Series looking at the value of household junk. Geoff and Cynthia Thomas have called in Jennie Bond and the team to help them raise funds for the trip of a lifetime.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic,
the show helps you sell your hidden treasures at auction.
And today I've already found a real gem here in Wiltshire.
These are Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury and they are absolutely spectacular.
They've been developed over the past 14 years
by the Pollard family from partial wasteland,
and today they boast more than 10,000 different plants.
The gardens are located alongside the historic ruins
of Malmesbury Abbey and were once the abbot's own garden.
They cover five acres around a 16th century house
built shortly after the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII.
The garden has been designed to reflect its monastic past,
with herbs, fruit trees, a vinery, fish ponds and roses.
I tell you, there is so much to do here.
I could spend a whole day just playing.
But we've got work to do, treasures of our own to find.
So let's get started.
Today on Cash In The Attic, Paul gets hot under the collar.
Amongst all these items of sporting history,
really, you've got two items here which, for me, are the ultimate.
But we have to be careful we don't blow a gasket.
-A look of real shock on your face there!
Will we make it down the right track?
Find out when the final hammer falls.
I'm about to meet a couple who've had a really difficult few years,
so they've called in the Cash In The Attic team
to help them raise the money for a very well-deserved luxury trip.
The Thomas family have lived here for over 20 years.
Geoff and Cynthia have two daughters,
Helen, who's 24 and here today, and Karen, who's now 26.
Over the years, Geoff has been in the RAF
and worked as a driving instructor, but recently he's had more than his fair share of challenges.
-I know I'm late. I'm sorry.
-That's all right.
I've been to some fabulous gardens. I could've spent all day there.
-I should have been here, shouldn't I?
-As long as you've enjoyed yourself.
We've got a lot to do because this couple, they've been through some really bad times lately.
So I want to make lots of money and help them out.
-OK, so no pressure at all, then?
-OK, we'll try our best, eh?
-We've got our work cut out so let's get started.
-So, you're obviously Geoff.
-And you are?
-Daughter of the house.
-You're going to help us?
Good. Right, I'll make myself at home!
So who called us in? Who was it?
-I called you in.
I've been home a lot lately because I've been ill.
I've been watching the TV rather a lot.
Cash In The Attic is one of my programmes that I've started to watch.
That's what we like to hear.
-Excellent! And now we're here in your house.
Now, I know you've had a bad couple of years, haven't you?
Yes, I've had cancer.
I started off with kidney cancer,
then lung cancer, and then a brain tumour,
-which I'm suffering from now.
-Must have been tough for you, too.
You just have to put on a brave face and take each day as it comes,
and keep fingers crossed and hope for the best.
It has been difficult for us.
So are you going to be treating your parents, then?
If I could I would, but they're going to be treating themselves to a trip.
-A bit of a break?
-What kind of break is it going to be?
-We're going to go on a trip on the Orient Express.
It's something that we've seen on TV
and we thought that we'd very much like to do.
So how much money do you think we need?
I reckon we need about £300 for our day out, and that's what we're aiming for.
I really want to do that, you strike me as someone
who deserves a bit of luxury right now, at this point in your life.
-OK. Let's get going, then. All right.
Geoff inherited many of the objects around the house from his parents
and he'll be fascinated to find out how much they're worth.
Luckily, Paul is always happy to shed some light on values.
'I've found something that's more of a classic than an antique.'
-I've found an old...
I remember these. Choppers.
-is this yours?
-No. It's my mum's, actually, yeah.
Years ago, Dad used to take us out on bike rides, me and my sister.
And we tried to get Mum involved,
so we went to a car boot sale and we found this for five quid.
Wow. They launched a similar version of this in America in late 1960s.
It was inspired by the film Easy Rider.
You know the Chopper motorcycles?
When it was launched here in Great Britain, it became an instant, massive hit.
I can see a lot of my mates now with the flares going off, sometimes two at once.
-It's a great seat, to fit two people on there.
-But I do remember this gear system here.
-Yes, having gears down there is real weird.
And that caused a mate of mine a big problem when he was doing a wheelie!
They're not the sort of thing that people tend to ride nowadays.
They're not the best ride items, but they look great.
If you've got a cafe or a restaurant and you want that '70s feel,
you can hang it on the wall, put it in the window.
OK, then. So what do we reckon it might fetch?
It's all about condition. It looks like it's had some sort of Vaseline on it, which is good.
They cover the whole thing in Vaseline which protects the chrome.
So that can all be washed off and it's almost like new again.
So that's done you a favour there.
You're looking at at least £40. If you get an enthusiast, you could get a lot.
-That would be fantastic, wouldn't it?
-Shall I see if I can ride it?
-Yes, go on.
Do you reckon? Do you reckon?
I'm not quite sure how you get on it. OK.
I've got a flat tyre, I think.
Never mind. OK, here I go.
Oh, my God! Hooray! She's away!
This is where I can't turn around. I'm going in the hedge!
'That got us off to a great start.' Yes!
In the house, I find this handsome oak bookcase with barley-twist legs,
which could make us £50 to £80.
Geoff has unearthed this set of Wedgwood plates
which might fetch £10 to £20.
It seems the wheels on this rummage just keep on turning.
Hey, Paul, are you going down memory lane?
You said you like a drop of nostalgia. He does too, you know.
I'll tell you what I have found, which for me is something extremely exciting.
There are some signed photographs of none other than Stirling Moss.
How have you got hold of these? These are incredible!
I wrote off to Stirling Moss
and I got those two photographs sent to me, all signed up.
He's become one of Britain's best-known sportsmen, really.
You can't mention motor racing without mentioning him.
-He is incredible. In the '50s and '60s he was THE driver.
You would have lots and lots of people asking for autographs
and photographs, and what they used to do is pre-print them.
You'd have the same photograph printed with the signature on,
and then their secretaries could give them out.
But what you've got here is provenance. And it's very important.
Reading this, it's from his home address.
It says, "Thank you for your kind letter.
"As requested, I'm enclosing two autographs of Mr Moss, which he's signed."
So that for me authenticates these two pictures here.
-That's very, very important.
-And makes them valuable?
-I would say at least £50 upwards.
Hopefully a bit more on the day, for a real enthusiast.
-That sounds good. I'm surprised.
-More to do.
-Down another memory lane.
Well, that's another good addition to our Orient Express fund.
Helen's come across things that often do well at auctions.
These Toby jugs from Royal Doulton might bring in £30 to £60.
Seems like a good time to find out more about the family.
I do like your house, actually, because it's so light and bright.
You've got light all over the place.
-How long have you lived here?
-We moved here in 1986.
Over 20 years. Now, Geoff, I know that you were a driving instructor until recently.
-When was it that you first learned that this awful disease had got its claws into you?
We were on holiday in New Zealand. My brother lives out there.
We'd been out to see him, and he'd just been diagnosed as a diabetic.
My mother had diabetes as well and apparently it's hereditary,
and they said, when you get back to the UK, go and get a blood test.
A simple blood test, and... So that's what we did.
And when I went to see the doctor he said, "Well, the good news is you haven't got diabetes,
"but the bad news is you've got something wrong with your kidneys."
And you had no idea?
No idea at all.
So then I had to go for a scan and then I got the report back
from the doctor saying that I had this growth on my kidneys,
-the size of a rugby football.
-I didn't even realise that there was anything wrong.
-What was that like for you?
Very hard to cope with at the time, wasn't it?
Yes. He said, you've got to have an operation.
You've got to have it within the next month.
I worked in the morning, because I had somebody on a test,
went into hospital on the afternoon, the next day I had the operation.
So then you feel you must have beaten it, surely?
I went back for some more checks
after six months and they said,
well, unfortunately, some of the cells have escaped
and they've found their way to your lungs,
so you've got this cancer on the lungs.
So you must have felt that you were winning the battle then.
You'd come through cancer of the kidney and lung cancer and everything seemed to be all clear.
Yes, I had the letter from the doctor saying you're perfectly all right now. Perfectly clear.
At the end of last year, we thought,
"We've got the clearance from the doctor, let's go on holiday."
The week after we'd made our final payment,
I became ill and it was like having a sickness bug.
And we went to the doctor and she rushed me down to Bath.
It turned out to be a brain tumour.
That must have been devastating.
We sort of worked our way through it.
-So what's the treatment now?
I had the radiotherapy back in the end of last year.
-I've got to go for a scan next month, haven't we?
And I'll find out whether it's working or not.
So we're going to get you on that Orient Express, huh?
We're really looking forward to it.
Good. Well, all we've got to do is find a few more bits and pieces,
sell them at the auction and you're on that train. Brilliant.
-On our way.
-OK, let's get going again.
Well, Geoff and Cynthia certainly have been through the mill,
and it makes us even more determined to reach that £300 target.
Cynthia's found two limited-edition prints that should help.
One, entitled Spitfire, could bring us £40 to £70.
And the other, called Dumbleton Hall Steam Train, gets the same estimate.
In one of the bedrooms,
Paul's found an heirloom that could do very nicely, too.
Hiya. Now, I've got to ask you, where have these cameras come from?
We found them when we were clearing out my parents' house.
-So a real family heirloom, then?
Well, these have belonged to somebody very important originally.
This one dates from the 19th century.
And I think we're so interested now in taking photographs, it's everywhere. We're so used to it.
But when this camera was made, it was still an expensive pastime only afforded by the gentry.
The way the camera worked...
This is called a wet-plate camera. It doesn't use a film.
In the back here would be an actual glass plate that fits into there,
and it exposes the image onto a negative.
So that's placed into the back.
This is then shut, and then with a timed exposure,
so one had to sit very still, the image would appear on the plate.
This one is very good quality.
Dates 1880, 1900.
And it's made by a cabinet maker, a guy called Sanderson.
You can see his influences here. It's got mahogany, with brass bounding.
It's almost like a piece of furniture.
Top, top quality.
-Did this one come at the same time?
-At the same time, yes.
Right. This one uses film, which we all tend to use. A Box Brownie.
This is where the value is.
It's a nice little parcel to buy.
-If I said at least £40 to £60, how does that sound?
-Does that sound all right?
There's not an old film left in that one?
-Don't think so!
-Don't think so. Right, well, let's move on.
We're making great progress here, and I'm very pleased
with the next find, a cache of washbowls and jugs.
These could go in the sale
as a dealer's lot, with an estimate of £30 to £50.
While Paul and Geoff get nostalgic over some old souvenirs
from the days of the Beatles, I get on with the business in hand.
It's all right for you two, reminiscing there. Look.
-This is great, this is.
-I am finding prize pieces.
I think these are gorgeous.
-I love birds, and these are so delicate. Look at them.
You've collected these over the years, Geoff?
My mother collected them.
-Over a period of years.
I think they are gorgeous.
We had to clear her house out and these were...all together,
and we've just had them stored away.
Look how delicate. I think this is gorgeous!
There seemed to be a phase of these bird collectors in the 1960s, 1970s,
and there are lots and lots of firms who did them.
And some of the best examples actually have a matt glaze
or a matt finish, and they're referred to as biscuit porcelain.
They deliberately don't put a protective glaze on the top.
But I see you've got one here... Let me just grab this one.
This one is glazed. Can you see?
This is by Beswick, I recognise that one straight away.
-They were clever.
They used to go out and they would study, sometimes,
championship animals, things that have won prizes, the best of breed,
and they would study the animal.
They would take accurate measurements, like the feathers and the beak,
and try and capture the bird's pose and the bird's character.
And then when that was translated into porcelain,
the end result is wonderful and they're very realistic.
Value-wise, these are not as collected as they used to be.
They probably cost quite a few pounds each, especially firms like Royal Worcester and Beswick.
If I said at least about a fiver each, so you should be looking at
£60 to £80, that sort of price band.
-How does that sound?
-Sounds very good, yes.
I'm going to call the girls in,
-and tell them the good news about the little birdies.
-We've been looking at these lovely birds.
Are they something you like, you two?
-I think they're lovely.
-Well, the birds must fly.
And Paul reckons they could fetch about...£60?
Depending on condition and rarity, I'd say about £60 plus.
-Yes. That's really good.
Actually, that brings us to the end of our day's rummaging.
-I hope you've enjoyed it.
-Very good. It's been great.
-A good day.
We were trying to raise £300 so that you can go on the Orient Express.
At auction, with the items we've had, you will make £390!
That's very good.
-Are you happy with that?
-Yes, very happy.
-Hopefully we'll get that at auction.
We'll see you there on the big sale day. Good luck.
Geoff and Cynthia certainly have an eclectic collection to take off to auction today.
Many of the items reflect Geoff's interests, like the limited-edition
print of the Dumbleton Hall steam train by Don Breckon, at £40 to £70.
And the Stirling Moss autographed photo, complete with
the authenticating letter, at £50 to £70.
Some of them are obviously heirlooms,
like the pretty collection of birds, with their estimate of £60 to £80.
Still to come on Cash In The Attic:
Our boilers stoked, we're ready to roll.
Great! That was a bidding frenzy, then. Very good.
But when it comes to it, will we all be out of puff?
He's not going to sell it.
Find out when the hammer falls.
£50 to buy 292.
Two weeks on and we've upped sticks from Wiltshire and brought Cynthia, Geoff,
their daughter Helen and all their treasures here,
to Chiswick Auction Rooms in west London.
They've had a tough few years because of Geoff's poor health,
so I'm really hoping we can raise that £300
for them to take a trip on the fabulous Orient Express.
All we need now is some fabulous bidding here today when our items go under the hammer.
This bustling saleroom is always a busy place to be,
and with such a large audience, our lovely expert Paul
can't resist pulling a few wheelies.
-Hey, you found my Chopper!
It was a bit of a push all the way from Morecambe but we've arrived!
I love this. I had all sorts of fun. Look, they've done something.
It looks so much brighter. What have they done?
That Vaseline, it's wiped off and it's shown that the metal has stayed intact underneath.
Cover it, and when you come to use it you can polish it up.
Now, I really want to do well today because I think they deserve it.
-Geoff needs a good holiday.
-What a fantastic thing, the Orient Express.
-That's a lifelong dream, isn't it?
-OK, let's go and find the family.
If you're thinking of buying or selling at auction, please remember that charges and VAT will apply.
Geoff, Cynthia and Helen are all here.
They've brought along an old friend.
-How are you, all right?
-The race is on.
-You're looking a little nostalgic there, for Stirling Moss.
Well, if it means we can go on the Orient Express, I think it's worth selling.
Paul's found a bit of interest in one of your other items.
Well, funnily enough, yeah. I just saw there's lots of big boys like me,
reminiscing about the Chopper, and there's been a few guys looking at it.
-I'd be surprised if that doesn't sell today.
Right, well, let's get a good spot and we'll see what happens.
-So it's full-steam ahead in our bid to sell our items for Geoff's dream trip.
-Let's start the sale.
It's a buyer's premium in the room, of 20%.
We take our places as the first lot goes before the room.
Let's hope they raise some interest.
I love Toby jugs. I really do.
They remind me of my granny. And you've got five?
-And one's pretty special.
-Think it'll sell well?
£30 for those. 20 to start me.
£20 I'm bid, 22 I'm bid, 25 I'm bid, 28 I'm bid. £30, 35, £40.
At £40. I'm bid 45 on my right.
At 45, lady's bid. 50, I'll take.
Any more at £45? Selling, then.
So the jugs went down well with the bidders.
And how will the Wedgwood dishes fare?
Five for the lot? And £8, and ten, and 12.
£12 in the middle. 15 is it, now? I have £12 with you, sir, in blue.
Going for £12, and selling.
-That's all right.
A bidding frenzy, there. Very good.
£12 is pretty good.
And when the Spitfire print soars over its lower estimate...
Going for £50, are we all done?
..selling for £50, we're happy.
But our next lot, the wonderful collection of birds, brings us all back to earth...
All done at 35, are you sure? Going on. Any more?
..selling for only £35.
Geoff doesn't look too disappointed.
So far we've raised £142 towards our target of £300
for a day out on the Orient Express.
-And speaking of the golden age of steam engines...
-OK, all aboard?
Now is the turn of the steam train.
The jokes don't get any better!
Well, this is a limited edition, so it's only number 559 out of 650.
-And we're looking for about £40.
-Let's see how we get on.
£40 for that? 20 to start me, then.
£20. At 20. 22, is it, for lot 280a?
At £20. Do I see 22?
Any advance on £20? More at 20?
No further bids. Pass it, then.
-A look of real shock on your face there!
Did you expect better things of that?
-Yes, I did. I did.
-It should have got more than that.
That's a real shame, but perhaps the family could put it into a sale
another day and try again.
The mood doesn't improve when the Victorian jugs and bowls...
Any advance on ten? No further bids on. Disappointing.
..also fail to entice the bidders.
And it goes from bad to worse when the little oak bookcase
doesn't come anywhere near its lowest estimate...
Any further bids on £20? No more.
It isn't quite enough.
..and goes unsold.
Very disappointed that the bookcase didn't sell,
because I thought it would have gone for at least the minimum,
but very disappointed with that.
We've had a bad run, but that's the fickle nature of selling at auction.
And I've got my fingers crossed that the next lot will bring a positive development.
OK, this is a really nice item, actually. A couple of pieces.
It's that lovely camera.
It's all mahogany with the bellows and the brass work.
A very attractive piece, by Sanderson's.
And it comes along with the Box Brownie as well. So we're looking at about £40.
Someone might snap it up!
£20 I'm bid for those. £20, 22, 25, 28.
£30 I have. 35 I'm bid on my left.
At £35, £40, 45.
55. £55 I have on my left. Is it?
£60 I'm bid. 65? £60 to buy 295.
It's going for £60, then, this lot.
That went well, didn't it?
Well, that's the lift we needed.
It's geared us up for the next lot,
the autographed Stirling Moss picture and letter.
£50 for them?
20 to start me, then. At £20, 22, 25, 28, £30. 35, £40.
45 I'm bid. Any more? 45. 463.
Just shy of their lowest estimate,
the autographed photos of Stirling Moss help get us back on track.
But will we be able to reach our target?
There's a lot riding on the Raleigh Chopper.
I think the Chopper bike,
because it was bought for me to ride, I think I rode it once,
so quite exciting to see how much that goes for and what interest there is in it.
I'm very excited about this.
It's the Chopper bike and I'm excited.
It's a great item, and there's been quite a lot of interest, it seems.
I've seen a quite lot of people milling around.
If you had a pound for everyone that's looked at it, you'd already have £40.
It's a very popular item.
Let's hope that they put the bids in and it goes for a good price.
£40. We could be on to a bit more than that.
Let's hope so. This is where the market is at the moment.
But I'm not tempting fate, so let's see how we get on.
Commission interest in this, starting at £40.
-At £40, 45, 50, five, 60, five.
The bid's near me at 65. 70, 75, 80.
-At £80. Near me at £80. On my right at £80.
Anybody going on? At £80 to buyer 235.
Yes, very good.
How's that? Now we're all smiling.
I was really pleased with the Chopper bike making £80.
It was double the estimate, I think.
I think it saved our bacon! It was brilliant.
So how much money have we raised?
Thanks to that Chopper, we have done pretty well today.
We were hoping for £300 to get you on the Orient Express.
You've made your target!
-You've actually made £327.
-Have we really?
That's not bad.
One or two things went unsold, so you've caught up, there.
-Yeah, very good.
-And you get to take your train picture home.
What a result! How do you feel?
Very good, yes.
Victoria Station in London, departure point for the Orient Express.
-Thanks very much.
-Thanks very much.
-Originally, the Orient Express of Agatha Christie fame ran from Paris to Istanbul,
but today the destination is a very British Southampton Central.
After so many cancelled holidays, the most important thing for Geoff is the experience itself.
We've been looking forward to it.
The weather's nice, anyway, so it always makes a good day out.
We are moving. On time.
-Makes a change!
As the train pulls out of the station, the champagne begins to flow.
Powering its way through the countryside at 50mph,
this engine can pull more than 480 tonnes.
Phased out of public use in the 1950s, steam locomotives like these
are remnants of a golden age of travel.
This is one of our ultimate aims, to go on the Orient Express.
So today is the realisation of that dream.
With a round trip of six hours, good company, great food
and beautiful countryside, Geoff and Cynthia will certainly have a day to remember.
All the best! A good day out.
For more information about Cash In The Attic,
including how the programme was made, visit the website at bbc.co.uk.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Geoff and Cynthia Thomas have had more than their fair share of challenges over the last few years and have called in Cash in the Attic to help them raise funds for a trip of a lifetime.