Series looking at the value of household junk. Katie Freeland hopes to fund a family safari in Africa, and invites Chris Hollins and John Cameron to look over her London home.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the show that finds hidden treasures
in your home and helps to sell them at auction.
Today I am in Chelsea in South West London
and this is the beautiful Physics Gardens.
I may not have green fingers, but I do like getting my hands dirty, which is great news because
it's time to move on to our next location.
Yes, it's time for a rummage.
I do hope we find some interesting items to take to auction.
On today's Cash In The Attic, our expert John
finds Victorian buttons of surprising value.
I think it's fabulous actually.
They have been sitting in the drawer. Yes, it would be brilliant.
And when it comes to valuations he finds there is no messing with the mother-in-law.
-How much do you think they're worth?
-I'd like to think at auction today they'd make about £80-£120.
No, that's for the pair.
On auction day, is our willpower enough to push the bids sky high?
Come on, come on.
Find out what happens when the final hammer falls.
We've moved a couple of miles down the road.
We're still in South London and we've reached Tooting.
We're going to meet a lady
who's called in the Cash In The Attic team
because she wants to treat her family to a wild experience.
Katie Freeland might look like any mum playing in the garden
with her children, but she has a remarkable family history.
Her great-grandfather exported tea from Burma
and her great aunt was a governess to a princess in Romania.
But if there's one thing she has in common with all her ancestors,
they all love new and exciting experiences.
Something tells me that's what we'll be in for today.
-What a beautiful home.
-You must be Katie.
-Which makes you the mother-in-law, who's Kate.
The big question then is, what do you want to raise the money for, and how much do you need?
If I could get about £500.
Ideally we'd all love to go to South Africa and do a safari.
£500 to £600. Are you ready for this?
-Are you sure?
-I think so.
-She's not coming!
-I'm not coming, but I'm pleased to help.
Katie was too polite to reveal that she and her family are going through tough times right now.
Both her sisters have recently passed away and she also lost her mother a few months ago.
She wants to travel to South Africa with her husband and three children
to create happy memories and move on from these sad times.
Looking around the house, I wonder if any of these
interesting looking pieces are steeped in family history.
I'd normally expect John Cameron to get us started with a fine piece of furniture,
but something shiny has caught his eye.
-Hi, John. What have you got for us?
I have found some rather attractive silver buttons.
They date from the turn of the last century.
I reckon that's Granny or Granny's mum, yes.
Around that time. They'd probably came back from Asia at that time.
Interesting about the travelling, because these aren't English.
They're Continental, certainly imported.
We can tell that because they have "sterling" engraved on the back
as opposed to a set of British hallmarks.
The decoration on the front would support that. If you have
a look at the beautiful lady there, very much in the art nouveau style.
So buttons, are we talking about for a man's waistcoat, trousers?
Well, I think the only man's costume this would have been on, Chris, is probably Oscar Wilde.
-And he's of that period.
-They're quite large, aren't they?
-They are large.
You can't imagine going to buy anything like this today.
The Victorians certainly knew how to do things properly.
Their accessories were superb.
-I think there's another box somewhere.
-I'd like to see those, if they're of this quality.
Some rummaging to come.
Value wise I would suggest
about £70 to £90 for them.
-You don't seem that excited.
-I think it's fabulous.
-They've been sitting in a drawer.
-I'd like to see the others.
-OK, let's go and find them.
-That way, I think.
What a nice surprise to start us off.
We're all straight down to work
and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to search through today.
I wonder if these are any good to go to auction?
Well, they certainly look interesting.
-Where do they come from?
-Burma. They were Katie's grandfather's.
-OK, so they were well travelled?
-Very much so, yes.
They're called cloisonne. The first thing you do with cloisonne
is have a look at it for damage because the surface of this
is covered with enamel, which is literally vitrified glass.
Once this gets damaged, it's very, very hard to repair.
Right, OK. They look pretty good.
If we look at those birds amidst the branches there,
these beautifully blossoming trees, the way it's quite asymmetric
in its layout, that's typically Japanese,
as opposed to Chinese which tend to formulate things in mirror image.
Date-wise, I would say about the latter part of the 19th century.
What we call the Meiji Period from the 1860s to about 1912.
I thought they were older.
-That's where I'd put them.
-How much are they worth?
Well, they are in good condition
-I'd like to think at auction today they would make about £80 to £120.
No, that's for the pair!
But who knows? They are nice.
If they made double that I would be absolutely delighted for you.
Katie also has another pair of cloisonne vases, pink ones.
They're going to auction with a pair of blue plates.
John values the lot at...
Upstairs Katie has found that other box of buttons.
She thinks they were a present to her great grandfather
who returned to the UK from Burma in the early 1900s.
The thistle design is made from silver and blue enamel,
and John values them at £30 to £50.
It's amazing how many items
have been passed down through Katie's family.
I wondered where you'd got to. What have you got there?
Family photos? I've noticed you've got a fascinating family history,
You have loads of legal documents on the walls, great photographs of all the family members.
Let's start with your father's side, your great-grandfather. They weren't based in the UK, were they?
No, they were Scottish so they grew up in Scotland.
The bit that starts to come in with the stuff that we've got is really when they were in Burma,
I think they must have made quite a lot of money out there actually.
And it gets more fascinating.
I don't know which side of the family this is, but I've seen letters from royalty.
Actually that's mostly on my lovely great Aunt Ida's side.
She actually taught as a governess and went out to Romania to the Princess Ileana of Romania.
and actually through her entire life they remained firm friends.
She had a zest for life and just had a sparkle in her eyes.
I'm hoping actually, because I lost my mum earlier this year,
I really hope that my children will remember my mum with the same fondness
that I remember Aunt Ida and actually a lot of this is all due to her.
I suppose if you've got all these lovely photographs and letters, as you have,
getting rid of items or antiques is not so painful, or is it?
There's always one or two things that are really difficult to part with.
For some strange reason they just mean something more to you
-And the antiques start to become easier to part with.
-I agree with you.
The only problem is it could take us ages to look through all the letters and we haven't got any time.
-John's going to get very angry if we don't get back.
Come on, let's go and find some antiques.
While we've been chatting both John and Kate have left no corner unexplored.
Kate's uncovered this Staffordshire tea set.
Tea has clearly played a big part in the family life.
Auntie Enid collected china sets including this one,
valued by John at £30 to £50.
Kate also digs out a pair of handmade lace bonnets
which Katie inherited from her mum.
They're in good condition
and John hopes they'll net...
Kate's stunning home has so many interesting family items.
It's a pleasure to learn about them.
Now, has she laid her hands on two more that could set John's heart a-flutter?
-John, do you think these would be worth anything?
-Let's take a look at those.
Where did you find those?
It was my great-grandfather. They got married in Burma.
He worked out there for quite a long time.
They certainly look of that origin and they're made of silver.
They're not hallmarked as British silver would be,
and they still retain the original gilding on the inside.
Interesting, the shape - they're totally export pieces.
That scrollwork handle is very much a European thing.
The work that's gone into them is absolutely remarkable.
When you look on the inside
you can see that these haven't been cast.
Worked by hand by a silversmith
punching all that detail out from reverse,
before turning it around and then doing the same
this side in finer detail to chase out the textures of the fur and the bodies and so on.
There are some really little details in here as well.
A lot of work has gone into them.
It's part of a three piece tea set.
We've got the sugar and cream jug. We're missing a teapot.
-What happened to it?
-I haven't seen it actually.
-I still think they're saleable.
They are good quality and there is a market for foreign silver.
Even though we're lacking the teapot this should make at least £100 to £150 at auction.
I think someone will really enjoy them.
I'd love to see how they perform at auction. They're super quality.
Well, John, you won't have to wait long to see what the bidders make of them.
Come on. Come on...
But will it make enough money to help Katie achieve her dream?
Thank you very much.
All that excitement is still to come, but as our rummage continues,
John keeps up the good work in the attic, finding a tapestry.
Katie thinks it was embroidered by someone in her family.
It shows Bonnie Prince Charlie drinking from a spring.
John values it at an impressive £100 to £200.
We're bounding ever closer to that £500 target
and I've found this standard lamp
which was bought by Katie's great-grandmother around 1918.
It's going to auction
with a price tag of £20 to £40.
Katie has such a huge variety of items hidden away
and there's no prizes for guessing
where this next little collection has come from.
I've had these fans for quite a while actually.
They're probably family - grand... great grandmother.
These would date to the latter part of the 19th century, early 20th century. The use of fans
goes back a lot further, several hundred years and certainly in the 18th century it was a necessity,
especially in high society balls, where they were used as an object to communicate with.
I'm not terrible voiced in the communication process...
-No, exactly. But they're quite a nice collection.
You've got some ivory here and these look ebonised.
-Looking at the fans here I think these are European.
The decoration, although they're ivory, I think are Continental, probably French.
This one's quite interesting. Looks Japanese to me.
Ebonised sticks, nicely embroidered flower work here.
Collectors are looking for several things - condition is very, very important.
The quality of design, and the materials.
You often see ivory, as we have here, tortoise shell,
ebony and other timbers and sometimes beautifully inlaid.
That's been painted, but you often see them
inlaid with silver and gold wire so they can be really exquisite things.
Works of art, aren't they?
Absolutely, they were works of art made by craftsmen of their day.
-I would suggest putting them together as one lot and I think we'd be looking at £100 to £150.
-Are you happy with that?
-Methinks you have made a wise choice, madam.
Well done. We will leave those there and see what else we can find.
OK, let's go.
Bear in mind that in the UK it's only legal to sell
worked ivory made before 1947 and that is classed as antique.
If in doubt, ask your auction house.
Downstairs Kate has spotted this large Edwardian high backed chair.
It's in need of new upholstery, but John's very keen on the carved frame.
It adds another £50 to £80
to our ever increasing total.
The chair belonged to Katie's Great Aunt Ida. When she left the Romanian royal household
to move back to England, she bought an old Tudor building called the Old House in Cambridgeshire
and turned it into a tearoom.
Remarkably, Katie has a fabulous set of china from that very tea room.
-This is a really pretty set. It's a cake set.
-Let's have a look.
Actually there's only two pieces here but there's a whole set of them.
-How many have you got in the set?
-There's a few actually.
-I think there's probably five cake stands and 14 plates.
-It's certainly a dessert set.
You can just imagine a Victorian table laid out with these.
When you see those old cookery books, the amount and variety of cakes and sweets...
it makes you wish you were born in that period.
Looking at the decoration, Kate, does that remind you
-of those vases we looked at earlier?
That's because the decoration was inspired by the Orient.
This is exactly the period we were talking about with those vases, the Meiji Period,
when Japanese artworks inspired a whole movement in this country called the Aesthetic Movement.
But, if we turn them over and have a look on the back
we can see a retailer's mark there - James Green & Nephew.
I love that, not James Green & Son.
I wonder if you ever see James Green & Second Cousin Twice Removed!
-That's the retailer, not the maker.
If we look closely, it's a bit obscured
-but there is a pressed mark. Can you see that?
That is Bodley. It's been obscured by the glaze.
Bodley were an English company based in Burslem in Staffordshire.
They were only around from the 1870s to the very early 1890s, and that ties in perfectly with this period.
So they're in fact English, but the decoration is typically Japanese,
It's been transfer printed on, this brown border, and the outline of the fruiting trees,
and the fruit trees have been hand painted in afterwards, so a series of processes.
I think the colours are lovely, and it's got a real feminine part to it.
They do remind me of cakes, just that colour.
-Everything reminds you of cakes!
-Besotted with cakes!
This has a chip. What are they like for condition?
Actually, all the cake stands are in very good condition,
but there may be a couple of chips on a couple of the plates.
OK, we'll take that into consideration, plus the fact that it's not a major maker.
I would suggest an estimate of about £100 to £150.
You don't seem very happy about that.
Well, there's a sentimental bit here.
I don't know whether it's enough to make me part with them.
Right, so if we said £100, that is not good enough for you?
-I'd really have to think about it.
-Right, we have something that hangs in the balance.
I suppose we weren't going to have a trouble-free day, John?
-Can't have your cake and eat it!
-Very good, very good.
-The good news is that the rummaging is over. Are you pleased with that, Kate?
-It's time for a gin and tonic.
Now, you wanted to raise £500 to £600 today, didn't you?
That would be great.
Now, with the plates and cake stands hanging in the balance, we reckon we can raise £780.
That's quite good, and I would be quite pleased, but...
Without the plates, of course, it's £680.
I think that's all right for a good day's work.
What a fascinating day we've had.
I feel we've really got to know Katie's family through her items.
Here's a quick reminder of the most interesting ones heading to auction.
Two boxes of silver buttons,
which once belonged to Katie's great-grandfather.
We're hoping that these will make the combined total of £100 to £140.
Worthy of £100 to £150, I wonder if Katie's great-grandmother
attracted her great-grandad's attention with these lovely fans.
Plus, of course, we've got those cake stands,
which once had pride of place in Aunt Ida's tea room.
If Katie can bring herself to let them go,
with a bit of luck they'll bring in £100 to £150.
Find out how they all get on when the final hammer falls.
Hopefully it won't fall anywhere near Katie's fragile ceramics!
Still to come on Cash In The Attic,
we have our fair share of nail-biting moments.
Fingers crossed, I think, on this one.
But there's more than a glimmer of hope of hitting our £500 target.
-We got those away.
Thank you very much.
It turned out to be a real trip down memory lane for Katie at her home in south-west London.
She had a fascinating family history,
and we found some wonderful items that we hope go really well here
at Sworders auction house in Essex.
Katie wants to raise around £500 to £600 for a family trip to go on safari,
so let's hope everybody in there is in generous mood, as her items go under the hammer.
It might be early in the day, but the auction room is already packed with prospective buyers
sizing up today's lots, and there's plenty up for sale too.
John and I find Katie in the midst of things.
Hello, Katie, nice to see you.
What have you done with the mother-in-law?
I think we wore her out the other day!
We've got one big question for you, and it is...
Have you brought your dessert service?
No, I haven't, I'm afraid. I did think long and hard about it.
I think if it had been worth a little bit more, I might have been tempted,
but it's got a bit of sentimental value attached to it.
So no, I've left it at home.
-Oops. That's hit us hard, a little bit, hasn't it?
-It takes at least £100 off our target, I think.
I think we're running out of time, let's get into the auction. Come on.
'Positive mental attitude. The room is full of people, and we have plenty of items to sell.
'We're ready to go, and so is our first lot.
'That's the Staffordshire tea set that once was owned by Aunt Enid in the 1920s.
'We want £30 to £50.'
We're not asking for much, are we?
No, but they've described it as a part tea service, implying that it's not complete.
We have got odd numbers of cups and plates and so on, hence my £30 to £50 estimate.
I don't think I could have put a much lower estimate on it.
Good decorative lot, we'll start here at £10 to bid.
£10 I am bid. 12, 15, 18, 20.
At £20? £22,
£25. £25 here on my right.
It's in the room now, £25, I'm going to sell.
Thank you very much.
You didn't want to take that home, did you? You weren't ever going to use it again.
It would've been nice to get more, but I'm pleased.
'We're straight out of the blocks with £25,
'just short of John's lower estimate, but we're on the move,
'and it looks like there are lots of keen buyers in the room.
'I wonder if there'll be any interest
'in the two late Victorian silver pieces from Burma.'
-I'm looking for five if you want. 55, 60...
85. £85 there.
Any advance at 85? I'm going to sell, make no mistake.
Thank you very much.
-Not quite what we hoped, but they have sold. OK with that, Katie?
'£85 is just short of John's lower estimate of £100,
'but it's more cash towards the family trip to South Africa,
'Next, it's the fan collection from the turn of the 19th century, that's been handed down through the family.
'John fancied that they might make £100 to £150.'
-At £25 a fan, don't know, let's see. Here we go.
We'll start here at £40, it's a low start.
I'll take five if you wish. 45, 50, 55, 60.
At £60 here.
-Against the room at £60...
-No fans for fans.
Disappointing, as you say, but it is a specific thing,
and there was nobody here today that wanted fans.
'It's so difficult to gauge today what's going to sell or not.
'Two separate cloisonne lots coming up,
'dating from the Meiji period in Japan. We want....'
At £60, with me now.
Still with me at £60.
-Their loss completely.
'Now, don't be upset, Katie.
'At least the auctioneer didn't let them go for a silly price.
'We really need the room to love our items, but I'm not sure about what's next.
'Why? Well, it's our second of our cloisonne lots.
'£50 to £100 is the estimate on these.'
We've got more vases here, John, which I'm a bit concerned about. Just a different colour.
It's not looking great.
These are pink variety, slight damage, together with a pair of plates of mediocre quality,
hence my 50-100 estimate. Fingers crossed, I think, on this one.
All the same, some interest here. At £40.
Any advance on £40? 45, 50.
At £50. We're going to sell this time.
Against the room. 55, 60, 65.
£65 is bid.
-Well, we got those away.
I wonder which part they were after, the plates or the vases?
'Unbelievable! I really thought Katie would be taking them home.
It has been quite hard work, gang, hasn't it?
John, I don't know what to say to Katie. Her little face there, look. She's a bit disappointed.
I saw you having a chat to the auctioneer, have you got some good news for us?
We've had word from the auctioneer that the chap
who was bidding on the cloisonne vases has come back and offered £80, our lower estimate.
-Would you be happy with that, Katie?
OK, so we've got another £80.
£80 on top of that. We're at the halfway stage.
You wanted to raise about £500 - £600 for that safari.
I've got some good news, you're going to get the taxi to the airport anyway. So far we've raised £255.
OK, that's more than I thought.
Not too bad, is it? It's a lot better than I thought as well.
'So, halfway towards our £500 target, and we have everything to play for.
'If you've been inspired by Katie's progress to try your hand at the auction game, do bear in mind
'that there are various charges to be paid, such as commission.
'They vary from one sale room to another, so it's always worth checking in advance.
'Next, the standard lamp
'picked up by Katie's great-grandmother around 1918.
'John's valued it at, "at least £20".'
-You don't like this much, do you?
-I would rather not take it home.
-Mainly because my husband doesn't like it. I grew up with it.
It's been in my house for years, but my husband's not very fond of it.
Can I have that? 12, 15, 18...
-Yes, we're off!
£22 on the pillar now. 25, 28?
25, close by. 28, fresh bidder.
30, 32, 35,
38, 40, 42....
-There's no accounting for taste.
-What do men know?
'Smiles all round then, and another £42 in the kitty.
'The second half of our auction has got off to a great start, and we're all in good spirits.
'Let's hope the bidders are just as interested in our next lot,
'that Edwardian high backed chair.'
Good, comfortable lot there.
I bid £20.
-Any advance on 20?
22, 25, 28, 30.
Any advance on £30? Any further interest?
'I can't believe no-one was interested in the chair.
'Chin up though, we've still got plenty of items to go.
'Next up, it's the Victorian tapestry, featuring Bonnie Prince Charlie.
'John found this, and he values it at £100 to £200.'
Any further interest at £40?
No, no interest. Not sold.
'Uh-oh, another unsold item, and things go from bad to worse
'when the Victorian hand-made lace bonnets go under the hammer.
'We wanted £50 to £80.'
No further interest at £20.
All done? £20. Not sold.
'They don't sell either. OK, everyone, take a deep breath.
'Two items to go, and we need £203 to hit our target.
'I really like this next lot from the Victorian times,
'and I've got everything crossed that the bidders in the room share my view.'
Up next we've got those art nouveau buttons.
They are nice, cased and silver, so I hope we've got some collectors here today.
65 at the back of the room. Any advance on £65?
£70 anywhere? Selling at £65.
We're limping towards those bottom estimates, but it sold. £65.
'Time now for our final item,
'and it's the second of our Victorian button lots.
These have a thistle design, and are made from silver and enamel.
Any advance on 32, madam?
38, 40. £40 there.
42, 45, takes it from commission.
It's in the room now. At £45, selling.
-Yes! £45. They did all right.
'Well, we've ended on a high, £45 more to add to our total.
'It's been a really tough day trying to hit our £500 target.
Well, that is it.
I've got to say, John, I know we didn't bring the cake stands, you couldn't part with them,
of all the auctions I've been to, I've never had such high hopes and been so disappointed.
The things I thought would do well didn't, and the things I thought wouldn't, did!
-In total today we've raised £407.
-Not too bad.
-Not too bad.
We're all going to a fancy dress party in those bonnets.
-Yes, Victorian party invites in the post.
I'll take a rain check on that one!
Katie and her family won't be going on safari until next year.
But a few weeks after the auction, she's decided to test the water for what it might be like.
The whole family are ready to go. I wonder what's first for them to see.
-I can see one!
-Can you see one?
They're stunning, aren't they, these animals?
Well, you can't feed the lions, but someone else is hungry.
It's been brilliant, a fantastic day.
A really memorable day. Thank you, it's brilliant.
If you want to raise some money for something special,
and you think you might have some hidden treasures in your home,
Why don't you contact us to be on the programme?
All the details are online -
Good luck, and I'll see you next time on Cash In The Attic.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Series looking at whether household junk could be worth a small fortune.
Katie Freeland hopes to fund a family safari in Africa, and invites Chris Hollins and expert John Cameron to look over her London home. They discover many fascinating heirlooms from her adventurous forebears, including a tea set from her great aunt, once the governess of a royal household in Romania.