Series looking at the value of household junk. Meryl Major has called in the team to help raise the funds to take her husband on a trip to Las Vegas for his 60th birthday.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the programme that works with you
to find valuables in your home and then sells them with you at auction.
Today, I'm just outside Doncaster,
but who could resist stopping off to visit this magnificent house?
This is Brodsworth Hall.
It's built in the Italianate design and is a classic example
of an untouched English Victorian country house.
The estate was built in the 1860s by Charles Thellusson, whose family were
devoted to yachting and horse-racing among other sporting pursuits.
The house was occupied by the family for 130 years,
but it fell into disrepair.
It was reopened in 1995 after a period of extensive restoration
to both the building and gardens and is now returned to its former glory.
And we hope to find lots of authentic antiques and collectables of our own because we're about to go
in search of things to take to auction.
Coming up on today's Cash In The Attic, we're gambling on raising
funds for a trip to Las Vegas, and hoping we don't blow our chances.
'But when the chips are down, will we have hit the jackpot?'
Find out, when the hammer falls.
I'm about to meet two ladies who've called in the Cash In The Attic team
to help raise funds for a very special birthday celebration.
This semi-detached house in Doncaster is home to the Major family.
Meryl Major and her husband, Keith, have lived here for just three years.
In fact, they've moved 18 times in the last 38 years, in their career as pub landlords.
Keith has to work today so Meryl is joined by her good friend, Sue.
They met when they were both in the RAF, a lifetime ago.
They've kept in touch over the years,
even though Sue spends most of her time in Bahrain.
-Good morning, John.
-Been anywhere interesting?
I have just been to the most fantastic Victorian house,
but you'd need a bob or two to live there.
Really? You should have taken me with you!
-So what have you got in store today?
-We're going to meet two ladies
who have a real zest for life. We're going to have a great day.
-Do you reckon they've got any Victoriana?
-Who knows! Shall we look?
Now, you must be Sue, with that tan, because you've come from Bahrain.
So how do you two know each other?
We've been friends for 40 years, a long time, and we met because
I went out with Meryl's brother and we've been friends ever since.
And you must be Meryl?
-So which one of you called in Cash In The Attic?
-So why do you need the team to come in and help you?
We've collected loads of things in the pub trade and just haven't got any room for it any more.
You were a landlady for a long time?
-And you've done so many things in your life.
I want to talk to you about a lot of them later on
but when we sell this at auction, what will you do with the proceeds?
What's this special occasion that's coming up?
Well, we want to take my husband to Vegas,
and he does like playing poker now, and it is his 60th birthday
-in December, so I thought that was an ideal thing to do.
-And how much is this going to cost?
I think we're looking towards about £400
and then we'll just have to put the rest to it.
£400 is not going to pay for the whole trip, but it will be a great start,
so I'm going to call time on this conversation and let's go and see what we can find.
This house is immaculate but a quick glance in the corners
reveals that there's an abundance of curios on display.
'John Cameron is in his element and it looks like he's going to have
'plenty of opportunities to blow his own trumpet today.'
Cor blimey, John. What you got there?
Well, you know we're always looking for items to come up at auction that make some noise,
well, I really have found something here that will make some noise today. It's a fog horn.
Why have you got a fog horn, Meryl?
Well, we used to call time in the pub with it.
What does it sound like? Are you going to do it for us?
I just hope it works.
-Did they take any notice of it when it did that?
Yes, yes, sometimes.
Is there a market for this sort of thing, John?
There is. Anything that's kind of ex-maritime, and the nice thing about metal wear
on boats is that it's always made of brass because it doesn't corrode so around seaside towns you would
see lots of brassware in homes, like ship's wheels and foghorns and the diving helmets and anybody
that has a connection with the sea, they do like to decorate this, so yes, there is a market for it.
If this went to auction, how much money might it make, John?
Well, I think if this came up, I would certainly expect it to
make somewhere between £50 and £100, something like that.
-That's a good start, is it?
-Yeah, that's great.
-Are you happy with that, Meryl?
There's no room for it. It's got to go.
You can hardly call your husband down for breakfast with it, can you?
Can I have a go?
I'm desperate to have a go.
It sounds like a wheezy old bag, doesn't it!
FOGHORN BLASTS Oh, dear!
I think that means... let's go find something else!
We're off to a belting start, so let's hope it continues.
There are some truly quirky things here, and stylish ones, too.
This model of a James Bond Aston Martin could rev up some interest
at £20 to £30 in the auction.
and I've found an ironstone cheese dish which could go down a treat
with the buyers for around £10 to £15.
And in one of the bedrooms,
Sue has found something that might raise a toast among the bidders.
What have you got there?
Well, I'm not sure if it's of any value but it's a Winston Churchill Toby jug.
He's quite charming. What do you know about him?
All I know is when Meryl and Keith left the pub,
they went into a hotel in Scarborough for five or six years
and Keith started collecting Toby jugs,
and that is the only remaining jug that they've got.
This would've probably been issued
in around about the '60s.
Here we can see him modelled brilliantly in all his kind of iconic garb,
his little Trilby hat, the cigar, his long coat and typically holding the lapels, like he did.
As we said, he's made at Royal Doulton
and yes, Doulton remains as popular today as it's always been.
Keith and Meryl have got rid of a lot of these and a lot of people have done that...
as a decorative thing in the house in the past ten years or so, so collectors are always
looking out for something rare, something perhaps only issued in a short run,
a rare colour way or so on and so forth, but he would still appeal to a wider audience because of who he is.
I mean as Winston Churchill, I'd certainly give him house room.
I'd find a bookshelf for him to go.
Money-wise, I think at auction these days you ought to see him make about £30 or £40, something like that.
Meryl would be pleased with that.
-Hopefully we won't have to fight them on the beaches about it.
Anyway, let's go and find Meryl and see how she's doing.
Meryl's been busy finding more
things for us to take to auction and she's picked up this rather fetching print of a Peter Blake painting.
Now this could go well behind a bar or in a hotel foyer
and John thinks £50 to £70 is a fair price.
In the kitchen, Sue has unearthed another Royal Doulton character.
This Sherlock Holmes figure could join Churchill at auction
for £20 to £30,
and in the conservatory, John's made a refreshing find.
-I see you've found the cups, then.
I've found them. They were hard to miss, Meryl, but...
-I know, there's a few.
-But I always have to ask with a kind of obsession
like this, where did it come from, how did this collection start?
Keith used to collect
character mugs and then he decided he didn't want to do that any more
and he wanted to collect these
so everywhere we've been in the country and abroad,
he's picked them up and they were displayed in the pub.
-So you've got many different cups here.
Earthenware, bone china, porcelain, hundreds of different makers,
different designs, not quite sure where to start.
Would you consider selling them as a whole?
They've given us a lot of pleasure collecting them
but there's no room so they've got to go...but not that one.
Why not that one?
Keith's favourite and he said he'd like to keep one, as a memento.
You'd be here for ages trying to value them individually,
so the best thing is to value them as a whole. How many have you got?
If I were to say £100 to £150 as a starting point,
how does that sound to you?
We've had them for a long time.
They need to go, so that is great.
I wouldn't be surprised if they make more but that should be a low enough estimate
to get bidding starting in a nice little flurry.
-So, ladies, lead on, we've got to find some more things.
Well, that's a good sum towards the trip to Las Vegas for husband Keith's 60th birthday.
But whilst John and Sue crack on with the search,
I take the chance to find out more about Meryl and her varied life.
Meryl, the cups may be a kind of reminder of your years as publicans,
but you've done so many things in your life, I get breathless looking down the list.
You were an assistant air traffic controller for the RAF.
Watching planes come in and out must've been fabulous?
Brilliant. Started off with Vulcans and then it went onto training command.
So you're quite an expert now then when it comes to identifying aircraft?
No, I wouldn't say that, no.
Only the ones that I worked with, I know what they are, but no.
So how did you both become publicans?
Did you have any training or did you literally just jump in, feet first.
We took a big gamble, sold the house, borrowed money off parents
and friends and worked very hard,
didn't have any time off the first year and it was very successful.
And one of your pubs was extremely successful
because you won an award, didn't you?
It was the Best Dressed Bar In Great Britain
and we had to go down to London to be presented with a cheque
at the Park Lane Hotel, and it was Ross Kemp that presented
us with the cheque because at that time he was working in EastEnders.
When we were talking earlier, you told me one of your favourite jobs
was actually being a "lady of the landing"
when you worked for Her Majesty The Queen at Sandringham?
I love the Royals, I love history, so...
I was in my element. It was great, great.
Did you get to meet the Queen, Prince Philip and the family?
I used to see the Royals every day,
but I didn't used to speak to them every day, obviously.
-You used to have to blend into the woodwork with them.
-So you really do know how to curtsy?
No, just bob. And say ma'am.
So you got really good at that as well!
-Now, tell me about Las Vegas.
What is it about Las Vegas that's the great attraction for you both?
I don't think you can explain to anyone.
It's just over the top, so over the top, everything about it, but it's well worth going to see.
We've got to raise £400 towards what it's going to cost you, so I think this is the moment where
you are keeper of the collectables, madam of the merchandise and you are the lady of the...
let's go and see what else we can find.
So it's time to continue the hunt.
For someone who's moved so many times, Meryl has managed
to hang onto a huge amount of memorabilia and collectables.
In another bedroom I think I've found something
that might have the buyers standing to attention.
Can you spare a minute?
Meryl, where did all of these come from?
There's a little shop in Scarborough
that sells all stuff like soldiers, stamps, everything, a beautiful little shop.
You used to be able to buy whole collections like that.
These are the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, John,
and I know that cos it says so!
THEY LAUGH Very good make of Britain's, probably the most famous,
certainly in this country and they've been around since the 19th Century and making these figures
for well over 100 years in fact.
The great thing about collecting regiments like this, you learn so much about the history
of these regiments, where they served, when they were incepted,
amalgamated with other places and so, like collecting stamps or anything else,
there is a whole education that comes with this sort of thing.
These are in lovely condition. The paintwork hasn't been chipped, they haven't been used,
-in their box, with their paperwork.
-And we've also got the Lifeguard here, also from Britain's, 1837.
The Lifeguard and here the Lancasters.
I'd put them all together as one lot, somewhere between £50 and £80.
-Yeah, very good.
I think we've got our marching orders to see what else we can find.
Well, with that call to arms, we get our heads down for the final straight.
One or two items have slipped under the fence,
but not these cheeky little chaps.
This collection of Beatrix Potter books published by F Warne & Co
could fetch £10 to £20 for all four at auction.
It's been a clear run today in our bid to raise funds for the trip to Las Vegas,
but we need one more item before we can call time and Meryl thinks she may have found just the thing.
Would you like to have a look at this?
My gosh! You've had a lot of these...these grandfather clocks, haven't you?
-Yes, five altogether.
-What was special about this that made you keep it?
Keith bought me this for my birthday
and I love the shape and it's also got Westminster chimes
which is my favourite, so we hung onto this, but it just doesn't fit the house now and it has got to go.
I think we ought to get John in. John, have you got a minute?
Come and take a look at the long case and... You like long case clocks, don't you?
I do, I'm a bit of a fan of long case clocks.
I don't own one but one day I shall get myself one,
but this tells us straight away the period when it was made.
If you have a look at it, it kind of reminds me of the 1920s and certainly
that domed top reminds me of those early radiograms, doesn't it?
The case itself is made of plywood, which is a cheaper wood to produce and use.
It is a very good wood, it's very durable, it's very stable, seldom splits and it can be shaped.
It's not the most attractive of timbers but a very versatile material in which to work,
certainly where furniture is concerned.
At auction what sort of value might we get for it?
I'd like to think around a couple of hundred pounds for it, maybe 250 on a good day.
Very good, very good.
Nice surprised look on your face there, Meryl. Did you expect that?
No, because prices go up and down
so I didn't think we'd get as much as that for it.
It's moment of truth time now. Sue, do you want to join us?
Cos I know you're not actually going to Vegas on the trip,
but as you've been such a very willing pair of hands today,
I think you might like to know the final total.
The good news is that the total actually comes to...
That'd be good!
Happy lady, happy husband,
great trip ahead of you and all we have to do now is
play our cards right when we get to auction and you'll be on your way.
-Oh, that's great, isn't it?
-Very good, yeah, very good.
We've been on a winning streak throughout our rummage today
and let's hope that luck will hold when it comes to the auction.
Some of the items strengthening our odds
include this contingent of collectable soldiers.
With their ship-shape boxed condition and full paperwork,
we're hoping they'll attract £50 to £80
when they troop the colour in the sale.
And this impressive collection of eclectic tea cups.
Let's hope the bidders eyes will be as big as saucers when they go
before the sale room at £100 to £150 for the lot.
Coming up on Cash In The Attic, it's time to lay our cards on the table. Will it be a Royal Flush...
or will we be throwing our hand in?
Oh, come on, it's got to be worth 30 quid to somebody...
Find out, when the hammer falls.
£80. Thank you.
It's been a week or two since we were with Meryl and her good friend Sue, at Meryl's house in Doncaster,
looking for things that we'd be able to sell today here at Cato Crane Auctioneers in Liverpool.
Meryl wants to take her husband, Keith, on a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate his 60th birthday.
It's going to cost her quite a lot of money and she'd like to raise £400 today towards the cost
of that trip so we rather hope that all of today's bidders
are going to feel really flush when her items come under the hammer.
This auction house on Liverpool's famous Albert Docks
always attracts a good mix of private buyers and dealers.
'John Cameron is already here, taking a count of our items.'
Having a quick tot-up to make sure they're all here?
I think there was about 63 last time, weren't there?
-Meryl decided to keep one, didn't she?
-Yes. It was one that she thought Keith liked, so yes,
she just kept one.
Actually we've got some fun things coming up from Meryl today. That fog horn.
Now, should that do well here in Liverpool, home of so many ships?
I think so, but I hope one of the porters give it a good demonstration
cos I think a lot of people will think, "I could have some fun with that!"
-It'll certainly wake the place up!
Shall we go and see how she's feeling about today's auction?
There are nearly 300 lots in today's catalogue and we're hoping that our antiques will attract attention.
Certainly, Meryl and Sue aren't afraid to let it rip!
We can tell you'd arrived.
We could've heard you the other side of Liverpool docks with that!
How are you feeling about the auction today?
Nervous, because I've never been to one before
and I don't think Sue has, either.
So you don't really know what to expect?
-No? Give them an idea of what it's going to be like, John.
You're going to have a good day
but remember we're here to sell, not buy, so keep your hands down!
We should take our place, they're about to open the doors.
If you're interested in selling or buying at auction,
please bear in mind that you will have commission, VAT,
and other charges to pay.
The sale room is full to bursting here today and we slip into a quiet
spot at the back of the room, eager to see whether our first lot,
the 63 assorted cups, will cause a stir.
A lovely collection here, a lot of fun,
something for everyone,
and we're looking for £100 to £150,
which still isn't a lot when you consider there are 63 of them there.
Anybody? Make me an offer.
£10 to start you. 10 is bid, it's got to be...
Don't be silly!
15, 20, 25, 30, 35...
40, it's a good margin, 45, 50.
50, we're gonna sell I think at £50. 50, any advance? 50? Anybody else?
That's 50 pence each. 50, 55, thank you, another bid now, 60, 65.
One more? 70 is bid!
You've got it!
All done at £70.
-I'm not taking them home!
Maybe not, but somebody's going to be spending a fair amount
of time wrapping up crockery!
As John predicted, the market for cups and saucers is a little slow,
so considering that, at £70 just below the estimate, this is a good start.
And when the James Bond Aston Martin charms the bidders...
We come in at another sale on estimate.
£10. £10 is bid.
When the Beatrix Potter books come in at £10, we're feeling good.
That means we've made the healthy sum of £100 so far, a quarter of our
total target of £400 so that Meryl can take her hubby to Las Vegas.
But will Lady Luck stay on our side?
OK, next up is our ironstone cheese dish and cover,
which is a reproduction but it's very nice and decorative.
It's a nice and useful object.
What do we say? I don't know. Give me £10 for it, somebody.
10 anyone? 10 is bid down there.
Yes, thank you. 10 is bid,
14 with you, 16, £18.
And I'm going to sell at £18 now.
£18. It's your bid and...
That's just a bit over your estimate, John.
-What did we have, £10 to £20 on that?
-10 to 15 on that one.
-£10 to £15.
That's another fine result.
We're steadily building up our stash of cash.
Our next item to go before the bidders is the print by British pop artist, Peter Blake,
best known for his covers of Beatles' albums.
What about £50 for it?
He is quite well known. £50 is bid.
£50, we're in at 50.
£50, first bid of 50.
We have a gentleman here now at 60.
70, madam. 80, sir, it's against you.
£70, the lady seated here.
Would you like 75, sir?
-75 is bid...
Would you like 80, madam? 80 is bid.
-£80 is bid.
All at £80. I'm selling at £80 now.
The one thing I didn't think you'd get anything for!
We haven't got taste.
Meryl sounds truly amazed by that amount,
but we're raking in the chips towards that Vegas trip.
Our next item is the Royal Doulton Sherlock Holmes figurine.
Not quite on the nose, but still a respectable result
and when the other Doulton figurine sells...
£25 is bid.
Even though it's just below the estimate,
we're quietly happy that the kitty is building.
'This next item, though, should perhaps come with a fog warning.'
So what do we reckon on this, John?
Somewhere between £50 and £100.
I think it's a great item
but I really am tempted, but I can't take that home, I'm afraid.
I'd get my bags packed for me if I took that home!
Well, hopefully somebody is going to take it home!
What about £30 to start me off on it? £30 anywhere, come on!
-Oh, come on!
-£30, well, 30,
45, 50, 55. We're going to be able to sell at £55, I think.
£55, a nice object.
-We made our lowest estimate and a fiver on top.
Well, it may not have made a fortune,
but it certainly brought in the brass.
And perhaps our next item will call the room to attention.
45 on my right, then.
£45, just under our target there.
It really has been a procession of sales at just around the estimate today.
Perhaps our last item will strike a different note.
Meryl is certainly attached to this lot.
The clock, lots of memories for that,
cos Keith bought me that for my birthday,
but it definitely doesn't fit in with the decor that we've got in the house now,
so it'll be going.
We've got a lot riding on this.
I've put quite an estimate on it, considering they are only 1930s and
did make lots of them, but I do think this is in lovely condition, has some really nice features about it.
We're looking for £200 to 300. In my heart, I know it should be worth that,
but it's not me bidding here today, so let's see how we go.
100 is bid. I've got to have a bit more than that so 120, 140.
Good order, 120, 140.
200, another bidder, 200.
210, 220, 230.
It's a nice one.
230 is bid now. 240, yes? 250.
250 is bid, 260.
250 to the gentleman right in front of me here, now. At 250...
Oh, 260 right alongside of you.
270, sorry about that. 270.
I'll do 265 then, seeing as it's you.
£270 the gentleman right in front of me. 270.
Are you sure you've finished now?
£270 now, all done.
-That was good. We needed that, didn't we?
-We needed that for sure.
'It's a terrific result and Meryl seems thoroughly relieved,
'but did she have any reason to worry?'
You've been a bit apprehensive, haven't you, Meryl?
Yes. I didn't think we were doing very well at all.
You're on your way to Vegas, because you wanted £400, but you've actually made...
Oh, that's great!
Now don't you spend it all at once on the gambling tables!
I didn't think we'd got as much as that.
That's really good, that's excellent, yeah.
After the pleasant surprise of the auction, Meryl's already
bought the tickets and she's gone one step further...
Vegas has come to Doncaster, for one night only.
Tonight, the games night tonight is just getting everybody in the mood,
especially me and Keith, and we're just gonna have a great time.
Can we raise a glass for Meryl? She's raised the money to go to Las Vegas,
we've got the tickets, let's have a good night, let's get on with it.
-Here's to Meryl.
Husband Keith is more than pleased to be having a practice run before the big trip.
I'm really grateful for Meryl raising the money, she's been fantastic, she's really enjoyed doing it.
I'm so looking forward to going to Vegas to see what the real gambling
is like and we'll thoroughly have a good time.
-Give me three.
-Ace or a jack.
We've had lots of friends round tonight
and it's got us in the mood for going to Vegas and we've had a great time.
And it will be really good to get out there. It should be good fun. Can't wait.
Well, let's hope that Meryl and Keith are now all set to clean up
when they go to Vegas to celebrate Keith's 60th birthday.
If there's something you'd like to raise money for and you think you may have things
that you'd be very happy to sell at auction, then why not get in touch with the programme?
Just fill in our application form.
You'll find us at bbc.co.uk
and we look forward to seeing you on Cash In The Attic.
For more information about Cash In The Attic, including how the programme was made,
visit the website at bbc.co.uk
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Meryl Major has done everything, from working for the Queen to running the 'best dressed pub in the UK', and has accumulated loads of collectables along the way.
She has called in the Cash in the Attic team to help raise the funds to take her husband Keith on a trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas for his 60th birthday.