Antiques series. Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden help sisters Judith and Gill move their 85-year-old father. What mementos should he sell in order to fund a big family party?
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Welcome to Cash in the Attic.
For most families, there comes a time when the elderly members need a bit of extra support.
Very often, that involves helping them move house to somewhere smaller
and more manageable - and that's the task facing our family today.
So they've called us in to see whether we can help
find any treasures amongst all the stuff they're clearing out.
On today's Cash In The Attic, our expert Jonty gets a little picky over a 400-year-old chest.
-There's a little bit of damage on the top.
-What do you expect at that age?
'We do so well with our antique search there's time for a little game.'
Oh, but you only got one, Jonty.
'The sale room isn't the place to let on that there are issues with any of our collectables.'
-We'll keep that to ourselves, all right?
-Oh, all right.
-We're here to sell.
'Find out what happens when the hammer falls.'
Well, today I've come to Northampton to meet two sisters who have
called in Cash In The Attic to help them clear out their dad's home,
with the idea of raising some funds so the whole family can take a trip down memory lane.
Meet sisters Judith and Gillian, who are already looking at mementoes with their dad John.
The girls grew up here in Northamptonshire and have the fondest memories,
especially of childhood holidays spent on the Essex coast with their parents.
John is originally from Leigh-on-Sea.
The former miller was married to Pauline for 53 years, until her death in 2003.
Now in his mid-80s and finding it tough on his own, he's selling up and moving into a care home.
Jonty Hearnden is with me to help the family look through five decades' worth of collectibles.
He kicks off our search while I meet our hosts.
-So you must be John.
-I am John.
I understand that you used to live in Leigh-on-Sea, where I'm from.
Yes. We moved there in 1934.
So we're obviously going to be looking to raise some money. What do you want to spend it on?
We thought we'd have a nice family day out and a party, cos it's my dad's birthday coming up soon,
so that's one of the ideas of what we want to spend the money on.
-And what's the other one?
-The other idea was to actually
to get all the family, that's the children and the grandchildren, to go down to Leigh-on-Sea
-where Dad was brought up, and we spent a lot of our school holidays down there, didn't we?
It'd be nice to take our children and the great-grandchildren and show them the places
-that we spent a lot of our childhood time, pass on a few memories.
-Quite a big family involved here.
What sort of funds are you looking to raise?
Hopefully, somewhere like £600 would be nice.
-Are you happy, John, if we have a good look through and see what we can find?
OK, well, I'll leave you here for now, OK?
-I'll put the kettle on and we'll go and see if we can find Jonty.
-Come on, then.
John and Pauline moved into this three-bedroom bungalow 30 years ago
and, like many of us, they amassed quite a lot of stuff.
Jonty, who's been in the antiques trade for two decades, will certainly be in his element.
I've found this lovely piece of furniture here.
-Generically known as a coffer. What do you call this piece of furniture?
-It was always the blanket chest.
Lots of people call them blanket chests. Often made of oak.
Have a look at these front panels here.
There's so much detail here.
All of this is hand-done, and there's not a piece of glue anywhere to be seen on this.
-This is all pegged together.
-They're peg holes there, you see?
Now, a lot people think that these are early 18th century.
This is probably more 17th century, so it really has some age.
But there's a bit of damage just down here on the side,
which will be quite difficult to repair,
but put this into a workshop, this will come up a fantastic colour.
Well, I think we're looking at £200 to £300 in this state,
which is a lovely price to get for it.
It is a good piece of furniture.
Jonty also spots a collection of thimbles.
John's wife Pauline collected them over the years
and she obviously had the knack, as five of them are silver.
Our expert values the set at...
-Hi, Jonty, I found this.
-What have we got?
-Oh, wow, that's an old smock, isn't it?
-Yes. How about that?
Where was this from?
I think my mum sort of inherited it from an old lady in the village...
-And I think she just gave it to my mum because mum used to do
her running around and getting her shopping.
-I think it's just a farmer's smock.
Yes. These were worn by country folk at the beginning of the 18th century.
And they didn't really stop wearing these until the beginning of the 20th century,
so they were around a long time.
But look at the detail on just this.
So we've got this pleated front, and the embroidery on the front,
but we've also got it on the sleeve as well.
Look at the detailing there. And then if I turn it around as well, the same kind of work is on both sides.
-So an amazing amount of work.
Now, this garment is a wee bit difficult to date, but I would suspect it's probably 80 years old,
maybe even older than that, and it's in fabulous condition - it's in absolutely tiptop condition.
So it's definitely worth putting into the auction sale.
This could be well in excess of £50 at the auction sale.
That's good to me. That sounds good.
-So maybe £50, £80, that sort of ballpark.
John has spotted something that is definitely more typical of something you see in a sale room.
This Victorian walnut Vienna wall clock has been in the family for so long
that John can't quite remember where it came from,
but it's in good condition and should achieve £100 to £150 for us.
Gillian digs out two military helmets, which date back to the Second World War.
One's German and her mum cleared it out of a submarine when she was serving in the Wrens,
and kept it as a war trophy.
The other helmet is British, and Jonty hopes the pair will make...
John and Pauline celebrated their golden wedding in 2000,
gathering their family together for a big celebration.
They were a very close couple but, since 2003, John has been adapting to life on his own.
So this is where your dad was living until very recently. Where is he now?
At the moment, Dad's in a residential care home.
He's been trying it to see if that's what he really wants to do
and at the end of the day, he's very happy there, so we can't ask for anything more, really.
So, tell me a little bit about what he did during the war.
He was in the RAF and he was a rear gunner.
He lied about his age to get into the air force, didn't he?
Yes, he was the baby in the crew, he was the youngest
by several years, and he still has kept in contact,
I think there's only one now surviving out of the crew.
But he can still remember exactly what he did on all his nightly trips over to Germany and suchlike.
It was a very dangerous job, being the rear gunner.
-Rear gunner, not many of them survived.
You've got a big family. How many children have you got?
I have a moderate two.
And you've got a few more?
I've got seven children and five grandchildren.
But, you know, life's never quiet, but it's good.
Jonty's got three children and two of those are twins,
so I think he should be up to doing a good old rummage. Let's see what he's got.
As our search continues, Judith turns her attention to this barometer.
It was bought by her mother's father about 100 years ago and has been in the family all that time.
Time to let it go now, though.
Then in the bedroom I notice these silver-and-cut-glass dressing-table jars
which were collected by John's parents.
The oldest is around 1900 and the set gets a price tag of...
'Outside, Judith is keen for us to check out a certain curiosity that lives in the garage.'
I'm first, then. Ready?
You only got one, Jonty!
This is fantastic.
Lorne, I think you'll find I got two just then.
That's because you've been practising! Now this is wonderful. It has to come from a pub, surely?
Yeah, it came from the local pub, which was next door to where we lived as children,
-and the pub was closing down and me dad put an offer in and it was ours.
It's such a fantastic-looking object, apart from anything else.
I mean, look at all these lovely, big, fat, padded leather sides and then we've got
-these really chunky legs, I think there's even a maker's label down there.
Which says "Northampton".
This looks rather different to almost anything else I've really quite seen,
because you're kind of like throwing it onto a tabletop height, really, whereas of course,
if you think about most skittles, you roll a ball down the lane somewhere.
-It's got real age to it. I'm convinced that this has to be 100 years old.
-HAS to be.
So, Jonty, should it stay like this to go to the auction or is it worth
actually trying to polish up the leather a bit?
Dealers know very clearly that if you were to clean and feed this,
it will come up a lovely colour, a beautiful colour.
Somebody is going to want this, but I think we're looking at
sort of between £50 and £100, but you've got to let the room decide.
Will Jonty's estimate for that old game prove attractive for the bidders on sale day?
-I have an interest here, starting at £110. 120, thank you. 130...
This could be a very interesting sale.
-140, 150, 160...
-I like the sound of that!
Our search at John's bungalow is going well and in the dining room,
Gillian notices this unusual collection
of pressed-metal cigarette cards, which were collected by her mother's father.
They are from Summit Cigarettes,
part of their famous Buildings And Monuments Of Britain collection.
Jonty thinks they should make...
-Can this go to the auction sale?
-Yes. This was my mother's desk.
We think it came from her side of the family, her relatives.
-It then progressed to her.
Now, interesting that it's a desk, because if you look at it,
it's formed in that very typical, British way, a pedestal desk.
It's almost loose-fitting. Can you see here...
-..that we've got that section that just sits on top?
That's the reason why they're called pedestal desks,
they sit on these two pedestals.
Now, we have what looks like to me a relatively shallow top here,
so I would suspect that this piece of furniture was originally designed probably more as a dressing table.
-If this was originally a desk,
you would have a leather top and you would have more depth there.
Now, I opened the drawer a little bit earlier here because, in the middle drawer,
there is a little stamp impressed into the top of the drawer.
That says, "Heal's, London," and that's the same Heal's that's still in Tottenham Court Road today.
This is about 1850 in date.
1840, 1850. It's a very nice mahogany desk and we're looking at...
-Happy about that?
-Excellent. One for the auction sale.
In the lounge, Jonty spots this silver-plated tea set,
which belonged to Judith and Gillian's grandmother.
It's 70 years old and should shine in the auction,
with a price tag of...
Just as I'm taking a last sweep of the dining room,
the sisters find something else that's been in the family for years.
What about these, Lorne?
Ah, goodness! Who has put all that collection together?
Over the years, my dad collected them at weekends away.
They used to go to Bath and York and he's picked them up in antique markets and things.
Will your dad be happy to sell these?
-In that case, I think we need Jonty's advice.
Are you there, Jonty? They're lovely, aren't they?
-What have we got?
-A collection of pocket watches.
-I was wondering what the time was.
You might still be wondering, because none of them are working!
Wow! I can see this one here,
it's staring at me, and I can see some wonderfully large hallmarks,
so this particular pocket watch is silver, which is very good news indeed.
We need to have a look at this chain here, cos I'm rather excited by this.
Carry on talking amongst yourselves!
It takes him a while to get excited about something, so that's got to be a good sign!
Very good news indeed.
We are looking at a nine-carat gold fob chain,
which is wonderful because that has value all by itself.
Now, ah! I like this.
This is a Swiss-made pocket watch here made by a very good maker,
If we look at the back, this is army issue.
That arrow on the back there, very good.
So that would be issued during the First World War to an officer,
British army officer, which is really very good news. So can we sell the whole collection here?
-Yes, I would think so.
Do you think it will be divided up by the time we get to auction or will it all be sold like this?
I let the auctioneers decide because that fob chain that we're looking at there is £100, just like that.
-Crikey! That's not bad, is it?
-What about the collection overall?
-Forget the fob chain for now.
Well, put the whole lot in to auction and without blinking we're
-looking at £150, £250 worth of clocks.
-Are you happy with that?
-Yes, very happy.
-OK, you wanted to raise £600 for the family get together and the day trip to Leigh, didn't you?
The value of everything that is going to auction comes to £870.
We'll have a good day out on that.
Fantastic. I can't wait for the auction, when we'll be taking along
some terrific items, like the Victorian mahogany pedestal desk.
It's a very good make, Heals,
and should credit the kitty with £100 to £150.
Then there's the skittles table.
It came from the pub next door to where they used to live.
We hope this will strike £50 to £100.
And let's not forget that amazing 17th century oak panelled chest.
The sisters played hide and seek in it years ago,
now it's earned the highest estimate of the day at £200 to £300.
'Still to come on Cash In The Attic, I give the sisters a few tips on auction buzz words.'
So it's what we call "fresh to market".
'Jonty's forecast for the barometer is spot on.' That's good, isn't it?
That's more than fair.
In fact that's very sunny.
'Find out how much their items make when the final hammer falls.'
It's been a few weeks since we had a good look around Gillian and Judith's father's home,
and we found interesting items ranging from that pocket watch collection to the pub skittles,
all of which have arrived here at Martin & Pole auction house in Wokingham in Berkshire.
Remember, the ladies wanted to raise £600 for a family day out down in Leigh-on-Sea,
so let's just hope that, when the items go under the hammer today, we make the money we're looking for.
The market town of Wokingham is around 30 miles west of London.
This auction house has been holding regular antiques and collectables sales for over 100 years.
But, like many sale rooms, their catalogues are also online,
so hopefully we'll see lots of interest.
Have you seen something to tickle your fancy here?
There's some nice things but we're not buying.
-No, we're selling today!
-We are definitely selling.
-Is everything here?
-Yes, it all got here safe and sound.
-Have you put reserves on anything?
-No, we haven't because we don't want to take it home.
-I've got some great news for you.
-Remember all those fabulous pocket watches?
Well, the auctioneer has decided to split them all up into individual lots,
-which means that I'm convinced we'll get more money, so I'm looking forward to that one.
Shall we go and sell something?
Gillian and Judith seem very relaxed about the sale.
I hope that's a good sign.
They want to throw a big birthday party for their dad John
and hopefully have enough left over for a family day out in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, where he grew up.
Let's see what happens, then, as the auctioneer gets to the first of their lots, the mahogany desk.
Jonty placed its age at around 1840 to 1850.
Do you know where this came from?
Apart from it came from Heal's in Tottenham Court Road, I don't really know a lot else about it.
So it went directly from the shop to the family?
-So it's what we would call "fresh to market".
Is there further? 180, thank you.
190, 200, 220, 240. 240.
-I am out at 240. Are we all done?
-It's a good start.
260, new place.
260, against you, sir. 280.
It's in the doorway at 280.
I can sell if you're all done at 280. No further?
-That's good, isn't it?
-Pleased with that?
-Girls, you're speechless for a change.
Will the bidders like their next lot - an Edwardian skittles table?
I have an interest here starting at £110. Is there any advance on 110?
It's with me at the moment 110. 120, thank you. 130.
160. I'm out at 160. Are you all done at 160?
I'll sell it.
-£160. Now, that is good, don't you think?
-That is brilliant!
Look at the relief on their faces.
-You thought you'd have to take it back again.
-We were thinking it was coming home with us, that thing.
Does the winning bidder realise what it will take to get it home?
The next offering is something the girls used to hide in when they were little.
It's the 17th century oak coffer, with an estimate of £200 to £300.
-There is a bit of damage on the top.
-Remember we looked at the damage on there.
The market just demands items in really good condition,
so the question is where the hammer is going to fall.
I can start the bidding here at 130.
130 is bid, is there any further?
At 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180.
That takes me out. At 180 if you're all done.
We're nearly there.
So at 180 if there's no further? All done?
So just a little bit under the 200.
-How do you feel about that?
-Well, because of the damage, I suppose.
-It's to be expected.
-I think that might well have been it.
-If it had been in perfect condition, double the money.
Maybe it was all those games of hide and seek that caused the damage.
Who knows? But it still went for a good price.
Now, will the collection of cigarette cards reach their...
I shall sell at 22. If there is no further, are you all done at 22?
Oh, dear, that's disappointing,
but at least they've sold and it all goes into the kitty.
Judith and Gillian really do have quite a varied collection here.
Coming up are the two World War II helmets, for...
£25 I can start.
Is there any advance on 25?
It's mine at the moment. 28, sir, thank you. 30 here.
32, that takes me out.
35, new place.
38, 40, 42, 45, eight,
50, 55, 60 and five, 70.
£70, it's in the doorway. If you're all done at 70.
-£70. Gosh, that's a result, isn't it? How about that.
-Are you pleased with that?
That's a great result, and there's another few pounds in the pot
when the 20th-century farmer's smock goes under the hammer...
I'll sell at 40 if there's no further. Are you all done? £40.
..selling just under Jonty's £50 estimate.
So we had a target of £600.
How well do you think we've done this morning?
Well, quite a few of the things have gone really well.
So hopefully we're well on the way.
Actually, strangely enough, you've actually made your target already,
because you've banked £752.
-All down to Jonty's estimates, obviously.
-All down to me.
If you've been inspired by Judith and Gillian's progress
and would like to try your hand at auction, do bear in mind
that there are charges to be paid, including commission.
These vary from one sale room to another so it is always worth enquiring in advance.
Next up is the aneroid barometer, which has been in the family for a century.
It goes before the bidders with a guide price of £30 to £50.
50 and five. 55, then, if you're all done.
-That's good, isn't it?
-That's more than fair. In fact, that's very sunny.
And it's another great result for the sisters.
Now, how will their walnut Vienna wall clock do here?
85, then. Thank you.
Not quite as popular as some of their other pieces here.
We have high hopes for the silver tea service and tray, which belonged to Judith and Gillian's grandmother.
It's 70 years old and has an estimate of £40 to £60.
Do you actually use this set?
No. It's just gone from our grandparents' house in a display unit
to our house in a display unit, so it's never been used.
There is a tradable market for these sorts of things.
-But they just end up in display cabinets.
-And you've got to keep them clean, that is the thing.
-Just keep that to ourselves.
-We're here to sell.
Ah, £50 is bid against you, £50.
And five, thank you. 60 here.
£60. Five if you like.
-We want more.
60 it's mine. Are you all done at £60 and no more?
-£60 - that's not bad, is it?
-No, that's fine.
I wonder if the new owner will use it
or just put it in a display cabinet too.
The pounds are rolling in thick and fast, as the dressing table jars
and the collection of thimbles go flying out of the saleroom, too...
..adding £85 to our kitty between them.
Now it's the time for the pocket watches, which their dad John has collected over the years.
There are 19 of them in total, split into eight separate lots.
Most of them are silver, plus there's a nine-carat gold Albert chain.
The first lot we're going to sell is the Jaeger-LeCoultre example which,
of course, Jonty picked up as the military one.
-That's the military one.
-I think you put a valuation of £150 to £250 on the lot.
So anything we make over and above £150, by the time we've come out of this marathon, is good news. OK?
-And if we don't get over £250...
-You're walking home.
-I'm going home.
Here's 50, thank you. 50, and five, 60, and five, 70, five, 80, five...
-That's really good news.
100, ten, 120, 130, 140, 150.
150, back of the hall. 150, if you're done.
-You're not walking home.
-£150, just for that one!
'And the next five lots follow thick and fast.'
75, then, to my right, 75.
45, if you're done.
48 here, 48.
£60, if you're done.
-I honestly didn't think these would go like this.
This is the big one for us, cos it's the nine-carat gentleman's watch chain.
I can start the bidding here at £100 against you. Is there any further?
And ten, thank you. 20, 30, 40, 50.
I'm out at 150.
60, 70, 180, 190. 190.
-£190 just for that.
-On my right, 190.
And now it's the final sale for - yes, you guessed it - three silver-cased pocket watches.
£60, in the front row, 60.
It's another great result and it's brought the total for all 19 watches
to a whopping £728.
So, how have they done overall?
I can't wait to tell them the final figure.
You wanted £600 and, um, well you've made a lot more than that.
You have banked £1,765.
So maybe, instead of Leigh-on-Sea, you might want to look at Majorca
-or possibly Barbados for one or something, you know.
Judith and Gillian have come to a nearby hotel, where they plan to have the family meal.
We want to get all the family together, my dad at the head of the table and surrounded by
his children and his great grandchildren and his grandchildren.
He will love that. He'll love having everybody there and the children running around enjoying themselves.
But what about the day trip to Leigh-on-Sea?
We've got a lot of fond memories down there,
but we think it's probably too much for my father to go all that way,
so what we intend to do is sit and talk about it when we're having the meal
and we're all together, take photos and bring them all back and show my dad what he's missed out on.
Sisters Judith and Gill are helping their 85-year-old father relocate after 30 years in the family home. With so many possessions to sort through, they call in Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden to help them decide what is best to part with. Their auction proceeds will go towards a big family party and day out.