a brilliant idea! Wow!
-I decided whatever money I could raise, I would buy myself an air ticket to Australia.
Yes, because I'd like to do some wine tasting out there
and find out more about wine marketing.
So a big passion about wine, yeah?
It's certainly something I could see myself learning to love.
Well, I think that's a very good idea!
-I think so too.
-A girl after my own heart.
So, much money do you think you'll need for the air ticket?
Air flights are pretty expensive.
I hope around 800.
£800? Have you got enough stuff up in the attic?
I hope so, yeah.
I hope so, too.
We better get cracking. Show me round the house.
Sounds as if there could be some exciting times ahead for Jenny,
with that unusual career choice.
So we'd better get on with the task in hand and raise lots of money
because she'd also like to take her mother on a wine-tasting course.
Our expert, James, seems to have found plenty to savour in his first find of the day.
-James! We have come to see what you're up to.
-Look what I've found.
Caroline, where did it come from?
That was a wedding gift when I used to live in Greece.
It's very ornate, I must say.
It's not English. It's certainly a continental, either French or Italian - piece.
I'm just having a look and I can't see...
It doesn't have so much as a hallmark as it's just stamped "925"
and that's the percentage silver.
In other words, it's 92.5% silver,
which, funnily enough, is the same grade as the English silver.
So it's the real thing. Ironically, quite often,
without hallmarks you're not allowed to call it silver.
Trade descriptions, we've got to be careful of that.
Quite fancy, very much of its time, late Victorian era,
when things were slightly over the top decoration-wise.
Yes, it would have stood in the middle of a dining room table,
with sweet bread, sweet meats, bon bons, in the middle.
-I've also found two more.
Look! Three for the price of one!
Ewers. I will call them ewers.
I don't think you'd want to pour anything out of these,
they are more decorative, purely for display.
Again, "925", continental silver.
But they're what we called "loaded",
which means that the bottoms
are filled with usually plaster or a bitumen tar
to make them appear heavier, in other words more valuable.
But also, to be practical, it stops them falling over.
What do we think value wise?
I certainly think we'd hopefully be north of 100 quid, so let's say £120-£180.
-120? What do you think of that?
For something in the attic, it's a good start.
Oh, yeah, definitely!
Very impressive! Well done!
-Good for you.
-Let's find some more.
Come on. Where shall we go next?
This Mediterranean silverware will be a rare sighting at auction
and could sell very well.
We're searching every inch of Caroline and Jenny's house to seek out those prize gems.
While I'm in the bedroom, downstairs the saints go marching in.
Caroline, with your Greek connections
I'm not surprised you've shown me something like this.
Where did it come from?
It came from Greece. My husband gave it to my father as a gift.
It's an icon. They came in lots of different materials.
Some of them, like this, are painted on wooden panels,
some have silver mounts, called rizas,
and if you imagine, in those days
very few people actually read or wrote, so a visual image
was hugely important in terms of nurturing their faith.
This one, believe it or not, and here's the irony,
it may have come to you from Greece,
but it's actually of St Minas, and I can see the writing here in Greek,
who's actually from Egypt.
Now, value on this, I think my feeling, looking at it,
is it's probably something that's been made in the last 100 years.
And it's been made maybe to make it look slightly older than it really is.
One way I can tell that is by looking at the back,
because so often these are made on wooden panels,
and this is very regular, very new looking.
It's been cut not with a sort of adze or a band saw, it's been cut
using a mechanical saw, so that gives us some idea of trying to date it.
Whereas the style is much earlier.
I'm going to stick my neck out a little bit
and say that I think it should fetch between £250-£350.
-You'd be happy at that sort of figure?
-That would be wonderful.
Great. Let's just hope at the auction there are going to be lots of serious icon collectors.
I want to see what else you've got hidden away, maybe up in the attic. Let's get up there!
I hope that people appreciate icons in this country,
and that it goes to a good home.
If this really is a modern replica,
an estimate up to £350 seems pretty impressive.
As we continue our rummage, James comes across Caroline's collection
of dusty green-and-white Wedgewood, which could fetch between £30-£50.
Another boost to our funds is this intricately-patterned rug,
passed down through the family and in fantastic condition.
James values it at £40-£70.
Caroline and Jenny have been living here for ten years,
and, over a glass of wine, I finally get the chance
to hear more about Jenny's forthcoming trip down under.
So you've been working for a news agency for a few years now,
and this is a bit of a crossroads in your life because the future, it seems, is wine, eh?!
Yeah, I've decided I'd like to diversify career towards the wine sector.
What brought this on?
A passion and interest for wine, combined with the fact
that I speak a couple of languages and have an interest in marketing.
I figured I should go to Australia and try my luck there!
I'd be distraught if my little girl said that she wanted to the other side of the world to live.
How do you feel about it?
Well, I feel that you raise children to be independent,
and Australia seems to be where her destiny is, so go for it.
Of course, you've got quite a sense of adventure because you lived in Greece for a long time.
-Almost 20 years, yeah.
-Your husband was Greek.
-Yes, he was.
He was an orthopaedic surgeon.
Sadly, you were widowed at quite a young age, but you carried on living in Greece.
I had a business over there,
and I wanted my daughter to grow up with some culture and
the independence of running around on the beach and things like that.
A little bird told me that the real reason
you're going to Australia - you're very tall, aren't you, five foot 11?
-There's lots of big, hunky men there. Is this true?!
You could say I've developed a fetish for the Aussie accent!
Well, good for you! I will say cheers to your future.
-And we've got to carry on hunting. Come on, off we go.
So we'd better make sure Jenny's dream comes true and raise that money for her flight to Australia.
And if there's any left over, she and her mum can have a wonderful day's wine tasting.
Caroline is keeping us all on our toes
and has found a man's Omega watch,
which could bring in anything between £60 and £100.
Another find which will be heading to auction
is this collection of classic books, including works by Victor Hugo.
They once belonged to Jenny's grandmother, and James values them at between £60 and £80.
There's still a lot of work to do if we're to get anywhere near our
target of £800, so I track down our expert to see what he's up to.
-James?! Are you taking time out, or our you working?!
-No, I'm working!
What have we got here? We have got some plates,
with Scotland and England's favourite literary heroes.
We've got wee Robbie Burns on this one, for Scotland,
and old William Shakespeare, for England, on this one.
But what really interests me is what's on the back,
because written here is "The Rowland & Marsellus Co,
These were made in England,
but in fact Rowland & Marsellus were retailers over in New York.
They retailed a lot of Staffordshire round the rest of the States.
So what would you want as a souvenir of little old England
but Robbie Burns, for Scotland, and William Shakespeare.
It's like a bit of the old country.
They have suffered slightly, these plates, because if you look here
you'll see there's the odd chip, but also what we call this stained craqueleur.
It's where the glaze has cracked and dirt, over the years, has got in.
You can sort that out quite easily by putting it in one of those very mild clothes-washing detergents.
-Value-wise, certainly £20-£30, something like that.
-Gosh, that's nice.
OK! Upwards and onwards. Not there yet. Come on, let's find some more.
I was surprised to hear that they had such a connection with the States.
I'm not terribly impressed with the price, but then something's better than nothing.
Sometimes the smallest of finds can work wonders at auction, and these delicate gold charms,
beautifully crafted in the shape of a well and a church, could bring in up to £60.
In the garage, Jenny pulls out one of the top potential money makers of the day,
this limited edition Wade pig, which could be worth as much as £425.
As the rummage draws to a close, we all gather to muse over the last find of the day.
Look at this! It's a case of all that glitters IS gold!
You've actually got two really quite specialised coins here.
The first one I'm looking at here is a 100-corona piece.
It's actually Austrian. You can see on it "100 corona"
and the Austrian coat of arms, dated 1915.
And we've got the emperor Franz Josef on the back, and it's dated 1915.
Funnily enough, the other coin is also dated 1915,
it's also Austrian, but in this case it's a four-ducat piece.
-To make it really confusing that is not when it was made.
They were made as commemorative coins.
Franz Josef I think died in about 1916, and they minted these between
1920 and 1936, where they produced half a million of those.
-And they all had the same date?
-They all have the same date.
All you can be certain of, if it's a 100-corona piece
-or a four-ducat piece, it doesn't date to 1915.
You've also got two half sovereigns here.
One of them is rarer than the other.
It's got the "SA" stamp on it, which is South Africa.
So, there is actually quite a lot of money involved in these.
I'm not a coin specialist, but I think something like this
-at the moment is probably going to be getting on for £500.
And maybe the four-ducat piece, maybe 200,
maybe 120 for the South Africa half sovereign, £60 for the other one.
As I say, I'm not an expert, but I do think we've got to maybe consider
going on a more specialist route,
and I'm not convinced that going to an auction house that deals in
-everything from pictures to furniture and whatever is the best place.
-You need a specialist?
We need a specialist, yeah.
Are these something you would consider at least putting in the auction?
Um...yeah, I might do. I think I'll have to think about it though.
-Do you agree?
That makes things very interesting.
If we include the gold sovereigns,
the total we've raised today comes to £1,885,
and even if the girls decide not to sell them,
their other collectibles still add up to a very impressive £1,005,
comfortably over their target.
All we've got to do now is keep our fingers crossed and, of course,
pack everything ready for the auction. Are you good at packing?
Pretty good, thank you.
-Had a lot of practice.
-Well done, thanks.
It's been fascinating dipping into Caroline and Jenny's lives,
and we've found some extraordinary pieces to take to auction.
Here are some of the most interesting.
The gleaming silver ewers and ornately decorated silver plate,
which could bring in between £120 and £180.
Valued between £20 and £30 are the wonderful blue plates,
depicting literary legends Robbie Burns and William Shakespeare.
The Greek icon of St Minas,
given to Caroline's father as a wedding present,
could fetch a whopping £350.
Last but definitely not least are the four magnificent gold coins,
but we've got a bit of a wait on our hands
to find out whether Caroline decides to part with them.
Still to come on Cash In The Attic...
at auction, our James is given a run for his money.
You know, you're a bit of an expert, I think.
But not everything is plain sailing.
It was worth a try, and it didn't come off.
Find out how our mother and daughter team do when the final hammer falls.
Everyone's been really busy in the past couple of weeks
and we've brought all Caroline and Jenny's collectibles from Devon
here to Charterhouse Auction Rooms at Sherborne in Dorset.
Remember, they want £800 so Jenny can start a new career,
and maybe a new life in Australia, so fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly in today's sale.
Now, this is a general auction, which means we're up against a wide variety of goods.
But it's Caroline and Jenny's items that we're interested in.
-Good morning, ladies.
-How are you feeling?
We're quite excited about today, the auction.
Of course, the thing with auctions, it's always swings and roundabouts.
So you might have a disappointment on one lot, then the next lot,
two people want it and, wey-hey, off it goes.
What we really want to know is, have you brought your star item, the gold coins?
Yes, we did, but I have been thinking about it
and I think we want to follow James's advice, with the price of gold coming in,
and take them to a coin dealer.
OK, that puts the pressure on the rest of the things to do really well!
It looks like a buzzing saleroom, so everything could just fly out, couldn't it?
We may be able to get you to Australia. I want to!
-I think it's about to start. Let's go and see.
Caroline's also decided to put reserves on more valuable items,
so we could be in for a dramatic day.
Don't forget, if you're buying or selling, auction houses will charge commission, VAT
and other possible fees, so always check first with your local saleroom.
With the bidding already under way, we take our places as our first lot is shown.
Right, it's those lovely plates now, your Shakespeare and your Robbie Burns plates.
Got a quote for it, have you?
Not at the moment. I'm just hoping it's not going to be, "Oh, woe is me, they never sold!"
-To be or not to be, that's the question! 20?
-£20-30 is not a lot,
-and just great things to hang on the wall. So let's see how we get on.
-I like them.
Straight in at £10 for these. 10, 15, 20.
Against you at the back at 20. Selling at 20.
-OK. We got a tenner apiece. It's all right.
-Got into the estimate.
-Nice bottle of wine.
Bang on estimate - a perfect start to the day.
But if we're going to fund a plane ticket and a day's wine-tasting,
we need all our other lots to do just as well, if not better.
Lot 349, assorted volumes, including Victor Hugo here.
You're selling your grandmother's books.
She'd be very happy that I'm going to try living in a new country.
She moved to France to study medicine at the Sorbonne.
Yeah, she was quite a pioneer,
-and you're going to be a pioneer in the wine field?
-One can only hope.
Or in the vineyards! How much do we want for these?
What have we got? Estimate is £60-80 on six volumes of Victor Hugo.
OK, we're in business.
I'm straight in at £20. I have now at 20.
20, 5, 30, 5, 40, 5, 50, 5, 60. At £60. Against you, sir, at £60.
Commission bid. Selling at 60.
-£60. It's gone.
-That's all right.
That's another spot-on sale, and it's au revoir to Victor Hugo.
Can we make it three in a row with Caroline's collection of Wedgwood pieces?
Standing right there, selling away at 30, away at 30...
-You're bang-on every time!
It'd be nice to be towards the upper end of the estimate! It's selling.
Indeed it is, and we've already made over £100 with our first three items.
So far, so good, and our next lot to go before the room has a much higher price tag.
Lot 450A is an extra lot - silver-covered metal bowl with two similar ewers here.
Lot 450A, I'm selling.
I know the girls were impressed by James's valuation,
and we might see a reserve on this lovely silverware.
Not your standard English silver.
Definitely very European.
Let's just hope that there are some people here that will appreciate it.
So I think we've got a reserve of 125,
-but that is for three bits.
-Fair reserve, yeah?
-Let's just see.
£100 and away. 50 bid. Thank you.
50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100,
110, 120, 130. At £130, the commission bid.
At £130, the commission bid. At £130, selling at 130...
You were right - the reserve was... You're a bit of an expert, I think.
It's all going to plan.
They've every reason to be pleased.
And when the patterned rug that Jenny found in the garage goes under the hammer...
Away, selling at 50. £50 is 537.
..it sells for £10 over estimate, and our winning streak continues.
So far today, buyers are paying top prices for our pieces,
but you never know what'll happen next, and we've got a long way to go to meet our target of £800.
-Lot 700A is the gentleman's Omega stainless-steel De Ville quartz wristwatch.
-What do we want for it?
I think we're looking for upwards of £60, or thereabouts.
-Here we go.
Straight in here at £20.
-I have now at 20.
-We want to do a bit better than that!
30, 5, 40, 5, 50, 5, 60. Against you at £60.
I'll take a fiver where. At £60.
Selling away at 60...at 60...
-I think that's where we wanted to be, isn't it?
-Happy with that? Obviously.
Yes, it won't set the world on fire, but it does the job, doesn't it?
It's exactly what James said it would fetch.
He's right on the money today, and the watch is yet another item to sell exactly on estimate.
Will the delicate gold charms continue our run of good luck?
At £50, the two charms go, selling away at £50, selling at 50...
-That's a result!
And who can argue with them?
The little charms keep up our unbroken run of success.
So far today, every lot has sold on or above estimate,
but we need the remainder to do just as well if Caroline and Jenny are to go wine-tasting.
The girls are looking confident, but I'm a bit worried about our next item,
of which only 5,000 were made - the 1998 Wade pig.
We have a massive reserve on ours.
Reserve - £375.
I hope there are some people here who'll break open their own piggy banks to buy this.
-Couple of hundred pound for Cousin Wesley here.
Couple of hundred pounds. Two. £100. I shall pass it on then.
-It was worth a try and it didn't come off.
-Are you happy with your decision?
What a shame! That would have made a huge difference to our total,
but this little pig is going back home.
The unsold pig and Caroline's decision not to sell the sovereigns is going to make it
very hard to hit our target of £800, despite our other excellent sales.
We still have one item left, but Caroline has put a reserve on this one, too,
so let's hope it'll provide the miracle we need.
Next up, we've got the icon of St Minas, our favourite Egyptian saint.
So let's hope we've got some sainted people here in the audience.
-Have you got a reserve?
-Yes, we do.
-What is it?
We've got £250 for this, I think.
Will it make it, do you think?
We can just keep our fingers crossed, can't we?
Quite right, yes. Optimism.
It's the only way forward.
And I'm straight in at £200. Any bid now? 220. At 220 now.
240 on the phone. 260.
260. The phone bid is out. It's a seated bid at £260, seated on the aisle at 260.
-Selling, going away at 260, against the phone at 260. 260...
-Very good. Are you happy with that?
That was excellent, because they had someone in the room bidding on it
and they had someone bidding on the telephone, so you should be very pleased about it. It's great.
I was worried the reserve might prove too much,
but it's a great final result, selling £10 over estimate.
So will we be raising a glass to our grand total?
There we are, finished, over, done.
Well, we were a bit worried this morning, because you put some pretty hefty reserves on several items,
but you were proved right in almost all the cases, wasn't she? It was just the pig that didn't sell.
It's the pig that's made the difference in whether you made your target or not.
You were looking for £800 to help you on your way to Australia.
You haven't made £800, but you haven't done badly.
-No. You have made £660.
-Well, I think 660 is enough to get you to Australia.
It probably will, but I'd like to take Mum for some wine-tasting first.
Well, I wish you lots of luck. It's been a joy to work with you.
I hope that, if you do do that wine course, you might bring us a bottle back when you come home!
-I'll try to.
With the money raised on their busy day at auction,
Jenny and Caroline have headed off to sharpen their palates at this vineyard near Totnes in Devon.
I've decided to bring Mum here to have a little nosy really and look round a couple of vineyards,
so she can get an idea of what I'll be up to in Australia.
Thanks to the happy marriage of soil and climate, there are plenty of different wines to taste here.
I'm Laura and I'll take you through your tasting. We start off with the new release,
which is the first of 2007's wine.
In fact, the only wine that we've got so far from the 2007 vintage.
So I'll let you try that one first.
These wines make quite a change from the Chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons of the New World,
and Caroline and Jenny certainly seem to be enjoying themselves.
Oh, yeah, that's mellow, isn't it? Hmm.
Let's wish Jenny all the luck in the world with her new career.
-Thanks so much for this. It's been really good.
-Great meeting you.
Well, it was a little bit touch and go there, but Jenny is off to Australia, and we wish her well.
If you'd like to raise some money for an adventure
and you might have some antiques lying around the house, why not apply to come on the show?
Just fill out the form that you can find on our website...
Good luck. See you next time on Cash In The Attic.
For more information on Cash In The Attic,
including how the programme was made,
please visit our website at bbc.co.uk/lifestyle.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Series looking at the value of household junk. Caroline is preparing for her daughter to leave home and start a new life and career down under. Mother and daughter search high and low for antiques in their Devon home, whilst trying to deal with the emotional wrench of embarking on a new life apart.