Series looking at the value of household junk. Liz Downes loves spending time with her grandchildren, and tries to raise enough money to take them to Tenerife.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the show that helps you
find hidden treasure in your home and then sells it for you at auction.
Today, I'm in Walsall, just north of Birmingham.
I've come to the Arboretum in the town centre.
This beautiful park was built on land owned by the prominent Reynolds family
and, in the mid-18th century, it was used for limestone quarrying.
But, by the 1830s, the mines were no longer cost-effective and they were closed down.
The pits were flooded and given over to fishing, boating and skating in the winter months.
Nowadays, the park is used for art installations and it's been designated a conservation area.
And let's hope we find some things worth conserving today,
as we begin our hunt for auction-worthy antiques.
Coming up on today's Cash In The Attic,
we find some collectables that rub us up the wrong way.
I think he's horrible.
Not pretty, is he?
While others, we just can't resist.
-Look at that! It is amazing, isn't it?
-Such a red!
But, at auction, will the bidders throw us a lifeline?
Fingers crossed, cos this is your holiday - in one item.
Find out when the hammer falls.
I've come just around the corner
from the Arboretum to meet a lady who wants to raise some money
and get her and her family away from it all.
Anne Downes has led a fascinating life.
She's a very widely travelled lady who, over the years,
has had a number of interesting jobs, including five years as a bobby on the beat.
But, these days, she's concentrating on her lovely grandchildren, Danielle and Charlotte.
-Paulie-Paul! How are you?
-How are you, mate?
Good. It's a bit chilly and damp.
It's great. Positive thinking. It's lovely! See what we can find.
'Oh, bless him! Let's hope Paul's upbeat attitude is infectious.'
-Oh, good morning.
-How are you?
-Fine, thank you.
-What are you looking at?
-Just a few family photographs.
Ah. That's you with a Kalashnikov.
Yes - dangerous lady, yeah!
What made you call in Cash In The Attic?
I'm downsizing to a smaller property and I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years
and I think I'd like to get rid of it.
-And you might make use of the money. What will you do with it?
-We'd love a holiday.
A holiday. Where would you like to go on holiday?
I'd quite like to go to Spain.
-Probably Majorca or somewhere in the Canaries.
-The Canaries, warmer. Yes. Is that where you're thinking?
-I think so.
And how many will go?
My two granddaughters and Alex, my grandson.
Oh, all the grandchildren get a holiday.
Yeah. We leave the mums at home.
We just go, don't we?
So how much is it gonna set you back?
I don't know - about £1,000.
-So is that what we're looking for?
£1,000 for a holiday - that's a tall order, but I'm sure we'll find it in this lovely house.
Let's start looking.
As we look around, it strikes me what a generous woman Anne is,
not only taking the kids off their parents' hands but jetting them off somewhere warm.
We could all do with a granny like Anne!
But we do have the lovely Paul.
Let's hope he's in a generous mood.
-Here you are, Paul.
-What's this you've found? This is gigantic!
-You couldn't help but miss it, could you?
Isn't that amazing? This is Cappa de Monte.
It's a very famous Italian factory. It went very much out of fashion
in the last 10 or 20 years, but they've come back in recently.
The way they produced their items was a biscuit porcelain.
The idea is that, if you have a cup of tea or any other ceramic item,
normally it has a protective surface. This one doesn't. It's almost like a raw clay.
It gives this great character and great definition, so you've got eyebrows,
you've got a great beard going on here,
you've got details on the fruit and flowers.
-Where does it come from, Anne?
-It was my mother-in-law's. She actually had it from Italy as a present.
It was in the family for ages.
Surely you want to keep this for your grandchildren?
-I think he's horrible.
-Not very pretty, is he?
-You think it's horrible, too?
-What a shame!
-I'd probably agree
-that it's not super-fashionable.
-But you say it's back in fashion?
-It's having a comeback.
-To the tune of how many pounds?
I think a nice decorative piece like that,
at least 30 to £50. Does that sound all right?
-Could you let it go for that?
Everyone's like, "Yeah, it's going!"
-£30 is a good start, but we need £1,000 today.
So we'd better get our searching hats on. He's got one, so he can come.
I think our first valuation of just £30 has given Danielle and Charlotte a bit of a wake-up call.
If they're going to enjoy the Mediterranean sun, they do need to pull their fingers out
and find some of Granny's collectables, and there's a long way to go.
Meanwhile, Anne has found something interesting in the kitchen.
Right, what have you got there?
This is sort of lovely. I think the ribbon and that is really pretty.
Ancient Order of Forest - isn't that smart?
I don't think I've seen one with a sash before.
Look at that! It's fantastic. Look at the quality of the sewing there.
-What have you found there? Look at the colours!
-The colours are beautiful.
-Where is it from?
-It was an uncle's.
-He had it for years.
-Is it a war medal?
-No, it's the Ancient Order of the Foresters.
That's like an insurance company, life assurance thing.
-Nothing to do with forestry?
No. The saying was, though,
they would help you out through the forest of life,
give you a safe passage through life. That was the ancient idea.
But it dates back from the 18th century.
The original idea was that a group of people would get together
and pay a small subscription charge, a few pounds a week,
a few pence a week in those days.
And then, if one of them was to fall ill
or they needed help, the whole organisation would help them.
So like a co-operative, friendly association?
I've never seen one with the sash. That's quite an unusual item.
What's this saying?
-What we're left with are some fantastic decorative medals.
It's amazing, isn't it?
-Is it OK to sell it?
How much do you think we'll get?
I think quite a bit.
The combination of enamelled silver, beautifully boxed, attractive item...
I think, value-wise,
40, perhaps up to maybe £80.
-Does that sound all right?
-That sounds wonderful.
£40 is a nice bit for our total,
but still short of £1,000, so let's keep hunting.
I love that idea of a society helping you through the forests of life.
Perhaps someone at auction will fall for this unusual item
and pay a little bit more than the £40 Paul has estimated.
Danielle has come up trumps with another item passed down through the family,
and, again, it's an object with a fascinating history.
I must admit, I love this picture. Where's this come from?
It's my great uncle's. It's been in the family for a long time.
So it's been passed down, has it?
-Did he ever tell you what it represents, what it is?
Do you know what happened to the Lusitania?
I think it was hit by a torpedo.
That's right. It was tragic. It was actually a passenger ship.
It's one of the Cunard Line's flagships at the time.
They were the first transatlantic crossings for the upper class and the gentry.
If you have a look at the bottom here, it says,
"Cunard Line, Lusitania, torpedoed by the enemy without warning,
"May 7th 1915. 1,441 lives lost."
They do say the reason why so many perished,
it was secretly carrying weapons for our side of the war,
if you like, and of course they needed to destroy it.
This is a reverse painting. It looks like a stained-glass panel.
You can imagine this in a window, Do you think it's sentimental?
I think so, cos it's been passed down the family, but...
-as long as it goes to a good home, she'll be happy.
-It's a beautiful thing.
A shipping line collector would love that. It's in good condition.
-I'd say 40 to £60. Does that sound all right?
Does that float your boat? Hey!
-Come on, let's keep looking.
-That's another good find,
but we still really need to step up our efforts
if we're going to get anywhere near that target.
Danielle carries on the great work
by unearthing this industrial oil warning lantern from the 1930s.
Its three red lenses would have shone a warning glow on the railways.
With an estimate of only £10, it's a warning to us
that we're still a long way from that Mediterranean holiday.
Meanwhile, I'm dying to find out more about Anne's fascinating past life,
so I persuade her to take a few minutes out.
Anne, we want a break from all this rummaging.
I want to catch up about you, because you've had quite a busy life.
-You were a policewoman at one stage I hear?
-Yes, I was.
In fact when I first left school, I was a bus conductress.
Then I joined the police, which was what I always wanted to do.
-You also wanted to be an actress in between, didn't you?
I had visions of being an actress and I wrote to these people,
to the television company and they wrote me a lovely letter
giving me instructions on how to be an actress, who to contact,
but then I decided to join the police, so I wrote back, "Thank you very much,"
-and joined the police force instead.
-"I've decided to become a police woman"?
I did, yeah. Thinking, "Oh my God!"
How long were you in the force?
About five years. Then I left to have babies.
I had three babies in four-and-a-half years and didn't go back to the force,
but then I got a job with Sandwell council as a rent collector.
I retired when I was 50, never ever to work again,
and then went back again. Cos I tried the belly dancing....
-Tell me about the belly-dancing.
It's good, it's really good exercise. You know, you sort of...
dance away, but then I got high blood pressure and I had to give it up!
-You don't want to pass out when you're on stage belly-dancing.
-No. That would have been bad.
So bus conductress, wannabe actress,
-police woman, debt collector, belly dancer, anything else?
-It sounds like sitting around doing nothing isn't going to wash.
-I do like to be doing something.
You seem to have a close bond with your granddaughters. Do you go on holiday often?
As much as we can, yeah.
Where were you hoping to go to?
Anywhere in the Canaries.
I like Tenerife, but, as long as it's hot.
With all your careers behind you it won't be a problem to get this money,
but it won't happen if we sit on the sofa, so let's find what Paul and the girls are doing.
Maybe the girls have inherited their granny's let's-get-on-with-it attitude,
as they're unearthing some real gems,
including this charming oil painting, signed by the 20th-century artist, Dallas Simpson,
who was known for depictions of wide-eyed children and women
from the more innocent period of the '40s and '50s.
Paul thinks it could bring in as much as £70.
As you'd expect, Anne's amassed quite a few leaving presents
from her many jobs, but will any of them make us money at auction?
So were these what you wanted to show me?
-Yes, they're lovely, aren't they?
-Yes, they're beautiful. You've collected them?
They've been bought to me as gifts.
That was from my work when I retired, never to work again.
Which job was that, belly dancer?
-Which one was it?
These really are top quality items.
Royal Doulton, I think, really make the best figurines.
-Which one's your favourite?
-I think this one's my favourite.
Oh, OK, which one's she? Let's have a look.
What I like about these figures, they're all named.
-This one is Elizabeth.
-That's another Elizabeth. That's lovely.
-There we are.
The way they tend to be collected is that they would make a doll or a figurine
for a short period of time and what they would do would be each one has an individual number...
HM2465, this one. So you can actually look that up
in the catalogue and they'll tell you what year this figure was made.
What happened was that they changed the colour or the pose slightly,
gave her a different outfit sometimes, and people collect that type of thing,
and because they didn't sell so many of the variations
they've become rare now, and people want to buy into that market.
-So they're instantly collectible. Do you still like them?
-I think they're beautiful,
but I think they might need a new home now.
-Have you any idea how much they might be worth?
-I'm thinking £100 each at least.
They certainly cost that, I can see where you're coming from there,
but you've got to imagine a resale value. I'd like to see these
with an estimate of maybe between 200 and 300 to give them a chance.
-Does that sound all right?
-There's no real rarities amongst them.
-You haven't got a rare issue?
That's another 200 towards the target. We're doing OK, aren't we?
-We are, yes.
-All right, let's go and find everybody else.
And because Royal Doulton is so collectible, it's very likely to sell.
Of course there will always be stamp collectors,
and this Victory album is a banker at between 10 and £30.
Paul's been hovering in the hall,
and has wound up next to a very upstanding and impressive character.
Danielle, Charlotte, do you know anything about this clock?
Not really, it's been in the family for a very long time.
-It's a genuine heirloom then?
I was wondering when we were going to value this.
-Is it for sale?
-Do you like it?
I think it's a lovely piece,
but it doesn't fit here and it wouldn't fit in my new house either.
-You can't help but notice it, can you?
These are very attractive pieces, aren't they?
It's not so much the way they look,
it's the quality of the movements, that's where the value tends to be,
and the first thing I always do, if you open this little door at the front, always count the weights.
-You see that? There's one there.
-It's the force of gravity,
the pull on the gravity of the weight causes the clock to go,
and the way it works, the cheapest movement that you can have
will run off one weight and that means it needs winding every day.
When it has two weights, like this one, it means it only needs winding once a week,
and that's a big advantage with clocks like this.
-So it's a quality movement in there.
-How much is it worth?
I was thinking about £3,000, but I don't know.
Right, have you any reason why it would be that sort of value?
Yes, it was valued at just over £3,000 in the late '90s.
OK, I think insurance purposes, then yes, insurance is always exaggerated.
But for that sort of value, really, I'd like to see a maker.
It's very important, especially a London maker.
I think realistically you're looking more around 1,000.
I'd like to see it go to auction with 800 to £1,200 estimate. If that's all right?
-Is it OK to sell it for that?
That makes our total much more healthy,
because with that, if it sells at Paul's estimate, your grand total
for your holiday is £1,180, if that sells at Paul's estimate.
-Is that good?
It all depends what happens at the auction.
Things go up and down. On a good day things can go sky high,
on a bad day they can go rock-bottom so let's hope for a good day.
What a great rummage. So let's take a look at Anne's most exciting items
that are heading for the sale room.
The Cappa de Monte statue of a farmer which isn't to everyone's taste,
especially Danielle and Charlotte's, but valued at a reasonable £30 to £50.
The Foresters medal, with this unusual colourful ribbon attached,
estimated to fetch £40 to £80.
Worth a very useful £40 to £60 there's also
this collectible glass picture of the doomed ship Lusitania.
And these Royal Doulton figurines
are a great addition, they could fetch as much as £300.
Coming upon today's Cash In The Attic,
the auction house is buzzing, but are the bidders in a buying mood?
We hit some lows...
-That's a disaster!
Anne and the girls feel the strain.
I'm going to cry!
So stay put to find out how today's antiques fare
when the final hammer falls.
It's been two weeks since we were in Walsall looking through Anne's house
with her granddaughters, and we brought all the treasure we found
here to Melton Mowbray, to Shouler and Sons.
Sadly, Paul Hayes, our expert, is feeling poorly,
and he's up in Morecambe recuperating,
so it's me who has got to guide the ladies through the auction
and make sure they raise the £1,000 they need for that holiday.
Remember if you're thinking of buying or selling at auction,
there are various fees to be taken into account,
such as commission, so make sure you check first.
With the sale about to begin, I'm going to have to tell Liz, Danielle and Charlotte
that they'll have to make do with me today, while Paul is convalescing.
Hello. How are you?
-Did you get here all right?
-Yes, lovely, thank you.
-Paul can't be with us today,
he's left you in my capable hands, don't panic!
It's going to be fine. We've got big items like the grandfather clock, our real star item.
-Have you got a reserve on that?
-£500. Any reserves on anything else?
-My Doulton ladies, £300.
Are you going to miss anything? Have you changed your mind about any items?
-The Doulton ladies.
-I'm quite sad about the ladies.
Hopefully they won't make the reserve and you can take them home.
No, no, no! We want them to sell! It's important for that holiday.
We've got £1,000 to raise today, so fingers crossed, just go and enjoy it.
It's already started, so we should go and get our places.
Here in Melton Mowbray, we've two auctioneers, who work the room between them.
Let's hope that two heads really are better than one as our first item comes up for sale.
113, the Cappa de Monte figure, a farmer with a dog.
Impressive that is, isn't it?
OK, it's the giant farmer with dog.
It's the biggest Cappa de Monte figure I've seen in ages.
Paul thinks about £30 to £50.
-What do you reckon?
-A million pounds!
A million, nice and realistic.
£30 to a million we're looking for.
A tenner for it.
£10, £10, £10, £10, at 10, £10,
at 10 only. At £10, at £10 it is,
£10, £10, £10 only.
At £10 only, at 10, 10.
10 it is there, now at 10.
12, at 12, 15, 15, now, at £15.
At £15. At £15, only, now at £15,
only now at £15, £15, at 15 only,
I'll let it go, then, for 15.
What a shame! My little man.
£15, it wasn't little.
That's a bit of a shaky start.
The auctioneer was really working the room
but nobody seemed interested in our Cappa de Monte farmer.
Perhaps the bidders, like the Downes family,
don't find him very attractive.
The girls do love this next item.
It's the picture set in glass of that tragic passenger ship, the Lusitania,
sunk during the First World War.
All hands to deck, it's the Lusitania.
It's really a nice unusual piece,
because it's reverse painted onto the glass as you know.
We want about £40 for it.
Here she blows.
Here it is, £20.
£10, thank you, now, at £10, at £10, 10,
20, make it?
£20, only, now, at £20,
all done then at £20.
Don't worry, some things don't do well,
but other things do really well, so it's swings and roundabouts.
It's a shame the ship picture didn't make more,
as it's been in the family a long time
but it's a step towards our total.
I just hope the new owner will appreciate it,
cos they got themselves a bargain.
Let's hope things improve with the stamp album.
At this point £10 to £30 would at least get things moving.
380A, the Victory stamp album and stamps.
Tenner for them. Tenner for them.
A fiver, get on.
A fiver, get on. The stamp album and stamps.
A fiver, anybody?
-It's a shame, a real shame. Not even £10 for the stamps.
Anne is trying to put a brave face on here,
but the girls are feeling a little worried, I can tell you.
The painted clock...
Our next item could change all of that.
It's the stunning grandfather clock with an estimate of £800 to £1,200.
You've put a £500 reserve on,
-is that right?
-I did, yes.
-It can't go for anything less than that?
OK, so fingers crossed, this is your holiday in one item.
At £300, thank you, now,
at 320, 320,
at 360, at 360, at £360,
80, 380, at £380, at 380,
at 440, at 440,
60, may I say?
£440 only, then, at £440.
-Oh, God, that's a disaster!
-Not to worry.
That's our biggest item unsold.
It just doesn't seem to be our day so far,
but at least Anne had a reserve
on her beloved clock, and she can take it home.
Next up we have a chance to improve our fortunes
with the Dallas Simpson oil painting.
£18, it didn't do very well either.
If this is a roller-coaster ride, we've been on a downward spiral
for too long. The only way is up.
468A, the Order of Foresters medal with a sash.
This is a really interesting lot,
it's the regalia and the medal from the Foresters.
It depends on whether there are people in the room who know
about the Foresters.
We want about £40. Do you think we'll get that?
I really don't know.
-Let's just hope.
-Hoping so, it's worth it for the colour.
It's beautiful. Let's see.
I am bid £12 on this,
£12, £12 only, £12,
15, 18, £18, 20, at £20, at £20,
at £20, only, now, at £20,
at £20 in front, £20, last look.
All done at £20.
It may not have reached its value, but it sold,
which at this stage is a step in the right direction.
And it's £20 towards the holiday.
Next up it's the Seralite Lens oil lamp.
It's valued at £10 and anything that can help our total is a bonus now.
At 18, is it 20, sir?
at 18, 20 bid, £20, £20,
at £20, at £20 only,
at £20 only, at £20,
last chance, then, at £20.
Double the estimate. Very good.
It's late in the day, but finally we have some luck.
It's a surprise, but selling well over its estimate, the lamp goes for £20.
Big smiles from Anne and the girls.
We really do need a miracle if we're going to make sure
the Downes family get off to the sunshine.
We're praying our last item of the day sells well,
and it should, as it's the collection of figurines,
so loved by the girls.
Right, it's the Doulton ladies.
-They look rather special up there on display.
-They look wonderful.
-Do you miss them?
-I think I might.
Looking at them, they look beautiful.
-You put a reserve on these, what's the reserve?
Paul thinks they'll go for more than this,
so hopefully we'll sail past that. Fingers crossed.
At £200, at £200 on the book now, at £200,
-Oh, very good.
300, £300, 20 may I say?
THEY LAUGH NERVOUSLY
At £300 it's here now at £300,
all done away, then, at 300.
I'm going to cry!
A bit emotional?
Don't film me doing this!
What are you feeling, a bit sad because they've gone?
No, I'm just excited.
Thank goodness. From the jaws of defeat, we've snatched a victory.
I thought for a moment Anne was regretting letting her ladies go.
Now it's time
to tell them how much they've made.
So it's been a tough old day today.
I'm really sorry about that, but that's the nature of auctions.
Sometimes they go really well, sometimes they don't.
It's a real shame, we had so much riding on that grandfather clock, and it didn't sell.
But you actually haven't done as badly, if you take out that £600,
you wanted £1,000, what do you think you've made?
Almost there, 393.
-So that's actually not... you'd have made almost 1,000.
-We would have...
If you'd sold the clock at 600, but sadly that didn't sell.
It doesn't matter.
Good luck with your holiday, wherever you decide to go.
Thank you, we've really enjoyed it.
The girls will have to wait a few months before they hit the beaches,
but for Anne it's all about spending quality time with her grandchildren,
and we catch up with them on one of their regular outings.
We've come here for a bit of a treat today. We made enough money to go towards a holiday,
but we still have to put some more towards it, but I can't wait to go away in the spring.
The girls clearly appreciate having such a loving granny.
We're so lucky to have a nan like this, she takes us everywhere, and is so happy.
It's so nice, I love spending time with my nan. She's the best nan ever.
Despite a disappointing day at auction, Anne and the girls have put the money to good use,
and if you'd like to recycle some family treasures into something special,
come on the show. Our application form is on the website -
See you next time.
For more information about Cash In The Attic, including how the programme was made,
visit the website at bbc.co.uk/lifestyle.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Liz Downes loves spending time with her grandchildren, and wants to raise enough money to take them to Tenerife, giving their parents a well-earned break. Alistair Appleton and Paul Hayes are on hand to help.