Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden help Josie and Len Higgs sort through a lifetime of collectibles to be auctioned so they can buy a plasma screen and have family movie nights.
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Hello, and welcome to the show that searches for hidden treasures to sell at auction.
You know what it's like, you go on holiday, you get carried away and bring back those typical souvenirs.
Well, the couple we're meeting today have been doing that for 40 years.
What they really want to know is, is there any cash in their attic?
Coming up on Cash In The Attic, a pair of Staffordshire pugs that prove pedigree costs.
-£40, 40 years ago?
-It was a lot of money.
I think she was mugged.
And some amateur craftsmanship dazzles our expert.
-This is actually made by Len?
And it's solid silver? I can actually see a hallmark there, too.
At auction, we hit the jackpot with some antique dice.
I reckon you've thrown three sixes there.
Find out what happens later on Cash In The Attic.
Well, today, I've come to the picturesque Findon in West Sussex
to meet a really adventurous couple
who've called in the Cash In The Attic team
to help them sell souvenirs of both their travels and their hobbies
so they can finance a rather nice stay-at-home treat.
Josie loves her pet pug and husband Len loves his hobbies.
Together, they have three daughters,
seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Josie and Len were childhood sweethearts
and met when they were both working at WH Smith's in the 1950s.
Len later went to work for the Daily Mirror
in London's famous Fleet Street.
When he retired in 1989, they moved to their holiday home in Spain
and they lived there for six years before deciding to move back
to be with their family, who they missed very much.
With a hoard of souvenirs and collectibles purchased over the years,
they now want to clear out the clutter and raise enough money
to buy something the whole family can gather around and enjoy.
Jonty Hearnden is with me today
and, with his lifelong experience of antiques,
he knows just what to look for.
-I can hear a noise that sounds like... Pug dog!
-Hello, how are you?
Hello, lovely! I recognise that noise
because I've got a pug dog and they always sound like they're snoring.
You're lovely! Great to meet her, but I guess that's not why you've called us in!
So, why did you call us?
Er, we'd like to get some money to buy a plasma - I believe it's plasma - television.
And I've got a few odd bits and I'm hoping Jonty and yourself
will look at them and be able to get me to the target - £300.
-That's a very cheap plasma TV.
-Oh, no, we've got some money to add to it.
-Just to top it up and get what we want, we need about £300.
OK, and the items that we'll be looking at, you say you've got quite a lot.
-Is that stuff you've collected or inherited?
-Um, yeah, over the years...
-I've collected something over the years as well called Jonty Hearnden!
-I'm hoping he'll have found something to help us reach that £300 target. Shall we?
Sniff him out! Where is he?
Well, they certainly have a house filled with all sorts of bits and bobs,
and it looks like Jonty's made the first discovery.
-Look what I've found.
-Have you found something already?
Something amazing. I've got this treasure chest.
Inside, all that glistens IS gold!
It's wonderful. We've got this lovely, chunky 9-carat gold necklace here.
And we've got one, two other, smaller necklaces,
and a lovely pair of fish earrings.
-Those are 9-carat gold as well...
-A lovely little collection of gold. Can we sell this?
Is this stuff that you've bought yourself over the years?
No, my father, he used to work at Covent Garden.
And when he finished work, he used to go to Hatton Garden
and buy little bits of gold and he got quite friendly with a jeweller,
and he used to sell bits for him.
And anything really nice, he used to show Len and Len used to buy them
and he'd say it would do good in a rainy day.
-And how long ago was that?
-Ooh, 40 years.
He was ahead of his time, then, because there's lots of people
buying and selling gold at the moment, aren't there?
It's so exciting at the moment
because everyone's trading with gold and, as a consequence,
the market, the price, is just going up and up and up.
-Right now, if you're thinking of selling gold...
..you're hitting it just at the right moment.
When it comes to valuing these items,
we have to be unemotional about them - detached -
because they are sold for their scrap value only.
But just this small amount here, we're now looking at...
-Just for this.
-It's a small amount.
I'd have melted it down a long time ago!
-That's a great find.
It is, isn't it?
This collection has certainly been a great investment for them,
and I'm hoping that I have the Midas touch,
spotting this large, oval-frame mirror in the bedroom.
It's not quite as valuable as Jonty's earlier find...
Josie also wants to sell this white leather chair,
which she bought for £5 in Spain.
With turned legs and a serpentine front, it has a 19th century feel,
but Jonty assures us it's a modern piece.
So, will Josie be happy to say adios to that distinctive chair
when it goes before the bidders?
What do we say for this one? £50, what do we say?
20? 10 for it. What's that, five? Good heavens!
Oh, dear, does it climb back up?
Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten...
Well, it does, but by how much? Find out later.
As our search of Len and Josie's house continues,
Jonty has a good look at the sideboard in the lounge
and decides to check out this collection of plates.
They were all bought by Josie when they lived in Spain
and the images are transfer printed rather than hand-painted,
so Jonty values them at:
He also spots a pair of 1960s reproduction
Edwardian glass ceiling lights in the bedroom.
Excuse me, Jonty, I've just seen these two pugs...
-A pair of pugs we have!
So, let's have a look at these. These are Staffordshire.
-Generically called Staffordshire
because that's where they would have been made.
Certainly, in the 19th century, there were many factories in the Stoke-on-Trent area
that produced ceramics not necessarily for the rich,
but for the masses.
-That's the reason why a lot of what they produced was, I suppose, very, very simple,
and that's the reason why people started collecting Staffordshire,
because they loved the simplicity.
If you look at the simplicity of our pair of dogs here,
they don't have great detail,
but they somehow have character.
-How much did you pay for these?
-£40, 40 years ago?!
I think she was mugged.
-Are you sure you're happy to sell them?
-I'm going to shock you.
I don't think that they're worth the £40.
I would put £30 to £50 for them at auction. How do you feel about that?
Josie's next find is an interesting one. It's a carved nut
and, inside, there's three dice,
so it's worth a gamble as it's odds on winning £10 to £30 at auction.
What about this?
-Wow, that's a much bigger... It's not really an earring, is it?
So, tell me about this one.
Len made that. We used to go to silver classes,
and I have a small...
-So this is actually made by Len?
-And it's solid silver?
-I can actually see a hallmark there, too.
So he had it hallmarked, which is wonderful.
The school we went to,
they had the...Queen's jubilee for one year, the stamp.
So whatever we made that year,
it was all stamped with the jubilee stamp.
Right, yes. That was quite a fashion at the time,
-stamping those ingots, wasn't it?
What else have we got...? Oh, talking of which!
We've got loads of ingots. How many there?
-One, two, three...
Well, all our little items in there
we will sell, probably, as one lot.
-Again, we need to assess
the sort of weight that we've got here.
-And a bit like the gold - we had less gold.
-We have more silver here but the same value at auction.
-Great. I'm happy with that.
A great find, and well done to Len and Josie
for making all that jewellery.
They clearly have the ability to craft out their own careers
wherever they are.
You must have been amongst the first of the Brits to sort of buy into Spain at that time?
We bought a bit of land in Spain many years ago and just sat on it.
We always knew we were going to end up there.
The disaster for us was I couldn't get to my retirement age
to get the government pension
to support what was deteriorating in that field of money at the time.
So, we decided to come back. We missed the family.
-So how many children have you got?
-Three. Three girls.
And what are their ages?
Er, Tracey, she's 46.
-Yeah, I think so, about that.
-And Zena's 44...
-..and Liz will be about 41.
-So you've been surrounded by girls, then.
-Yes. Dominated by girls!
I grumble a bit, they say,
but I think that's only natural.
-When you get older, you don't want to be pushed and, "Get this," and...
-They say that about Jonty!
Yeah, leave him alone, like, you know!
I hope he's not grumbling too much in there because we need to find some stuff to sell, don't we?
Len is a keen fisherman and goes carp fishing three times a week.
His parents were also enthusiasts
and gave him his own fishing rod and reel.
Unfortunately, though, there's no manufacturer's mark,
and that makes it difficult to date and value.
Let's hope we reel in the bidders at...
So, Len, here we are in your dusty garage,
but we're surrounded by movie-making equipment.
-Is this you?
This was, years ago, me
but, as movie equipment advanced
and the family grew up, I lost interest.
We've got a lot of equipment here - two projectors.
One projector here is by Bell & Howell,
which is a great American name.
This is a Super 8. Does that do 16mm as well?
-That does both.
-And we've got this lovely little cine camera here.
Well, it was at the time but, when you look at it now,
you think it's a bit cheap, you know what I mean?
Not really because Bell & Howell, again - the same as the projector.
I don't think you'll get a vast amount for it at auction
but I think you're looking at possibly £50 to £100 for it.
-You happy about that?
Now, the girls are busy in the house.
I've brought the ice creams.
Let's roll this cine film and see what happens.
PROJECTOR WHIRS Is that you?
That's me - it was. That's back in England.
As the boys reminisce, we're coming to the end of our rummage,
searching for items that will help them replace this old technology
with something more up-to-date.
I find this Beswick owl.
This was a gift from Josie's father and dates back to the 1980s.
It's still collectable today. It's valued at £20-£30.
And collecting is one of Josie's big hobbies.
She didn't stop, even when they moved to Spain.
Now, of course, you know, but a lot of people might be looking at this
and thinking, "They're all Lladro figures."
-But they're not, are they?
Because, if you look on the underside here,
-we have a Tengra stamp.
Now, Lladro, and many other factories,
were based in the region of Valencia.
They have about 70% of the market share...
-..of this style of figurine work.
But there are smaller factories that are in the style of,
and Tengra is one of them.
If they had been Lladro,
we would have been talking about an appreciably larger sum of money.
They have to be, at least, worth...
It's only that sort of ballpark that I think we are playing with
-which, of course, is not necessarily even getting your money back.
So, how do you feel about that?
Um...I think we can take a chance and see
or I might keep one or two pieces back. Depends.
I have got a couple of pieces that are favourite
and I might keep a few bits back.
-I might not.
-We'll watch this space.
Right, well. I have to say, these might have not returned a huge investment for you
which, as you say, wasn't the point, but lots of other things have.
You wanted £300, didn't you?
-So that we can remove all of these and put the television up here.
Right, well, the value of everything that's going to auction comes to £540!
-Oh, that's great news!
-Lovely. Yeah, brilliant.
-Yeah, I'm well pleased with that.
That's fantastic. We smashed through the £300 target today
and I can see Cash In The Attic in widescreen up on their wall already.
And to get us to that target
are some great finds, including...
the collection of gold jewellery they bought as an investment
on the advice of Josie's father 40 years ago.
That should set the bidders' eyes alight.
And the silver jewellery, too.
Many of the pieces were made by Len and Josie.
And there's the two Staffordshire ceramic pugs,
which Josie bought for £40 40 years ago.
Let's hope they break through the estimate
when they go under the hammer.
Still to come on Cash In The Attic...
A mirror given as a payment for a DIY job attracts a lot of attention.
Len, your job was worth £40!
-I hope that lady's watching.
And Jonty thinks Josie's plates still have a place at auction.
I eat off a plate every day!
But will we get our just desserts?
Now, it's been a few weeks since we met Len, Josie and the pug dog, Sol.
We had a great day at their home.
We found plenty of antiques and collectibles to bring here
to Denham's auction house in Sussex.
Now, remember, they want to raise £300 towards that new plasma TV.
Let's just hope the bidders are tuned in to our items when they go under the hammer today.
These fortnightly auctions take place in rural Sussex
and they sell everything from antiques and fine quality furniture
to curios, costume jewellery and house clearance goods.
Len and Josie brought their collection here a few days ago.
So, did everything arrive?
-That one's got the label on it...
Hello, very nice to see you.
There's two here, and I've seen a few others.
I've only spotted six.
-What happened with the other three?
-I couldn't bring them all!
-Couldn't part with them.
Once I took them all down from the wall,
it just looked so bare.
And I had a chap come in
to see about putting the telly - when we buy it - on the wall,
and he said it wasn't a safe wall.
So it was an excuse to keep three of them to put back on the wall
-and get a stand when we get the television.
Everything else is here, I take it?
And our first lot of Len and Josie's to come up
is the ornate, carved wooden nut,
shaped like an egg, and containing three bone dice.
What do we say for it? £30 for it? 20, then. I'm bid 20.
And two. 24, 26, 28, 30.
And two. 34, 36, 38...
With me now at £38, then.
40, then, and two.
With me, now, at 42, then. Are we done, now?
At 42, and selling at £42, you're all done at 42, are you?
-£42! That's really good, isn't it?
I think you've thrown three sixes there! That's amazing.
Well, that's a great start to our day here,
and Josie's delighted.
Next up, the white chair. It's in the catalogue for:
What do we say for this one? £50 for it, do we say?
30, then? Come on, now.
20? 10 for it. I'm bid five...
What's that, five?! Good heavens.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
12, 14... At £14.
Can't sell this at £14.
Do I see any more than 14? Can't sell it at 14, then.
-It doesn't matter.
Well, Josie's obviously not too disappointed with that non-sale
but we are here to try and make them some money.
Next up is a bevelled wall mirror in a decorative gilt frame,
which Len was given in payment for doing some decorating.
£20 for it, do we say?
10, then? Come on. I'm bid 10.
12, 14, 16, 18, 20.
And two. 24. 26?
24 with you. Yours at... Ah, 26.
28 now. 30. And two. 34, 36.
38, 40. And two?
Gentleman's bid at £40, then.
Are we all done at 40, are we? Away we go at 40.
Len! Your job was worth £40!
I hope that lady's watching.
That's brilliant - double Jonty's estimate. Well done, Len.
There's more money in the kitty when the fishing rod and reel
and Beswick owl go under the hammer -
adding £44 to the pot between them.
Now, will the Staffordshire pug dogs prove just as popular?
-We want £30 to £50, Jonty.
-Absolutely. I'm sure somebody will love them.
A pair of Staffordshire style figures of pugs.
Handsome little dogs.
My grandmother was a champion breeder of these beasts.
What do we say for them?
What do we say for them? £30 for them?
20, then. They don't eat much. 12, 14, 16.
Come along. With me at £16. That's bought one of them.
With me at 16. 18. At £18, then.
Are we all done and selling? Can't sell this at 18.
At £18, then. Everyone wants to see me afterwards.
How do you feel? Disappointed?
-Well, yeah, it did seem a little bit...
Maybe it's not everybody's dog, though, a pug.
No, that's very true. We have to consider that, but that's a pair like that.
You know, I still think that would have been very, very cheap, had it sold at that price.
Yeah, the auctioneer was wise. He took them up to that figure,
-but they weren't biting any further, so he brought them in.
That's fine, I'm quite happy with that.
The ceramic pugs are unsold
but Josie's not bothered as she's the real thing at home.
With half our lots sold, we've made £126 towards our £300 target -
and, with two lots unsold, that's not bad going.
If you have a special project that you'd like to try and raise money for at auction,
do bear in mind there are charges to be paid, such as commission.
These vary from one sale room to another,
so it's always worth enquiring in advance.
Len and Josie's next lot
is the collection of Spanish porcelain plates.
-Now, for the plates, we want £30-£50.
I bet they cost you a lot more.
They did, but it's fashion, isn't it?
-Probably just not everybody is into plates now.
The fashion changes.
-Well, let's see what we can get for them.
What do we say for those? Classical plates there.
£30 for them, do we say?
20, then. 10 to get us going. Come on, now.
I'm bid £5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10...
At £10, then. Are we done? 12, 14,
16, 18, 20
and two, 24, 26, 28. 28 at the back.
Going to sell now at £28.
£28, are you happy with that?
-Good, OK. More money in the bank.
I was a little bit concerned when you said plates are out of fashion. I eat off a plate every day.
Yes, Jonty. Don't pack in your day job.
Your estimate was almost spot-on there.
Next up is the Bell & Howell Super 8 movie projector,
edit machine and photographic equipment.
What do we say for it? £50 for it?
20, have we, then?
I'm bid £10. 12, 14,
16, 18. At £18, do I see 20 anywhere?
At £18 - a cheap lot at £18, then. Are we done at £18, then?
Oh, what a shame. But still, Len's going to hold on to it
and may yet put it to use.
Fortunately, the pair of glass fittings have better luck.
At 26, do I see 28?
At 26 with you, sir. Looking for 28. At 26, are we all done at 26?
Going to sell at 26, then.
So £26, and Len and Josie are happy with that.
Their next lot is the silver jewellery that they both made.
Given the sentimentality attached to this lot,
Josie has put on a £150 reserve.
What do say for that collection? Do we say £100 for it, then?
75. I'm bid 50.
And five, 60,
and five, 70, and five, 80,
and five, 90,
and five, 100.
-And 10, 120, 130, 140...
-150 with you, then...
Selling now at £150, then.
-How about that?
-Yes, well pleased.
-Are you happy with that?
-You cracked it.
-Well, not personally.
I think that's great. Testament to your own craftsmanship as well. Handmade pieces, a lot of those.
-Yes. And they were solid.
-There was only one bidder in the room
and, because you had that reserve, it went all the way up to £150.
-So that's thanks to you.
Sold for Josie's reserve, they're obviously delighted
that the winning bidder appreciated their talents
for making beautiful silver objects.
The next lot is the Tengra figures.
Josie couldn't bear to part with some of them,
so not all of them are here.
Can we still make the £100 estimate?
So, what do we say for those?
Six instead of nine, do we say £100 for them?
Do we say 50 for them?
-Decorative figures. 30, then?
20. Thank you, I'm bid £20, and two.
24, 26, 28, 30, and two, 34, 36, 38.
At £38, then.
Are we done now at £38, then? Can't sell them at 38, then. At £38...
-Back on the wall.
-Oh, no they're not.
What are you going to do with them?
-Wrap them up and put them away.
-Put them in the loft with the camera.
Oh, no! Josie and Len are going to be taking
a fair bit of stuff back with them today
but I don't think Josie really minds.
Now, our next lot is a collection of gold,
although I notice in the catalogue it's described as "gilt metal".
Gilt metal, yeah. I had a word with the auctioneer,
and he said, because they're not hallmarked,
they had to put them down as gilt.
So that's fine, I'm quite happy with that.
Gilt metal necklace. Other items of gilt metal etc, etc, etc.
As you see them there.
Quite a collection. What do we say for them? £100 for them? I'm bid 100 straight in.
Do I see the 10? At £100,
and 10, 120, 130,
140, 150, 160, 170,
190, 200, and 20.
240, 260? 240 with you.
-I told you you were valuable.
-Are we done now at 240, and selling?
-Are you pleased with that?
It's amazing, isn't it?
Well, we've certainly ended on a high.
Len and Josie made almost their target figure
with just that last lot.
Josie's dad certainly knew what he was doing all those years ago.
OK, well, you're taking a few bits home, but nothing too substantial.
You wanted £300 for the plasma television.
Do you think we've made that?
Not sure, maybe a little bit near it.
-You've done better than that. You've made £570.
I can't believe it!
You've paid for the telly!
Well, not personally. I have to say, I think most of that is down to your dad,
his very shrewd gold investment, to be honest.
-That really boosted our prices.
-Are you pleased?
So what are you going to do with the extra money?
Erm...I might take him to lunch!
Len and Josie are very keen to spend their auction earnings
and head straight to their local electrical store
to try out the latest in plasma television technology.
And guess what's on?
Oh, look. Cash In The Attic.
The television's packing up, it's a very bad picture.
Hoping to get something much larger, much clearer.
Their hi-tech purchase doesn't fill the whole wall
but fits in very nicely with Josie's Tengra ladies.
-Are you happy now?
-I think you'll spend many hours watching that thing.
-I think so.
-You will go to bed now and again, won't you?
Josie and Len Higgs want to buy a plasma screen to treat their family to movie nights. Lorne Spicer and Jonty Hearnden help them sort through a lifetime of collectibles that can be sold at auction.