Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden are in north London to meet Diane Mills. The collectables in her home include signed memorabilia from her old boss Sir Laurence Olivier.
Browse content similar to Mills. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Welcome to Cash In The Attic, the show that finds items like this in houses like this.
So, if you're interested in the history associated with such pieces
or you simply want to know the value, this is the show for you.
'Coming up on Cash In The Attic,
'a Victorian feather fan has me all of a flutter.'
If you held a fan a certain way, it was a certain message to a gentleman. This is saying...
-How much is it worth?
'A walnut tea caddy fires the imagination.'
-It could have the Pirate of the Caribbean gold.
'And when we get to auction, Jonty has some mighty high expectations.'
-The market is growing. In fact, this is going to take off.
'But will our luck hold out? Stay tuned to find out.'
Today, I'm in Southgate in North London.
I've come here to meet a lovely lady whose life hasn't always been easy,
but it has been very interesting.
'Diane Mills has green fingers and over the last three decades,
'she has patiently created a wonderful haven,
'complete with its own aviary in the back garden of her home in London.
'In the 1960s, Diane mixed with the London glitterati as a publicity assistant at the Old Vic theatre
'that was run by Sir Laurence Olivier, and she knew him well.
'I'm sure we'll hear more about that later.
'Diane's only daughter Lucy is now 27 and has flown the nest,
'so Diane wants to go through their home and clear out some of the collections
'that were passed down from her own mother.
'She's invited her friend Vivian and the Cash team to help.
'Jonty Hearnden is our expert today, so whilst he gets to work, it's time for me to find out what's in store.'
-Good morning, ladies.
-I've just caught a glimpse of your garden which is fantastic.
-Must be a few years' work gone into that.
So what's made you decide to call in Cash In The Attic?
I needed to downsize. Definitely.
There was just far too much stuff here of my mum's and I wanted to get some space around me.
I function much better without clutter around me.
Have you a figure of how much you'd like to raise?
Around 800. That would be really good if I could do that.
-Shall we go and find Jonty and see if he's found any of those boxes you were talking about?
'At first glance, Diane's house looks incredibly tidy,
'so I'm relying on Jonty to search high and low for items of interest.
'He's been in the antiques business for over 20 years
'and it doesn't take him long to find something that tickles his fancy.'
-Jonty, what have you found there?
-Have a look at these.
Wow, look at that! That's fantastic, isn't it? There's a whole language of fans.
If you held a fan a certain way, it was a certain message to a gentleman. This is saying...?
-How much is it worth?
-Yes. Oh, you've got one there.
I want to show you this one. This is really beautiful. This is Chinese.
All the Chinese faces and all the lovely figures on both sides
and such lovely colours as well.
This is from Canton, so the southern part of China.
-So where did this collection come from?
-My mother. She collected over the years.
She really loved the fans, particularly.
And she did display some on the walls.
Jonty, should we sell these fans individually or should they stay as a collection?
Definitely, I think, a collection.
If there's one that's outstanding, the auctioneer might put these in separately, but I don't think so.
So, what's the value, Jonty?
We're looking at £60 to £100, but I'm hoping we'll get a lot more.
-Are you happy with that?
-It's a good start to our day.
-Shall we continue, kind sir?
-Yes, yes. Where shall we go? Where shall we go?
'In the bedroom, Vivian discovers a collection of cigarette cards.
'These complete and incomplete sets belonged to Diane's father.
'No great rarities here,
'but Jonty still thinks they could fetch £40 to £60 on the day.
'Diane digs out a collection of bronze commemorative coins.
They date from the Victorian era and Jonty gives them a £50 - £100 price tag.
'How much attention will these bronze pieces get at auction?'
And I'm bid here to 30, 40, 50, 60...
'Stay tuned to find out.
'There is certainly no shortage of beautiful items to look at today
'and upstairs, Jonty discovers a collection of RAF medals.
'Diane thinks these were awarded to her great uncles who were pilots in the Second World War.
'Jonty values them at £80 to £120.
'With an ambitious £800 target to reach,
'we've got lots to do, although Diane's peaceful garden is the perfect place to rejuvenate.'
Tell me a bit about this garden then. Was it like this when you moved in?
Totally different. It had crazy-paving paths all around
and two huge fruit trees in the middle,
so I had to virtually dig it up and start from scratch again.
It looks absolutely wonderful.
It just reminds me of a really charming, old-fashioned British garden as it should be.
None of this decking malarkey. It really looks nurtured and nourished.
-It's giving you so much pleasure.
-It certainly has.
-Viv, what do you think of the garden?
-I just know that Di works in it constantly.
-It's her pleasure.
-So, tell me what your long-term plans are.
The long-term plans are just get the house back straight the way I'd like it.
Now is my time to make the house the way I'd like it to be.
'Diane has her heart set on a new, stylish living room
'and it doesn't take long before she finds these two sets of
'Art Deco- style spoons and a boxed-knife,
'all gifts from her mother.
'and Jonty values this collection at £80 to £120.'
What have we found over here?
I think a silver cigarette box and this one is a jolly nice enamel.
-Look at the hand-turning on that!
-Isn't that lovely?
We've got four cigarette boxes. Have we got any other smoking implements?
-Yes, there are cigarette holders over there that I could bring along.
-Is this another one of your mother's collections?
-Yes. I've no idea why.
I can only think that she liked a piece and then decided to make a collection.
Have a look at the decoration on the outside of this cigarette case.
If you see this kind of very busy, chased work on anything that's silver,
it's probably late 19th century.
Cigarette holders were very popular in the late 19th century
all the way through up to the 1960s.
And it's shaped more often than not on the back here to fit into a breast pocket or into a side pocket.
Now, can I have a look at that one? This is a lovely design.
This is known as engine turning, very popular in the early part of the 20th century.
And you can tell that it's enamel here because it's got a little chip on it, so this is damaged,
but it's still very pretty.
It's definitely worth putting all these items into the auction room.
What sort of value are we talking about for the entire collection, including the cigarette holders?
Roughly £100 to £150.
-Wow. That would be fantastic.
-Good. We're doing well, aren't we?
'There's even more good news when Diane produces this collection of 1920s compacts.
' I'm sure that any sophisticated lady would love to have one of these in her handbag,
'although 34 may be a bit much.
'They're given a collective value of £100 to £200.'
Viv, we've got a whole collection here of scent bottles.
What's so interesting here is that they're not scent bottles as I normally find them,
-but they're all atomisers, which I'm sure you're very familiar with.
But these were very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
This is really the last time that people would have collected scent bottles
because really during the 1920s as well, all of a sudden,
perfume suppliers were producing their own bottles.
You used to go along to a dispenser to buy your perfume,
then you'd pour it into the perfume bottles on your dressing table.
You needed more than one because you would more often than not mix your perfume
to your own taste or smell.
This is what we're looking at here - a collection of atomisers, rather than perfume bottles.
All of these are pressed glass.
If you look at the top, most are silver-plated.
Some are stainless steel, but they have all this tarnish on them,
so if they were to be polished up, they'd be a shiny, silver colour.
-We can sell this collection?
-She'd be delighted if you sell them.
Sell them as one big collection,
-£40 to £60...
-40 to 60?
You look a little bit stunned.
It doesn't seem a great deal for a collection that's taken quite a long time to get together.
That's because perfume bottles are much more collectable, not necessarily atomisers.
-We can still sell them?
-I'm sure. She can't use all those scent bottles.
-She'll be delighted to get rid of them.
-We'll leave those there. We'll find some more bits and pieces.
'I've been in the lounge and spot a collection of cranberry glassware that should catch any bidder's eye.
'Diane's parents had a bric-a-brac stall in London, so her mother may have amassed them from there.
'And Jonty reckons this collection could fetch £70 to £100 at auction.
I think I've found evidence of your previous life in the theatre.
-You certainly have.
-Am I correct?
-It is to me.
-Tell me about this lovely letter.
I'd resigned and Sir Laurence wrote me this letter,
saying how sorry he was that I was leaving
and sending me his warmest wishes
and just that, really.
This is all hand-written at the top here to you.
"With all my warmest wishes, dear Diane. Ever, Olivier."
-Was he always known as "Sir"?
-He was always known as "Sir" and he hated it when he was made "Lord".
We definitely weren't allowed to call him Lord Olivier. It was always "Sir".
And sometimes, occasionally, "Larry".
We've also got other bits and pieces here. Tell me about this book.
He signed that for me as well.
-So you've got his signature there as well?
You were given this beautiful book,
-but I've also noticed some really interesting stills photography of him in action.
-Is that him playing Othello?
-That's him blacked-up playing Othello.
-And this is Maggie Smith?
-There's a bit of a memorabilia collection here. Would you consider selling them?
But I would need to think about it.
If you were selling it, you're looking at, I suppose,
-between £100 and £150.
But if you made it that figure, it will attract buyers.
Does that change your mind in any way?
It's tempting, but I'd still like to think about it because it's part of my life.
That's completely understandable.
Let me put these down and we had better carry on searching for a few more items that you do want to sell.
'I don't blame Diane for being uncertain as it's a fantastic piece of personal memorabilia.
'Vivian's found a collection of 1920s gold and silver jewellery
'which belonged to Diane's four aunts.
'Jonty gives it a dazzling £200 to £300 valuation.
'Our rummage time is nearly up but I've spotted one final collection.'
Jonty, are you there?
Look what we've found! I know you love these sort of things. Look at them!
Oh, yes, please. Lovely, lovely.
I must tell you before we start, this one we haven't got the key for,
-so it could have the Pirate of the Caribbean gold in there.
First, let's close them and have a look at them from the outside.
See how similar they are as well?
You've got these lovely brass handles on the top and these are both Georgian handles,
so, date-wise, they're probably about a couple of hundred years old, these tea caddies. Really lovely.
The reason why we have these compartments here is to store the tea.
There were two different types of tea. One was green, one was black.
The bowl in the middle is for mixing
and I think that this is the original bowl just here.
That's very nice to see.
These are made of mahogany
and the other thing that you see here, this jazzy paper lining, that's perfectly correct.
-I thought it was wrapping paper!
-No, that's all original.
I love the way it's been finished off here. I think that's fantastic.
That is boxwood that runs around the outside there,
a tiny bit of stringing of boxwood.
But not only is it there, it's also running round the top there as well.
-What have we got inside this box here?
-We don't know. I don't want to force the lock, obviously.
-You think you may be able to find the key?
We'll give ourselves some breathing space on that one.
I suspect that is also a tea caddy, but that is Victorian.
That is walnut and you can tell by the difference of colour of the timber here.
-That is much more of a nutty brown colour.
-What sort of value do you think for this together?
Well, price, we're looking at, roughly, I suppose, £150,
so therefore, £150 to £200 at auction.
I'm very pleased with that valuation because we were looking to raise...
-Can you remember how much you wanted to raise at the start of the day?
Which is going towards refurbishing this room.
-Do you think we've come anywhere near that figure?
-I'd be surprised.
Well, the good news then is the total value of everything going to auction comes to £1,070.
-The next time we see all your lovely items will be at the auction.
-Thank you so much.
'Fingers crossed, Diane will enjoy the auction just as much,
'especially if we manage to surpass her £800 target
'and here's just a few of her items heading to the saleroom -
'the fabulous collection of 1920s costume jewellery
'that could bring in £200 to £300.
'Her three stunning tea caddies
'which will hopefully surpass their £150 to £200 estimate.
'But will Diane decide to part
'with the amazing collection of Laurence Olivier memorabilia?
'Jonty valued it at £100 to £150, but with all those memories,
'it remains to be seen if Diane will be able to part with it.
'Still to come on Cash In The Attic - Diane overcomes her nerves when the bids come rolling in.'
-We've doubled the lower end of the estimate.
-Does that put a smile on your face?
'I need to curb Jonty's enthusiasm.'
I think we're creeping up slowly. It's all doing quite well.
I'll let you know when we're over target.
-'Find out how it all turns out when the final hammer falls.'
It's been a while since we met Diane in her home in North London
where we learnt all about her work at a theatre company.
Now we've brought her collectables to John Nicholson Auctioneers in Surrey.
We're hoping as the auction is on a Saturday, the bidders are relaxed and ready to spend their money.
'This popular saleroom holds two antique auctions every month
'and today there are 750 lots on offer, so fingers crossed for a really good turnout.
'We spot Diane and Vivian through the crowd taking a final look at those lovely tea caddies.'
-You've spotted the boxes. Have you seen your other items?
-How does that feel, seeing them here?
Especially the boxes. I'm attached to those, but it's time for them to go.
-Are you looking forward to it?
-You seem a little nervous.
-Are you? Why?
It's my first auction and I'm just nervous about things.
-And we'll look after you.
-OK. Thank you.
-Are you ready to sell some items?
-Come on then.
'One thing we can be certain of is the absence of the Sir Laurence Olivier memorabilia.
'After much consideration, Diane decided she couldn't bear to part
'with such a personal collection, and who can blame her?
'We still have 11 fantastic lots to sell,
'commencing with the impressive collection of vintage fans.'
I put £60 to £100 on them
and I hope we'll get there because they deserve to. We've got so many.
I'm bid here to 20, 30, 40. At £40. 50 anywhere now for the fans?
At £40. Looking for 50? Lady's bid at 50.
At £50. 60 anywhere now?
At 50, the maiden bid. 60 anywhere?
The lady's bid, selling at £50...
-That's very low.
'Ouch! That's not the result we were looking for
'and our first sale of the day falls £10 short of its lowest estimate.
'And the cigarette cards have the same luck.'
35, 40, no.
At 35, the gentleman's bid. 40 anywhere now.
40 anywhere, selling at 35.
'Selling just below their £40 estimate too.
'Vivian was disappointed with the valuation
'on the perfume bottles and atomisers,
'so let's hope there are people here who like them as much as Vivian.'
This is an interesting little mix.
I really like how all your items are quite feminine.
-Is £40 to £60 reasonable?
-Let's see what we can get for these.
A lot of interest. I can start bids here at 40, 50, 60, 70...
-How about that? 70 quid.
Do I see 80 anywhere now? At £70 on commission. 80.
-Make it 100. Go on, make it 100!
Selling on commission at £80...
-It makes up for the others.
-It's double the lower end of the estimate.
-Does that put a smile on your face?
'Now, that's more like it, £20 over top estimate.
'Diane and Vivian are both clearly delighted.
The case spoons and knife don't manage to catch the bidders' attention.'
At £50. 60 anywhere?
60 anywhere? All done at 50...? That's not sold.
'So, it looks like they're heading home with Diane.
Hopefully, the bronze medallions can get us back on track.
In the 19th century, a lot of coins like this were struck simply to commemorate various events.
One of our big ones was a copy from a very early time, from the 1500s.
So there's a real sort of mix and mishmash that we've got here.
-We've got £50 to £100. Does that sound OK?
-Yes, that's fine.
-Let's see if anyone picks up on them.
And I'm bid here to 30, 40, 50, 60.
On commission at 60. 70 anywhere now?
70, your bid, sir. My commission's out. At £70.
80 anywhere? It's your bid down here, selling at £70... Thank you.
We're creeping up slowly. It's all doing quite well.
I'll let you know when we're over target.
'Just because your estimate was spot-on, Jonty, let's not get too carried away.
'We've still got a long way to go. It's another collection up next -
'the Victorian cranberry ware glass,
'still popular with enthusiasts today.
'Jonty valued it at £70 to £100.'
I can start here at 60, 70, 80, 90, £100.
At £100. 110. 120. One more?
130. My commission's out.
At 130. 140. 150.
160? No. At £150 then, the gentleman's bid.
160 anywhere? Your bid, sir, selling at £150...
-I bet your mother will be delighted to know that it had gone for that.
'I'm thrilled that the cranberry ware sold for such a great sum.
'With half our lot sold we've made £385.
'Which is nearly half our target - not bad going at all.
'Now, if like Diane, you have a special reason to raise some cash
'and are thinking of heading to auction
'then please do remember that fees like commission
'and VAT may be added to your bill.
'So always check details with your auction house first.
'It's time for our next lot of the day - the collection of RAF medals.'
This is a big collecting area. I put £80 to £120 on this.
-The market is growing. In fact, this is going to take off.
There's a pun in there somewhere.
I can start here at 50. 60 anywhere? 60, your bid, madam.
70 anywhere now? At £60, second row.
70. 80 if you'd like? 80.
-This is great.
130? No? At 120, the lady's bid.
-130, fresh place. 140...
-It's a fresh bidder.
160 if you'd like? Against you then at £150 at the back of the room. 160, fresh place.
-This is great.
-At 220 then at the back of the room.
It's had its time. Selling at the back of the room at £220...
-Well done, well done.
'What an incredible result!
'That's £100 over Jonty's top estimate.
'And the cigarette cases and collection of compacts
'quickly find new homes too.
'Adding £160 to our kitty between them.
'Will our next item prove just as popular?'
Our next lot, I think, is the nicest lot in the auction today
because it's those lovely tea caddies.
I really like the French one. I just think that's so feminine.
-Are you not having second thoughts about parting with these?
-I can understand why.
-It's a nice collection.
-I completely agree. I think those boxes are really beautiful.
The problem is you only get top dollar if boxes are in mint condition.
Our boxes all have something slightly wrong with them.
-But I've only put £150 on all three. That's only £50 a box.
-All right, let's see what we can get.
I can start here at £100. 120. 130.
140. At 140.
150. 160 if you'd like?
170. 180. 190.
-That's more like it.
240. 260. 280. 300?
-Are you sure?
-300, fresh place.
At £300 then. 20 anywhere else? It's had its time, the lady's bid, selling at £300...
-That's really good.
'What a great result for the tea caddies and worth every penny!
'Our final lot of the day is up next and it's another collection.
'It's Diane's mother's hoard of gold and silver jewellery
'that dates back to the 1920s.'
-Jonty, £200 to £300 for these?
-Yeah, another collection.
Another big collection this time and this is a typical dealer's lot.
We should be there or thereabouts.
I can start here at £100. 120. 140.
160. On commission at 160.
180 anywhere now? 180. My commission's out.
-At 180 with you, madam.
200 anywhere now? At £180. 200 anywhere?
It's had its time, the lady's bid... 200.
220. 240, madam?
At 220 then. The bid is seated, selling at £220... Thank you.
-Yes, it's a lot, isn't it?
-That is fantastic. Thank you.
'That was close, but thanks to some late bidding, the jewellery sold for £20 above estimate
'and concludes what's been a very exciting day at auction.'
Now, bearing in mind you wanted to raise £800 for your new carpet,
you can probably start thinking about having a plush interior now
because everything we've sold tots up to £1,295.
There was no need to be nervous at all. You wouldn't have been if you'd known it would be like this.
That is terrific. Thanks.
'It's just a few days after the highly-successful day at auction
'and Diane heads down to her local carpet store
'for some interior-design inspiration.'
'The whole experience of choosing carpet samples and carpets
'has given me a fantastic idea for the room.'
I'm really looking forward to a new image.
And having seen what an amazing job Diane made of her garden,
I have no doubt she'll do wonders to the interior of her home as well.
Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden are in north London to meet Diane Mills. The collectables in her home include signed memorabilia from her old boss Sir Laurence Olivier, but will she be able to part with such personal items to pay for her planned home improvements?