Joy Cheshire wants to sell the memorabilia she collected with her husband David, a theatre historian. Gloria Hunniford and John Cameron help her chase her 1000 pound target.
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Hello and welcome to Cash In the Attic,
the programme that searches for antiques and collectables
to help their owners realise a dream or fund a special project.
It's always very sad when one has to downsize because of bereavement
but when you go in for the final declutter,
it's very poignant to find out what the family can bear to part with and what they can't.
Coming up on Cash In The Attic, the lady of the house has little time
for our expert's football fads.
A big favourite of mine, star of England and Manchester United,
Sir Bobby Charlton.
And the daunting face of this Victorian actor
sends shivers up our spines.
It's often believed that the character Dracula was based
on Henry Irving.
-You can see why, can't you?
We ask her the crucial question - which is better,
Lord Olivier or a Sunderland ware plate?
Why are they homing in on that and not on Laurence Olivier?
-I couldn't quite see...
-Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There's only one way to find out - be there when the hammer falls.
Now, today I'm near Chichester
on what would have been the site of a magnificent Roman palace.
In fact, when you look at the symmetry of the gardens,
the Romans built the trenches in which the box trees are planted.
Now, the man who lived here - I had to write this down -
is Tiberius Claudius Togidubnus. Quite a name.
But I'm off to meet Joy Cheshire who lives just down the road.
This garden may not be quite as extensive as those at the Roman palace
but it really makes an idyllic setting
for the charming rectory in West Sussex.
It's been Joy's home for more than a decade.
Even so, the time has now come for her to leave.
A few months ago, she very sadly lost her husband, David Cheshire,
a well-respected author, theatre historian and collector
and the place simply isn't the same without him.
She needs help sorting through all the porcelain, paintings,
furniture and books that they collected over their long marriage
before she can even consider downsizing.
She's also very keen to fly to Australia
to visit her half-sister Suzette,
with whom she was reunited just a few years ago.
Joy has two grown-up children, a son, and a daughter, Ellen,
and Ellen is helping us out today.
We're all depending on our valuer, John Cameron,
who has more than 20 years' experience in antiques.
So while he makes a start in the parlour, I meet our hosts.
Well, Joy. I find you in the middle of your record collection.
-Very good. Very nice to see you.
-How do you do?
-We were so looking forward to meeting you.
-My daughter Ellen.
-Nice to see you.
So, Joy, yours is a very interesting story,
a very interesting set of circumstances,
but why did you call in the Cash In The Attic team?
Yeah, because, I lived here 11 years with David,
which was just brilliant.
And so slowly we're getting rid of the things,
passing them on to other people who will enjoy them, I hope.
Our expert's going to have the most wonderful time today.
You've got so many different things.
Yes, from lollipop wrappers to records and CDs, DVDs,
the really quirky next to the real sublime,
so this is a real mix of stuff that we've been having to go through
and find homes for.
Well, John's already rummaging along your bountiful shelves
and in the drawers, finding all sorts of things,
-so would you like to come and meet him?
-Yes, that would be great.
Joy hopes to make £1,000 at auction to pay for her trip Down Under
to visit her half-sister, Suzette.
With luck, John's already laid eyes on some valuable mementoes
that could just get us started.
Ooh, you found the royal mugs.
How many mugs do you have here?
-I don't know.
-There's about 24, 25 of them here,
starting from Queen Victoria
and going right up to Queen Elizabeth II.
Nice collection. One or two interesting items amongst them.
It's an amazing collection.
-Are you the guilty person in terms of collecting?
I'm not even a royalist. THEY LAUGH
David started work up in Stafford, which is near Stoke-on-Trent,
so they were just in the market and he bought one or two if they were really cheap.
And that's what he did during the rest of his life.
He just happened to be somewhere and he saw one
and it was like 30 pence maximum, he'd buy it,
and we'd stick them up above the picture rail
But they grew until they went all the way along the picture rail.
Well, my favourite two have to be these.
The colouring's the same. They're made about 17 years apart.
These are both by Royal Doulton. They're transfer printed,
this one for the coronation of Edward VII,
this one here to celebrate the end of the First World War.
We've got all the names of the different allies here
and there we are, Britannia, there - "Pro patria", for country.
You've got one or two very common examples.
I wouldn't cherry pick. I'd say put the lot in and see what happens.
So are they very collectable? Will they sell at auction?
And the third question is, how much do you think we might get?
Well, the majority of them are quite common -
20, 30, 40, 50 pence, the sort of things you see in charity shops,
but you do have some from earlier in the 20th century.
I'd put them together. I'd put £40-£60 on them as an estimate.
-On the lot?
-Yes. And then see where you go from there.
Joy, I may not be able to drink out of Queen Victoria's mug
but at least I can make the tea, so let's head this way.
'And I'm good at it!
'A very respectable figure to start our search.
'It's our host who makes the next discovery,
'an oil painting of the actor Laurence Olivier
'in his Shakespearean role as Coriolanus.
'On our expert's advice, she pairs it up with another picture of the acting lord
'in character as Hamlet.
'Together, they could bring in £50-£80
'And I find a very attractive plate. showing the tea clipper Red Jacket,
'named after a famous Native American chief.
'She was built in the USA and launched in 1853.
'The plate was made by Adams pottery of Staffordshire.
'and we think it should be worth at least £20.'
Well, Joy, it's lovely, enjoying the sunshine
in your gorgeous garden
and I'm beginning to get a picture of David,
just having had a look at this accumulator man
and some of the things he's collected.
Tell me what kind of a person he was. Was he a real character?
I suppose he was and certainly, at the funeral,
the stories people were telling made him suddenly become larger than life.
So how big did his collection of various things become?
Well, when they took away the books the other week,
there were over 14,000 books.
And where do you think this passion came from?
Was it his upbringing or did it just develop over the years?
I don't really know.
He came from a village in Northamptonshire
and he was a clever boy,
you know, like the first in the village to get the 11 plus,
the first in the village to go to grammar school,
all that sort of thing.
But he got very much attached to the theatre.
So how difficult is it for you, doing this downsizing
and getting rid of a lot of stuff that he put so much passion into?
I think it is probably the best displacement activity
that I could have.
I don't want to live here without David.
Ellen said I said that the day after he died and that is quite true.
And then I found other reasons not to stay here -
too big a house, couldn't afford it, all the other things.
I just threw myself into placing the library and the archive
and the ephemera collection and the other bits and bobs.
Well, Joy, I have so loved hearing about your husband, David.
And we're enjoying looking at some of his things today
but I think we'd better get cracking.
-We need £1,000...
-..to get you to Australia.
It sounds as if David was a really fascinating man,
very respected as an expert in his field
and, of course, very much missed by those who knew and loved him.
I'm pleased that John and Ellen have kept up the search for items
that should have lots of appeal at auction.
It seems appropriate that our next find relates to David's interest
in the long history of British theatre.
John? They're unusual.
-Gosh. Do these ring a bell?
-Yes, well, there's a clue at the bottom. Sir Henry Irving...
-..as various characters he must have played.
-So are they watercolours, John?
-They are indeed
and each one has been signed.
Have a look at the detail. The treatment of the costume is quite remarkable.
And looking at the face of Henry Irving, he looks quite menacing.
He's really captured the character.
There must be a story about this awful face.
I believe that at the Lyceum Theatre, where he was so well-connected,
the manager there was Bram Stoker
and it's often believed that the character of Dracula
was based on Henry Irving.
-And you can see why, can't you?
When you look at the face, there is a touch of the Peter Cushing there.
But looking at the signature, it's not an artist I know. J Winship.
I don't know that name.
They are dated as well and each one is titled,
we can see the character.
I think that this may well be somebody
attached to the actual theatre production,
either in costume or in set design.
-So do you think Mum will be happy for these to go?
-I think so, yes.
-OK. What might we get for them, John?
I do think they'll appeal to a certain sort of person.
There must be a lot of theatre collectors, though?
Absolutely. It's a case of marketing them
but without any further research,
I'd put an estimate of £400-£600 on them.
-That seems quite healthy, Ellen, doesn't it?
We'll see if they sell, if they are to be or not to be.
Well, £400 makes a huge difference to our potential auction takings
but will the bidders be quite so generous?
We're on 310. 320, 330.
340, 350, 360.
This could be an exciting sale.
Ellen's found another picture of Sir Henry Irvingdated 1899
and signed by Ernest Moss.
Also, a colour print attributed to J Beaumont
and a ceramic gilt bust, stamped 1876.
'With luck, this second lot of Irving goodies
'should bring in £250-£300.
'Also winging its way to auction
'is this 19th century Japanese dinner service
'which Joy's grandfather collected during his time working as a ship's engineer for P&O.'
'John gives it a £70-100 price tag.'
-Have you found anything interesting?
-Well, there's this here, yes.
-Is there just the one of them?
-No, there's a pair.
-This one's here.
-Is that one named as well?
-Er, no. No name on this one.
-Just this one here.
-What do you know about them?
-Well, I've seen them for years.
They were originally at my grandma's.
Well, they're of a type of pottery known as Sunderland lustreware,
and these were made throughout the 19th century
in large quantity in the Sunderland area.
And you often see vessels - jugs and mugs with this decoration on.
That one's not named, this one is.
This one is the Bretagne. She's quite an important vessel.
She was a French ship and I think she had some distinguished service
out in the Crimean War.
-There's a bit of damage but it's on the one that's not named.
I think the value is in this one here
but even with the damage, I'd still be hoping for £100-£200 for them.
-Do you think that's good?
-I think so.
Well, don't hang them back up, I'll take these.
We'll get them wrapped up but there's lots of rummaging to do,
so you don't have permission to go to shore just yet. Come on.
He's masterful, you know. And John goes on to make the next find,
again with a nautical theme.
The dining room windows are lined with model yachts
that David and Joy collected over the years.
Pricing them at £80-£120,
John hopes someone else will fall in love with them as well.
And I wonder if Joy has struck gold with more theatrical memorabilia.
Hello, Joy, these look interesting. What are they?
These are two statues, obviously. Laurence Olivier.
-Are you old enough to remember him?
-I remember Olivier.
-But who's this one?
-This is Joan Sutherland, magnificent lady.
-The Australian soprano?
-There's not a great deal of age to them.
They're made of resin. They're reproductions.
But if you have a look on the back of this one,
and I know I've seen that one,
we've got a signature on here - Sedlecka.
Have you noticed that before? It's Irena Sedlecka,
a Czechoslovakian-born sculptor born in around about 1928
and is known for this sort of work.
She fled the old communist regime in about 1967,
came to this country and she also worked in America.
But she did win the Lenin prize for sculpture
before she left the old Soviet Union.
But she also had some rather interesting commissions,
people like Freddie Mercury.
-There's a huge life-sized sculpture in Montreux...
-..of Freddie Mercury.
And a big favourite of mine, star of England and Manchester United,
Sir Bobby Charlton.
So if I was selling these today,
I'd put an estimate, probably, of £80-£120 on them.
-Oh, yes, yes. I'd love that.
In the immortal words of Freddie Mercury
and in keeping with the theatrical theme, the show must go on, so we must keep rummaging.
Ellen has found a print called Popularity and is a representation
of all the stars of Edwardian music hall,
dating back to 1903.
It's also signed in pencil by the artist, Walter Lambert.
John thinks it could bring in £60-£80.
Well, our day near Chichester is drawing to a close
but on the landing a delightful print catches my eye.
-Come and have a look.
-OK, what have you found?
It's an interesting lithograph
-and I'm sure you've seen in it many, many times, Ellen.
-I have, yes.
Well, I did notice it on the way past. I'm a big fan of Sir Stanley Spencer
and it's a nice lithograph.
What I like about him is his passion for his village where he grew up in Berkshire, Cookham.
I read somewhere once that he was introduced to a head of state,
it may have been China or Russia, somewhere like that,
and he introduced himself as, "Hello, I'm Stanley from Cookham."
Primarily known as a primitive, a surrealist,
his work draws comparisons with Gauguin, the post-impressionists.
But his work is quite distinctive.
He was primarily a religious painter.
He painted Biblical scenes and miracles,
things like the loaves and the fishes, things like that.
He did landscape work, which was popular commercially,
but his passion was the religious pictures.
He always used the people from Cookham.
They were his own interpretations of these things
using modern people from his village of Cookham.
-So they were ones doing the miracles.
So obviously highly collectable but what value would you put on this?
This limited edition lithograph I would estimate at £300-£500.
You wanted £1,000 to go to Australia to meet your half-sister, Suzette.
If the estimations work out right
you've got £1,450.
-Right. Spending money.
-So, Ellen, half a ticket!
-Half a ticket.
-Maybe I could go...
-Maybe we could make a bit more.
-We look forward to seeing you at auction.
-Thank you very much.
Wow, this bodes very well for Joy's travel plans.
Fingers crossed, she'll soon be waltzing with Suzette, her sister,
if not Matilda, with the help of these items going to auction.
One of the most distinguished actors to grace the British stage, Sir Henry Irving,
seen in five original watercolours.
We're looking for £400-£600.
We have high hopes for the Sunderland lustreware plaques.
It should be worth at least £100 to militaria collectors.
And what about that lithograph,
showing the artist Sir Stanley Spencer's family with a dog?
Will this one make its £300 asking price?
'Still to come on Cash In The Attic,
'it's never easy to keep track of a packed auction.'
I'm busy looking to see who's bidding
and he's moved on. What did it go for?
And what's this? Could things be taking off in more ways than one?
So is that business class? No, it's not business class.
It's not enough for business class.
Find out at the final crack of the gavel.
What a fascinating day we had at Joy's cottage,
which was absolutely full of atmosphere
and full of things for us to have a look at.
So we picked out the creme de la creme
in the hope that we can raise at least £1,000
to send her off to Australia in style
and we brought them all here to the Chiswick Auction Rooms
in West London.
All we need now are bidders who are prepared to part with their cash.
Joy and Ellen sent their mementoes here in good time for viewing
but as many relate to the theatre,
I hope the specialist buyers turn out.
John's with me as we find them checking the Sunderland lustreware.
So here you are clutching onto what I think are very unusual.
Aren't they, yes?
They've just been around and we've taken them for granted.
And, of course, all important, we've got to get the £1,000.
-That's the goal.
-To see your half-sister.
Best of luck. I hope you get the money.
-Let's follow John.
The auctioneer is already cracking on with the sale
and Joy's first lot under the hammer
is the plate that I found tucked away in the spare bedroom.
John, do you think this is the kind of thing
-that will appeal in the room today?
-Well, I love anything maritime,
so I think it's worthy of a single lot on its own.
It's a nice plate with a good tea clipper on there.
At £20-£30, it should sell.
£20 for it. £10 for it.
£10, £10 for it.
Give me a bid of £10 or I'll pass the lot. Not a good start for you.
No-one's at £10, then? £5 for it?
Oh, dearie me. We'll pass that lot.
-Did he sell it at all?
-He didn't get a bid on it.
-So it's going home with you.
Uh-oh. Not the start we were hoping for
and I hope this won't augur badly for us
with three more ceramic lots still to come.
For instance, this large collection of mugs valued at £40-60.
They're worth £50. Start me, please. £30, the whole lot.
£30, at £30, give me 32, at 32, 35.
35, 38, 40, 42.
45? 45. 48? 50?
Five. 50 bid. At £50. At £50. Take five. All done?
At £50. We're going to sell at £50. It's your last chance. Gone.
Right in the middle of John's estimate.
And I hope their new owner enjoys them as much as Joy and her lovely husband David did.
We have the first of his theatrical memorabilia up next,
with the oil painting of renowned actor, Lord Olivier.
£30? £30, I'm bid. I'm bid £30. Thank you.
At £30 on the chairs. At 30. Bang me 32. Bang me 32.
32, 35? 35. 38?
42? At £40. A bid at £40.
New bidder. 42. 45?
-45, you're back in. 48?
At £48. Are we there? At £48. Take 50. At £48. At £48. Sold.
-So you're not dissatisfied, then?
The little pot is slowly but surely building up towards Australia.
Well, it's not a bad result, and the modern statues of Lord Olivier
and opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland quickly follow.
Bidding so far is at 75. It's your bid, sir, at 75.
Who'll give me 80? At 75 in the blue, you've got them.
Selling just under John's estimate of £80.
'I was bowled over by the mementoes that she and David had gathered
'and this collection certainly brought a great deal of charm to their dining room.'
We've got one pond yacht and three static models.
Now, we've got £80-£100, it's only £20 apiece.
-And are they very collectable?
-The early ones are.
They can go for thousands of pounds.
These are purely decorative.
£50 for the four boats. £40. I'm bid £40. At 45?
55. 60, five, 70.
Five? 70 bid, at £70. Take five. At £70.
£70. Out of the door at £70 and sold.
-So that was pretty good, wasn't it?
-Yeah, yeah, fine.
-70, John, yeah?
-Not bad. Just a bit under.
I would like to have done a bit better.
There's no pleasing our John. That seemed like a fair result to me
and I'm sure Joy and Ellen would agree
We're halfway through the sale and we've made £243 so far.
Remember, though, we're looking for £1,000 for Joy's plane ticket.
So, it's onwards and upwards.
Now, if you have a holiday or a special project in mind
and you'd like to try selling some of your items in this way,
it's worth bearing in mind that auction houses charge various fees,
such as commission.
Your local sale room will advise you on all these extra costs.
Joy's next lot is another rare print from her husband's collection.
It shows music hall stars of the Edwardian era.
At 42, 45, 48.
50, 55, 60.
Five? No. One in the corner at £60. At £60. Take five. At £60.
Are you all done? At £60 and going. Are we out? £60.
Bearing in mind this is your first auction, isn't it funny how it seemed to stick
and then it just took off?
I'm busy looking to see who's bidding and he's moved on.
-What did it go for?
I quite understand, Joy. I've been doing this for years
and I still can't always tell who is bidding on what.
But not a bad result for the painting.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Japanese dinner service.
It takes up an entire table at the auction.
John said £70-£100 but the bidders have other plans.
Pass that lot.
I hate it. Another no sale, so disappointing
but at least Joy will be able to sell it on another day.
Now, what will the buyers make of the Sunderland lustreware plaques?
£50? A bid at £50. At £50. I'll take 55.
55. 60? Five?
70, five. 80, five, 90, five.
100, 110, 120.
130, 140, 150.
160? At 160 and going. 160.
People would come to the house and say, "I like those,"
and I'd think, "Why are they homing in on that and not Laurence Olivier?"
-I couldn't quite see...
-Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
We can always count on John to remind us of our favourite sayings
and as we come to our next lot, he may have a point -
two 19th-century pictures and a bust of the actor Henry Irving.
£100 to start me for these three bits. £100 I'm bid.
I'll take 110. £100 in front of me. I'll take 110.
110, I'm bid. 120.
130? 130, 140, 150.
150, 160, 170?
The bid's here at 160. There's a bid at 160, that's as far as I can get.
160 and going. All done?
At 160 and gone.
It's all right.
-Another Irving lover is out there somewhere.
And the Irving lover will love what you've had over the years.
Perhaps the bidders find Irving's face just a little too daunting
to raise big bucks.
But I wonder if we dare to tempt fate with another Irving collection?
It's a set of five Victorian watercolours
which John valued at £400-600.
400? And 10. 420.
-Thank you, bidder.
At £490. At 490. Take five now. At 490. Are we done?
At 490, your last chance. All done? At 490. All out and gone?
So 490, is that business class? No, it's not enough for business class.
Lovely! Joy's starting to get excited
and with each sale, her trip to Australia flies even closer
towards becoming a reality.
Let's hope the final sale clinches it.
Joy and her husband David bought this picture in 1964,
a limited edition by the artist, Sir Stanley Spencer.
Well, it looks like there's telephone interest in this.
£200 for it. I'm bid £200. 300?
-That's the flight already.
660. 660, we're selling. All done?
At £660 are we done? Your last chance. It's going at 660 and gone.
-Thanks. It's your bid and going.
-Wow! Well done.
-What a surprise!
-Such a surprise.
-So at least you know you're going to Australia, now.
Well, it's obvious that Joy has done extremely well
during the last two sales,
when the bidders went mad for her beautiful artwork.
Her original target was £1,000 to pay for a flight to Australia,
so just how close have we come to making it?
We knew that there were some very important items to come
and I'm so thrilled to tell you that your final total
-Oh, my gosh.
What bumped it up? Those two big items?
-Those marvellous paintings.
-The Stanley Spencer.
-Oh, thank you.
-Maybe, Ellen, you can go as well.
Maybe I can go. I think I'll be in steerage, though.
A few weeks have gone by since the auction
and the house is looking just that little bit less cluttered.
Now's the best bit. Joy's excited to be choosing some outfits
for her trip Down Under.
Oh, well, it just has realised the dream and more!
Because I was looking to see how much to get to Australia
and it was round about £700, £800
and I've got it to go and see this sister that I only found,
what, four years ago, on the other side of the world.
Joy Cheshire has decided to downsize and find new homes for the memorabilia she collected with her husband David, a theatre historian, over their long marriage. She would also like to visit her half-sister in Australia and has a target of 1000 pounds to raise. Gloria Hunniford and John Cameron help Joy and her daughter Ellen with the antiques hunt.