Series looking at the value of household junk. Fiona Inglis, mother of West End star Duncan James, enlists Lorne Spicer and John Cameron to help raise money for a special trip.
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Welcome to the show that finds hidden treasures in your home and helps you sell them at auction.
Nowadays, we are all inheriting lots of stuff from our parents,
but when we become parents ourselves
and the children have literally flown the nest,
they have a tendency to leave a lot of stuff behind.
But, in some cases, that can be beneficial, as we'll find out
with the items we're looking at later today in Cash In The Attic.
I've come to St Albans in Hertfordshire to meet a lovely lady
who's called in the Cash In The Attic team
to help her get a day out at a top London musical.
On today's Cash In The Attic, we meet the mother of a famous pop star,
and he is heading to her auction hall.
He didn't want to take it with him.
It was too big, so he's decided to give it to me, to put in my garage.
And an Edwardian music maker has John dancing the blues away.
-Shall we hear it one more time?
-Yeah, go on, then.
-GRAINY MUSIC PLAYS
On auction day, will the bidders be in unison with John's valuations?
£20. Any interest at all at £20?
-Oh, come on.
-Any interest at all at £10 for the Eastern box?
Find out what happens when that hammer falls.
Fiona Inglis has a bit of wanderlust about her.
Being the daughter of an army officer, her family moved around quite a bit when she was growing up,
and she's continued this pattern as an adult.
She had her only son Duncan when she was 23,
and for many years they lived in Devon.
Duncan is a singer with the pop band Blue and lives in London now.
So, seven years ago, Fiona moved to her current home to be nearer to him.
The house is now too large, and she's in the process of moving
and using the opportunity to have a clear-out.
So, on hand to assess the findings is our expert valuer John Cameron,
who has many years in the business.
While he gets today's rummage under way,
I go in search of Fiona and her good friend Janice, who's here to help.
-Ah, good morning, ladies.
-How are you?
-Oh, we're very well.
-The sun's shining.
-It makes all the difference.
-Nice autumn day.
-So, Fiona, this is your house.
-And, Janice, you've come along to help today?
So, how do you to know each other?
Well, Janice is my pet-sitter.
She put an advert up in the window of the local shop, and I answered it.
-That was about seven years ago.
So, how many pets do you sit now?
I've got 45, 46 customers.
OK, so why have you called in Cash In The Attic, then?
I'm selling my house. I need to downsize
and I've just been gathering stuff over the years.
And I'm panicking like mad because I've got to move to a smaller house.
Where am I going to put everything?
I think I know part of the reason why your house is so cluttered.
I can see you've got a famous son who's left a few bits here.
Well, my son is Duncan James, and he's in a band called Blue, yes.
A lot of it is his fault, actually, because he's a clutterer as well.
I tend to gather a lot of his stuff that he doesn't want any more.
The money we raise, have you any ideas how you'd like to spend it?
Every bit will help towards the cost of the move.
Also, I would like to take Janice into London for the day
and perhaps go and see a musical, because we both like musicals.
-She'd love that.
-Thank you. You don't have to do that, though.
Oh, no, but you deserve it.
And how much are you looking at?
Well, it would be great if I could raise about £500.
OK, if we're going to raise the £500 you need
we'd better track down John Cameron, and see what he's found to sell.
The stuff that Fiona has accumulated over the years
is not only her own and Duncan's,
but also items that belonged to her parents, who died ten years ago.
John has already spotted something of theirs that's not quite what it seems.
-What have you found here, then?
I've been looking at this interesting piece of furniture.
But first, Fiona, I'm hoping you could shed some light on it.
My mum called it the kidney-shaped desk.
I remember Mum was really particular about what went on the top of it.
She didn't want this being marked.
It was in beautiful condition, but since I've had it,
-I've put things on the top.
My mother would turn in her grave if she saw it.
-You always remember it with this leather top?
OK, well, that's interesting because it didn't start out life as a desk.
This is part of a bedroom suite,
probably dating from just after the war,
late '40s, early '50s.
And these handles are also very consistent with that.
And look at these drawers.
They wouldn't be much use as a desk.
You wouldn't be able to get A4 paper in those.
Think about pedestal desks. They have wider drawers.
-Well, where do we stand in terms of it going to auction?
Is it something that you want to sell, Fiona?
Well, I think it depends on how much it would fetch, really,
because I do have a bit of sentimental attachment to it.
What sort of value might we be talking about?
I'd still be cautious and bearing in mind the condition - there's a few little chips of veneer -
-I wouldn't want more than £40 to £60 for it,
And how do you feel about that?
Erm, a little bit mixed at the moment. I'm not too sure.
Fiona also spots this silver electroplated tray,
which her mother used to proudly display on the sideboard.
John values it at a very affordable £20-£30.
In the bedroom, I find a decorative wooden writing box from the 1920s,
which Fiona bought from a car boot sale.
So a £20 to £30 estimate doesn't seem at all bad.
So, what is it like having a famous son?
Well, it's very exciting, in many ways.
And it's great fun, going to see different things that he's doing.
And obviously, I'm very, very proud of him.
And it's quite overwhelming at times, it really is.
When was the first time that it suddenly hit you, and you thought,
"Oh, my goodness, my son is really famous"?
I think it was the first time they won a BRIT Award
and I was whisked into London to go and see them being presented with it
and having a chauffeur-driven car, which I'd never had before,
and being given champagne to drink while you were in the car,
and then going to the event and being ushered in and seeing my son.
Oh, it was just incredible. I'll never forget that.
I can understand wanting to downsize, to get rid of some YOUR clutter.
I'm concerned about what is Duncan going to do with all HIS stuff?
-Good question, but he's already told me he wants me to put it into storage.
While we've been chatting,
John and Janice have been busy searching the house,
and Janice has found this 20th-century Imari vase.
It belonged to Fiona's parents, and she always liked it.
But at £80 to £100, she's happy to let it go for a good cause.
Janice has also spotted a late-Victorian box
decorated with porcupine quills.
Fiona bought it for £2 at a car boot sale and, though it's a bit damaged,
John thinks a collector might buy it for spares
and it gets a £30-£40 price tag.
John, could you come and have a look at this, please?
That looks rather stunning, Fiona. Where did it come from?
I've had it in my house the last few years.
It was my son who gave it to me after he moved house, because it was too big for him to take.
I've never actually played it, but I believe it does work.
Let's see if we can get this...
Give that a little turn. This should release the power.
There we are, look at that. Perfect. This is nearly 100 years old,
and that's still working fantastically.
Just put the arm over. See if we can get a tune out of this.
GRAINY, DISTORTED MUSIC PLAYS
What a fantastic sound, eh?
-I'm glad to say sound quality has improved immensely.
It's amazing to see it here, in working order, now.
Sadly, when these turn up at auction, they don't make as much as we would expect.
And seriously, I've found some fantastic table-top gramophones like this in my time,
and they seldom ever make over about £100.
Unless you've got the earlier types with the big brass or papier-mache horns.
And also, the other thing is that things do get swapped, things get changed or they get broken,
so condition is all-important.
We're looking for something like £60 to £80.
I'd like to think it would make over 100.
-Yeah, that's fine.
-Shall we hear it one more time?
-Yeah, go on, then.
-GRAINY MUSIC PLAYS
The record may be distorted, but let's hope the auction bidders
are in harmony with John's estimate.
Oh, come on!
We still have quite a way to go until the auction,
so it's back to the search at Fiona's house.
John has found this embossed, twin-handled planter.
Fiona used it as an umbrella stand, but it's been left high and dry for years.
So at £20 to £30, she's happy for it to scuttle along to the auction.
-Oh, wow, look at that!
-So you did find something in the garage.
I did, yes. Yes, I forgot about that, actually.
And the animals are in there, hopefully two by two.
-Hopefully, yes, I think so.
-I'm guessing this was Duncan's?
It looks to me like it was made before felt-tips. What's the history to this?
Well, he used to play with that when he was a child,
and it's always been in our home, in our family home, for as long as I can remember.
-Did you play with it as a child?
-I did. I certainly remember it.
And it automatically got passed down to Duncan when he was a little boy,
and he used to play with it on the floor in the lounge.
-You don't know where it originally came from?
-Haven't a clue.
So I wonder if it was one of your parents' before you.
Is it that sort of age?
Well, these Noah's arks date from late Victorian period
into the early 20th century, and most of them seem to emanate from Germany,
where there's a strong tradition in wooden toy manufacture
and an indigenous, plentiful supply of pine for making them.
-How popular are these at auction?
-It's a collector's thing.
It's not the sort of thing one would buy for a child these days.
Small pieces can break off, and this wouldn't pass current safety standards. It's a collector's item.
I'd like to think you're looking at £200 to £300 for it.
-Not the price you expected for it.
-No! No, no.
-That's pretty good!
-Shall we leave you to count them in?
-I'll count them in.
Come on, quick, that's going to be a long job.
There are so many interesting things to sort through, and it all takes time to assess.
But it's Fiona that spots the next good one.
-How are you getting on?
I found this and I was wondering if you could have a look at it for me.
We can see they were issued in 1974
to commemorate the 100 years of Churchill's birth in 1874.
-Where did they come from?
-They belonged to my father.
He was a great supporter of Churchill, and I found them
in the attic after my father died.
Churchill's popularity has never seemed to wane.
I know recently, there was a national poll that was televised,
and Churchill came out as the overall winner.
So it just goes to show what a difference he made and how loved he is today.
Let's look through the medals. So here we are,
the Three-Power Conference, with Stalin, Eisenhower and Churchill.
We've got VE-Day there. Well, that's a nice collection.
-They're made of silver.
I suspect they probably weigh about an ounce each, so we do have a benchmark on which to value them.
So, I think something like this at auction today, we'd be looking at
about £100 to £150, something like that. Would that be OK?
Certainly would. I'm downsizing, so every little bit helps, definitely.
Another couple of items bought by her son Duncan,
are this framed gold disc
of The Beatles' Please Please Me
plus a framed ticket and photos from their final US tour.
Beatles memorabilia is always a sure-fire winner at auction,
and at £200 to £300, I think Fiona will be very pleased with that.
-Hello! What have you got there?
-I found something else in my garage!
Is this something Duncan dumped on you, or something you purchased?
I'm afraid it is. Yes, it is. When he moved from his last flat, he didn't want to take it with him.
It was too big. So he's decided to give it to me to put in my garage.
-And now it's too big for me to take with me, so...
-Is he OK about you selling this?
-OK. What is it?
-Well, we can see it is a limited-edition print.
It's by Ronnie Wood, iconic guitarist with the Rolling Stones.
But what not a lot of people realise is that prior to his music career taking off,
Ronnie Wood trained as an artist.
It's not something he just picked up whiling away the hours on tour buses.
He trained at the Ealing College of Art, in London.
But when you look at this picture, it's titled the Decades.
I don't think there are two groups more iconic in the '60s than the Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
What I love about it is his choice of background,
the Union Jack, the Union Flag, which itself was a symbol
of the pop culture, the youth movement of the '60s, the mods.
The original would have sold
for several thousand pounds, over £10,000.
There is a demand for the prints, some of which can make four figures.
But I'd have no problem estimating that at about £300 to £400.
-Gosh! That's great!
Now, you obviously wanted £500 so that you can obviously put some money towards the move,
but also have a lovely day out in London, take in a West End musical.
How do you feel about staying overnight in the West End?
Because the value of everything going to auction comes to £1,070!
-No, no, I'm serious.
-My goodness! I never thought that!
-No, I didn't, no.
-Oh, I'm amazed.
And he's tight with his estimates, so we might make even more.
Thank you very much!
What a fantastic end to the day.
And if John's valuations are accurate, we're in for a great day at the auction, too.
Here's a review of some of the things Fiona will be taking there.
The Winston Churchill centenary medals Fiona's father bought in 1974
should credit the kitty with £100 to £150.
And there's the early 20th-century table-top gramophone.
That would add something to the tune of £60 to £80.
And not forgetting that late Victorian wooden Noah's ark.
Hopefully, that'll bring in a flood of bids and reach £200 to £300.
Still to come on Cash In The Attic, we're a little confused
when the bidding for the silver-plated tray gets going.
Is this us?
It can't be.
And Fiona is getting a bit anxious about letting go of an item with sentimental value.
Stop biting your nails! It's OK!
So, find out how we get on when the final hammer falls.
Now, it's been some time since we visited Fiona.
If you remember, when we got there,
she was having a big clear-out in preparation for her house move.
But, we managed to get there just in time, because we've saved lots of valuable items
and brought them here, to Sworders Auction House in Stansted Mountfitchet.
Now, if you remember, she wanted to raise £500 so she could treat her dog-walker Janice
to a lovely day out in London and hopefully take in a show.
So today we need to hope that the bidders are ready to dig deep to help us reach that target.
Sworders' purpose-built saleroom has been operating for 18 months.
There are almost 700 lots today, so the bidders are very busy
assessing the items that take their fancy.
We find Fiona and Janice eyeing up the competition.
Are you looking for a replacement for a desk, by any chance?
-No. I decided not to bring my desk.
-Oh, you haven't?
-No, I haven't.
-Was it because you didn't like my valuation?
-It could have been, actually. Yeah, I decided to keep it.
Absolutely. I completely agree. Nothing worse than selling it and regretting it later.
I'm going to be strong, because I've come here to sell, not buy.
That's very impressive.
See whether you can hold out for the whole sale that way, shall we?
Well, we've got money to make, a day out to organise, so let's go and make some money!
If, like Fiona, you're keen to raise money by selling at auction,
do bear in mind that there are charges to be paid, including commission,
which vary from one saleroom to another. It's always worth inquiring in advance.
And the auction has already started,
so we quietly take our places where we won't cause too much disruption.
Let's hope Jack stays nice and quiet.
The first of Fiona's items to come up today is the 19th century porcupine-quill box.
Because it has some missing quills, John valued it at just £30 to £40.
£20 for it. Who'll start me at £20?
Any interest at £20? 10, then.
-Oh, come on!
-£10 for the Eastern box.
-10, 12, 15...
18. 20. £20 is bid. At £20.
If there's no more interest at £20.... No more interest? Not sold.
The auctioneer looks like he's exercised his discretion and not sold the item.
-Possibly thought it was worth more.
-We would have been happy with...
-Happy with the £20?
What can we do about that? Will he have noted the underbidder?
Possibly, he may be able to approach them after the auction.
-But we'll have to wait and see.
I really don't want to take it home.
All right, well, let's see what else we can sell first.
Let's hope the bidders like Fiona's next item, the signed Ronnie Wood print of The Stones and The Beatles.
This is quite a significant piece. We need to make the money on this. What are we looking for?
Looking for £300 to £400, but that is in line with
what Ronnie Wood's prints make in the second-hand market.
Subject matter-wise, they don't come more popular than the Rolling Stones or The Beatles.
Fingers crossed this is going to be one of our star lots.
At £160. Do I see 170 in the room?
At £160. A limited-edition print at £160. Are we all done and finished?
180. All done and finished, then, at £180? No more interest?
Right, now, look, that only got up to £180, so that hasn't sold either.
-How do you feel about that?
You wouldn't have wanted to sell for £180, though, Fiona, would you?
-You just wanted rid of it?
Well, to be honest with you, it's worth more than that.
I think that may be another one that Fiona will want John to chase up
and find out if the underbidder is still interested.
Will she have a change of fortune with the next item -
the embossed, twin-handled planter, priced at £20 to £30?
Decorative item there. £20?
For 10? 10 is bid. Lady's bid at £10. Do I see 12 anywhere else now?
£10 bid. Do I see 12 anywhere now? At £10. 12.
£18 in the front here.
Selling at £18. I'm going to sell at £18. All done?
£18. Well, that's not bad, only £2 under the estimate.
No, that's not too bad at all.
We've got off to a shaky start
and the bidders don't seem too keen on Fiona's Imari vase either.
£20. Are we selling at £20? Are we all done and finished?
22. 25. 28.
Oh, look, starting to go.
Lady's bid here at £30. We're going to sell at £30. £30.
That's considerably under our estimate.
It goes to show how much that's dropped in demand, which is quite heartbreaking, really.
It is disappointing. But, as Fiona said, she really needs
to sell things here today if she wants to reach her £500 target.
Our next lot, I think is definitely my favourite. It's the Noah's ark.
-I think these are so charming!
-Yeah, I feel quite attached to this.
I can understand that. Duncan's signed it - I think he was six at the time.
-Was that his first ever...?
I think it was, actually. I think he must have known something then!
The Noah's ark with carved wood animals...
-Stop biting your nails! It's OK!
-£100. We're away.
130. 140. 150. 160.
There we are, 160.
£220 is here with me on a commission.
We're selling at £220. All done?
-That is good. I am pleased with that.
Well, it's certainly given us a huge leap towards Fiona's target.
And it's quickly followed by the 1920s' wooden writing box...
32. Selling at £32. All done at 32?
..which becomes the first item today to exceed John's upper estimate.
It's been a bit of a rollercoaster
but with half our lots sold, we've made £300 towards our £500 target,
so not bad at all.
The next lot on the list
is the early 20th-century table-top gramophone.
It's a lovely example of a HMV gramophone.
And £60 to £80 doesn't sound like a huge amount of money for it,
but for a decorating object, people aren't prepared to pay much more.
I would give it house room at that estimate.
Hopefully, someone in the room feels the same.
Lot number 70, the oak-case gramophone.
Start us away here at £30 for it.
-Oh, come on.
-£30 is bid. 5. 40.
-55 we're at for the gramophone.
-£65 at the back.
Selling at £65. All done at 65?
£5 over John's lower estimate.
I think Fiona is just pleased to be getting rid of stuff
and raising some money into the bargain, too.
Next is the silver-plated tray.
John's estimate was £20 to £30,
and I think we've been chatting too much to notice the bidding's already started.
Right, we're here at £40. £40 is bid. Take 5. 45.
-Right, this is the tray. Oh, hello, this is going well. Is this us?
80. £80 is bid. Now at £80.
-Do I see 85 anywhere?
-It can't be.
Selling at 85. 90. 5. 100.
-Are you sure?
That was way over John's top estimate,
Let's hope the Beatles' memorabilia proves just as popular.
We're looking for at least £200.
Right, two framed Beatles items here.
We've got the gold record Please Please Me, limited edition,
number ten of only fifty made.
The other item is The Beatles' last tour, USA,
and we've got number seven of only a thousand of these made.
-So I'm guessing these were Duncan's.
-Yes, they were, yes.
Was he building a rock museum?
I think he probably was, along with the Ronnie Wood picture.
-We want 200 to 300 for these.
-Yes. Beatles experiencing a renaissance at the moment.
Hopefully we've got some Beatles fans.
130. 140. 150. 160. 170.
No? £170 at the back.
At 170. We're struggling, sir.
One more might do it. At £170 at the back. 180. At 180.
I told you we were struggling! At £180.
On the right there, selling at £180. All done?
I actually think that that's quite a good price for those,
because the true Beatles fans with money want things that are signed.
These are commemorative limited editions.
Well, it's been a "long and winding road",
but Fiona's final lot is up next.
It's the Churchill centenary medals, valued at £100 to £150.
110. 120. 130.
140. 150. 160. 170. 180.
190. 190. Are you all out in front?
Selling here with me at £190. All done at 190?
What a great result, and despite a disappointing start,
it's been a wonderful end to the day for Fiona.
Well, I might have a bit of a nice surprise after all that stress.
You've actually made £845.
-No! You're joking.
-Are you sure?
-I'm absolutely sure.
The figure comes to £845.
-Well, and also, I can ask you now, the Ronnie Wood print -
we had an offer, commission bid, of £190.
It was short of what the auctioneers thought it was worth
but would you be happy to take the £190,
or would you rather take it home?
No, I want to get rid of it.
-So you'll take the £190?
-In that case, we can add that to our total, which means that today
you have banked £1,035. You've doubled what you wanted!
-That is unbelievable!
-Was it worth all the stress?
With her auction money, Fiona's brought her good friend Janice
out for a day to remember in London's West End.
-Janice hasn't been to see a musical before. Have you, Janice?
So this is her first time.
We'll see my son, as well.
Fiona's son, Duncan James, is in the hit show Legally Blonde.
This is Lula. This is my birthday present from my son,
and I brought her because I couldn't leave her at home on her own.
And so my son Duncan's going to look after her in his dressing room for me
while we go and watch the show.
So while Lula takes a nap, Fiona and Janice take to their seats,
and afterwards it's straight to Duncan's dressing room.
It was lovely seeing my mum, Janice and Tallulah.
It's great to know that my mum's in that audience.
It's like my number one fan. It's lovely.
Meet all the fans!
I'm just so proud of him. I just love seeing him on stage. It's lovely.
-You take care.
-Lovely to see you. See you soon.
-I'll see you later. Lovely to see you. See you later. Bye, Mum.
Series looking at whether household junk could be worth a small fortune. Fiona Inglis is the mother of West End star and former boy band singer Duncan James. She invites Lorne Spicer and John Cameron to sort through her collectables and mementoes in order to raise money for a special trip.
Fiona wants to take her best friend Janice for a day out in London's West End, to take in Duncan's show and tackle a little retail therapy.