Series looking at the value of household junk. Budding novelist Tricia Putwain invites the team to the Welsh town of Tenby to help her raise funds for a trip to Dublin.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the programme that finds antiques around your home,
then sells them with you at auction.
Today, I'm in the very picturesque harbour town of Tenby in South Wales.
Known locally as "the little fortress of the fish", this walled town overlooks a stunning harbour.
There's evidence of human habitation here from over 10,000 years ago,
but the walls were built in 1093 in defence of the Welsh nationalists.
During the 1800s, Tenby became something of a health spa hot spot
when wealthy Victorians flocked to this coast to take the healing waters.
These days, Tenby is more a tonic for the soul
with its very pretty pastel-washed houses, its cobbled streets and its glorious sunny beaches.
I could stay here a bit longer, but I've got a busy day ahead of me.
'Coming up today, a family with a psychedelic background.'
-I've got to ask you, Tricia, were you a bit of a hippy chick?
-In my dreams I'd have liked to have been.
'An expert with a playful streak.'
You've caught me again in the boys' toys corner.
-'And an auction that defies all the usual rules.'
-I'll put £5 towards your bid, sir.
'So will normal service have resumed when the final hammer falls?'
Thank you very much, everybody.
I've come to this really lovely Welsh coastal town
to meet a woman who's called us in
to help her realise a literary ambition.
'Tricia Putwain has lived in Tenby nearly all of her life.
'She has a huge range of interests, including working as the weather recorder for the local Met Office.
'She took over from husband Dickie when he passed away five years ago.
'Daughter Rosie has returned home from Southampton where she's doing a doctorate in Maths
'to help her mother tot up the antiques today.'
John, isn't it nice to be beside the seaside, get a lungful of that fresh sea air?
I live by the seaside, Portsmouth, home of HMS Victory,
-but this is a very charming place, absolutely wonderful, picture postcard.
I don't know that there are too many nautical references inside the house, but there are a lot of books,
-so shall we go and get started?
-Hi, Rosie, Trish.
-You've got a house full of stuff here.
-Why have you called us in?
-I write as a hobby
and I'd like to go on a trip and perhaps get some literary inspiration.
-Some of these things have got to go to auction to help you achieve that?
-What will we find in the house?
I inherited a lot from my parents. Dickie, my late husband, inherited a lot from his
-and we got various clutter as we went along as well.
-"Clutter", that's an interesting word, Rosie.
-Do you reckon it's all clutter?
-None of it that you fancy having yourself?
-No, she did offer me, but I haven't got anywhere to put it.
-So it's got to go?
-Yeah, I think so.
-How much do you want to raise then?
Well, £400, say. If we got more, so much the better, but 400 would do me fine.
-Shall we go and find John and see if we can get you top of the bestsellers' list?
'So we're hoping to find £400-worth of items to sell, so that Trisha can head off into the unknown
'and find fresh inspiration for her writing.
'John Cameron is pretty inspired when it comes to spotting antiques and collectables,
'but is his vision being blurred by the purple haze?'
-Knowing your taste in music and love of all things from the '60s,
-I should think you're in seventh heaven here.
These are fantastic. Everything we need to know is on the posters.
This one here is advertising Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
This one here is the UFO Club in London and everything we need to know is on the bottom.
We can see who the design team were - Hapshash & The Coloured Coat.
That was essentially a design team comprising Michael English and Nigel Waymouth
who set up to pretty much produce posters like this for the growing psychedelic movement.
-Things like this are very collectable?
-There is a lot of interest in pop memorabilia.
Estimate-wise, in this condition, I'd be looking at £80 to £120.
-Each or together?
-Together. I wouldn't be surprised if they made more because they are wonderful.
-OK, shall we rock on and see what else we can find?
'So the '60s posters make the grade, but there's a long way to go.
'Hey, Joe, I mean Rosie, time to stop grooming and get stuck in.
'I've found something that bidders might snap up.
'These cigarette cases could make £20 to £30.
'In one of the bedrooms, something shiny has caught John's attention.'
-Rosie, I've got a couple of interesting mugs I want to ask you about.
-Ah, the christening mugs.
-Yes. Whose are they?
-I think they would be my grandparents'.
The tradition of giving christening gifts stems from Christ
and the Three Wise Men giving gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
and sadly, with the decline of the amount of people getting christened,
it's something that isn't done as frequently as it was early last century or in the Victorian period.
You get christening mugs for all budgets. This one would be slightly cheaper because it's silver-plated.
If we look on the base, we can see it's got "EPNS" which stands for electro-plated nickel silver.
On the other hand, this one is solid silver
and we can tell that because we have this set of useful hallmarks on the side here.
-Value-wise, I think we'd be looking at about £30 to £50, something like that.
-Does that surprise you?
-I wouldn't pay that much for them myself.
Do you think Mum might have more silver objects around the house?
-Yeah, I think she's had some that are in the family.
-Let's go and see what we can do.
-'I prefer a spot of brass.'
'Rosie is true to her word and finds these silver cigarette boxes.
'Date-stamped 1943, they could attract attention in the auction
'at £40-£60 which would bring us closer to Tricia's target
'of £400 for her horizon-expanding trip.
'But why would she need to travel for writing inspiration
'when on her doorstep is a window to a whole new world?'
Trish, this is such a wonderful place to live. When did you first come to Tenby?
My parents moved the family down when I was five and we lived over on the south side of the town,
then we moved back 23 years ago.
-Did you meet your husband here in Tenby?
-No, I met him at a party in London. It was a terrible party.
Very dull. And he walked through
and he had long hair, a suede jacket with fringes, flared trousers and I thought, "Wow!"
-Anybody would, wearing that.
-Well, I did, definitely.
-So we went out for about three weeks, then he left me and went home to Mother.
-Oh, the rotter!
We got back together again about five years later and it was plain sailing from then on.
-27 years of happy marriage?
-And came back to Tenby?
-And you were a teacher, weren't you?
-Yes, I was.
I taught all the age range from four up to 18.
You've got your degree in Chemistry, but also you're now working on a degree in Philosophy. Why's that?
I don't want my brain to seize up completely and Philosophy is a fascinating subject.
-I'd never done any before.
-You're doing a writing course as well. Why's that?
We've got a writers' circle in Tenby. We give each other constructive criticism. I have written a novel.
-What's that about?
-A girl growing up in Tenby.
-So not a lot of research there?
-No, that was cunning.
-We used to do bed and breakfast, so there's anecdotes I've weaved in about that.
-Sounds like a good book.
I was happy with it, but I'd like to polish it up a bit.
So this trip that you're going to go on to get inspiration - where would you really like to go?
-Dublin sounds very attractive.
-We want inspiration to find a few more things to help you make that trip.
-Shall we leave this wonderful scenery behind and pop back into the house?
'And back in the house, John is still weighing up the options.
'He's found these Griffin and George scientific scales in a glass case
'and thinks £30-£50 is a fair price.
'Tricia has accumulated some interesting objects over the years. Some are more refined than others.'
Tricia, what about these decanter and four glasses? Is this something we can consider for auction?
-Have you ever used them?
No, they're so delicate that I'm scared to use them, so they might as well go.
That's why people don't use them. They're too frightened of damaging antique glass.
The other more important reason people don't use decanters so much
is because of modern wine production techniques.
They used to decant wine as wine bottles had sediment in the bottom,
so you'd have to put a wine funnel in with a fine wire gauze in,
pour the wine off, trying to keep as much in the bottle. Anything that came out was caught in the gauze.
You decanted it to get the muck out, but this is nice.
-Any idea of how old it is?
It does have a bit of age to it. It's Edwardian. We can tell that primarily from the decoration.
It's not been over-decorated and it's a break from the Victorians.
The Edwardians considered themselves a little more sophisticated,
so their decoration tends to be light and elegant.
-We ought to be looking at least £30 to £50 for the decanter and four glasses.
-Are you happy with that?
'There's no time to test the decanter with an afternoon tipple as there's work to be done.
'Rosie has found a tribe of figures.
'This diorama of Malayan figures of tea plantation workers
'is tricky to date,
'but John thinks someone might part with £40-£80 for it.
'And speaking of tea plantations, anyone for a cuppa?'
What a very nice tea caddy!
-And what's this inside it?
-Did I hear someone say "tea caddy"?
John, you take a look at that a moment.
While you're looking at it, Tricia, what's this letter tucked away inside?
It says here, "Muswell Hill, May the 16th, 1931."
It's "to my very dear Bess", which was my mother-in-law. It's from "Grandpa".
He says here, "I've been keeping a little present for you for quite a long time now.
"It's an inlaid, antique, maplewood tea caddy."
-Had Grandad got it right, John?
-Yes, it is a maplewood tea caddy.
It's a lovely classic tea caddy. This one is 19th century, a Victorian one.
It's a classic shape, that sarcophagus shape.
You do see a lot of tea caddies of this form, but it's the materials that enhance the beauty of them.
It's nice to see this lovely burr maplewood which is beautiful. It's a deep, rich colour.
When you open it up inside, you're not disappointed, this lovely crushed purple velvet in here.
You've still got the covers to the caddies, which are great, and the little ivory pulls on there.
-We can see where the tea once went.
-If that went to auction, what sort of price might we get?
I'd see no trouble in it making about £80-£120.
-That's good. Excellent.
-Shall we go and see what else we can find?
-Come on then.
'We've been making great progress towards our £400 target and Tricia's found another little antique
'which just might prove to be a flawless find. This Edwardian compact could make £30-£50.
'But we do need one other item to drive us into profit.'
-So what do you think about these? Do you think we can sell some of these?
-It's an extensive collection.
-How did it start?
-This was my dad's collection.
-Apparently, he started when he was eight years old.
-Do you have any favourites among this lot?
I remember him telling me about the ones that are quite old. There's this fire engine.
This one as well. These were some of the ones he'd had the longest, so they were important to my dad.
The Matchbox ones started in the '50s, probably when Dad got them.
Matchbox was formed by Jack O'Dell and the company was set up to compete with Dinky.
And Dinky itself was originally Meccano Miniatures,
being part of Frank Hornby's toy railway system until they coined the name Dinky.
So we've got some early ones in this collection. Largely, they look to be more modern examples.
-How many vehicles do you think are in the collection?
-About 270 altogether.
-What do you think it's worth?
-Even if we get £1 for each, that's still a few hundred pounds.
That's not a bad guestimate, Rosie. And Angela has caught me again in the boys' toys corner!
These cars are very collectable and some are very rare.
I would expect them to make between £200 and £400 and, who knows, possibly a bit more than that.
That's absolutely great news, John, because I've done some maths now.
And I reckon that we should be able to make at least £580.
-How much is that more than your mother wants?
She didn't get a first in Maths for nothing!
£580 is what we might make when we go to auction. Let's truck on and see what we can get.
'It's been plain sailing on our rummage today in south-west Wales and we've got lots of great antiques
'with which to cruise off to auction.
'There's the original '60s Hendrix and Pink Floyd posters
'which belonged to Tricia's husband, valued at £80-£120.
'And the fleet of Corgi, Matchbox and Dinky toys
'which, together as a dealer's lot, could fetch £200-£400.
'Still to come on Cash In The Attic, it's mixed emotions as some items take our breath away.'
I stopped breathing for a moment there.
'While others need a helping hand.'
£50, Geoff? And a crispy £5 note. Come on, £50...
'And one sale defies logic altogether.'
I don't think HE knows why!
-'So will it be a happy ending when the final hammer falls?'
A week or two has passed since we were with Tricia and Rosie Putwain
at their home in the wonderfully picturesque Welsh town of Tenby.
We've brought some of their family heirlooms here to Liverpool to sell today at Cato Crane Auctioneers.
Now, Tricia wants £400, so that she can go on a bit of a literary trip
to give her some inspiration for a new book.
Obviously, what we're hoping is that we'll have a lot of bestsellers when her things go under the hammer.
'Fortunately, there are plenty of bidders in the saleroom,
'some having a very close look at the items, so hopefully that's a good sign.
'I spot John Cameron eyeing up one of the most vivid lots on the list today.'
-John, don't they speak of an era!
-Don't they? Aren't they so bold?
I'm glad the auctioneers have laid them out like this.
And you had that amazing collection of cars and lorries collected by her husband.
-Do we think they'll do well?
-They were great fun. I'm sure Tricia hasn't missed them around the house.
I think she was keen to get them off the wall.
Tricia and Rosie have just arrived, so shall we ask her if she's hung on to any of them?
'It's been a cross-country trek for Tricia and Rosie from their home in Wales to the auction in Liverpool,
'but let's hope they do well enough to make sure Tricia's got a more worthwhile trip on the horizon.'
-Hi, Tricia, Rosie.
Last look at the cars before they roar off. Will you be sad to see them go?
-A little bit, but I have kept some.
-Which ones did you keep?
Ones we bought together when we were on holiday, ones we saved up wrappers for and sent for.
But you have some really lovely things - that tea caddy with that very personal family letter inside.
-Hopefully, someone will appreciate that.
We want to send you off on a trip to get some inspiration for a book.
-Why don't we go and take our place? Come on.
'If you're going to buy or sell at auction, be aware that commission will be added to your bill,
'so always check the details with the saleroom first. And as the auctioneer gets the day under way...
'..we take our positions for the auction.
'Hopefully, there's a hippy chick happy to part with £80-£120
'for our first lot - the Hendrix and Pink Floyd posters.'
This was very much the period
when you and your husband were courting and all of that stuff was going on in the '60s.
-It was all happening, yes.
-Is it all gonna happen for us in the auction room?
They're great visual pieces and Hendrix and Pink Floyd encapsulate everything about that era,
so I've got high hopes for them.
£50 is bid to start me off. Who's coming in? £50 is bid.
60. 70. 80.
90. £90 now.
I'm gonna sell at £90.
90 over there. All done then...?
Well, it made your estimate and some.
-So they've gone.
-Yeah. Oh, well...
-Don't feel bad about it?
'The posters really got the saleroom rocking,
'selling over estimate at £90.
'And we're off and running towards our £400 target.
'Next on the list is the George III maplewood tea caddy
'with that hand-written note
'which we hope will add £80-£120 to the total.'
45. 50. 55. 60.
65, sir. 70. 75?
£70 here. We'd like a little bit more if we can.
All done at £75 now? I'm going to sell it for 75...
I'd like a bit more, but that's the way it goes. £75...
On commission at 75.
-I'm happy with that.
-'It's not quite as much as we were hoping for.
'But a commissioned bid at just £5 under John's lowest estimate
'is still a pretty good result.
'We hope the bids will pour in for the decanter with five glasses.
'John is expecting £30-£50 and when the bidding comes to an end...'
A nice object at £45, all done...?
'It adds another £45 to the pot, putting us right back on track.
'Next up, if there's any justice in the room,
'these Griffin and George scientific scales should tip the balance
'in our favour to the tune of £30-£50.'
-£20 is bid.
-Somebody over there already at 20.
35 anywhere now? OK, £30.
All done at £30...?
£30 is bid.
On our lower estimate. Not too bad.
'There were just a couple of bids on the scales,
'but they sold bang on John's £30 valuation
'and Tricia moves another step closer to her trip to Dublin.
'Next to go under the hammer is the first of today's silver lots.'
You've got £40-£60 on this as a job lot, John.
I'm hoping for mid to top estimate just for the silver cigarette boxes.
£30 is bid. 30.
35. 40. Where are we, sir? 40.
-No? One more, sir? 55 is bid here.
60 to the lady now? 60 is bid.
-Top end of your estimate, John.
-65. 70, madam?
70 is bid. 75? £70 is bid.
Your bid, madam, at £70 now. All done at 70...
-How's it going so far?
'The hammer comes down £10 above John's top estimate which bodes well for the silver to follow.
'Next up is the cigarette cases,
'including one with a Motorcycling Club emblem,
'valued as a lot at £20-£30.'
Selling now at 50...
'That's two and a half times John's estimate. A fantastic result!
'Hopes are high that the silver rush continues
'with the two christening mugs.'
45 is bid down the room now. £45 is bid.
Any further bid? Any advance on £45?
45 is bid. Gentleman right down the room there.
'With the hammer falling £15 over estimate, it's another great result.
'There are smiles all round as we move on to the Malayan tea planters,
'a highly unusual lot which John guestimates might make £40.'
20 over there. 25.
30. I think they're quite nice. 30. 35.
-£35-worth of interest already.
£40. Well, not bad.
One more. And one more is bid. And Geoffrey, £50 now?
And I'll put £5 towards your bid, sir. £50, Geoff?
And a crispy £5 note. Come on. £50?
Yes or no?
No. £45 here.
All done at 45...?
Thank you very much indeed.
-Did he buy them for the figures, the completed thing or the dome?
-I don't know.
The auctioneer was gonna shame him into buying them. I don't think HE knows why he bought them!
'Whatever the reason, it's another £45 towards the 400 Tricia needs
'for her inspirational trip to Ireland.
'John's on more familiar territory when it comes to the silver compact with the blue flower motif.'
All done at 40... Your bid, sir. Buyer 413.
'£40 is right in the middle of John's estimate.
'I have a feeling that things have gone pretty well,
'but next up is the final lot and Tricia's most valuable item.
'With a valuation of £200, the vast collection of toy cars and vans
'could bring in half of the target on their own,
'so we're really hoping for a good result.'
-Mixed feelings about seeing them go?
-A little bit.
They look a bit lonely here away from the home. But they've got to go.
I can start it at £50. 50. All done at £50? 50.
60. I've got bids everywhere. I've got one on here too. 80. 90.
100. And 10. 120.
130. 140. 150?
140 there. I've got 150.
150. 160. 170. 180.
190. 200? 200?
I've got 190 here. 200?
£200. Any more anywhere?
210, thank you. 210. 220?
210 down the room. A new bidder at £210 now.
£210 now. Down the room at 210. All done?
Your bid... £210.
Still smiling? Have you gone a bit pink?
I stopped breathing for a moment there when it sort of stuck a bit at about 100.
'We can all start breathing again now
'as £210 is by far the best result of a very successful auction
'here in Liverpool. Let's find out how much we've made.'
-We haven't raised £400.
-We have raised a bit more than that, Tricia.
-We've raised £700.
-So what word are you gonna put on it now?
-Oh, wonderful. Best experience ever!
It's been a couple of weeks now since budding novelist Tricia had such a great auction.
As a result of making so much extra cash, she's brought Rosie and her boyfriend Ollie along
on her writing trip to check out the cultural delights of Dublin,
home to Ireland's greatest literary icon, James Joyce.
I'm looking forward to looking at all the attractions. I think it's going to be a fantastic weekend.
I've never been to Ireland before, so I'm looking forward to seeing the sights and going to some pubs.
-Have some Guinness.
The beers will have to wait because this is Tricia's writing-inspired trip.
At the James Joyce Centre, she gets a flavour for the ideas behind some of literature's best known stories.
"Joyce's importance as a writer can be measured more through the authors and artists inspired by him.'
A walking tour of the city is the best way to see the sights
and you can get your own guide to talk you through the key Joyce locations.
The central character comes from Number 7, Eccles Street.
What you see here is the front door from Number 7, Eccles Street.
He was a quite extraordinary dresser and as a result, he appears as a character in Joyce's novel.
But after an inspirational day, it's only right to absorb some of Ireland's second greatest export.
Cheers. I think we've earned this.
It's been a really good trip. I've seen all the sights, been everywhere and even found time to have a pint.
Now all I've got to do is go home and try and manufacture it all into some wonderful book or other.
What a great trip that was for Tricia and let's hope it's given her lots of ideas for a brand-new novel!
If there's something you'd like to raise money for and you have things you'd be happy to send to auction,
get in touch with the programme. You'll find all the details at:
We'll look forward perhaps to seeing you on Cash In The Attic.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2009
Email [email protected]
Budding novelist Tricia Putwain invites Angela Rippon and the Cash team to the stunning Welsh town of Tenby to help her raise funds for an inspirational trip to the home of great literature - Dublin.