Angela Rippon and John Cameron visit Barbara White to look at her fascinating artefacts. She hopes the auction proceeds will help her children through university.
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Welcome to Cash In The Attic.
Often, when children grow up and fly the nest,
parents find themselves in a huge house full of things nobody uses any more.
That's what happened to the family we're meeting today.
Add a husband who loved rummaging in antiques shops and you'll understand
why we've been called in to find things to take to auction.
'On today's Cash In The Attic,
'John Cameron lets one of the items go to his head.'
Would people take orders from me or throw me overboard?
Throw you overboard!
'And is there blue blood in this family?'
I'm sure I've seen their faces before!
'When we get to auction, it's hard not to get carried away.'
'Find out how all the sales go when the hammer falls.'
Today, I'm in Hastings
to meet a mother and daughter who've got some really interesting items.
They're hoping to raise enough money to put towards a university fund.
'Barbara White's home is full of antiques that she collected with her husband, Graeme.
'They married in 1987, and had two children, Olivia and Christian,
'who are now both grown up.
'The couple divorced in 2005,
'and Graeme sadly died soon after.
'Though Barbara kept many of his favourite pieces,
'the time has now come to let them go.
'Helping her mum is Olivia, now 22, and studying law in Wales.
'We can also count on the expert guidance of our valuer,
-And who's this?
-This was my former husband, Graeme.
He was a local solicitor and councillor,
and Mayor of Hastings for two years.
There's a lot to talk about where Graeme's concerned later.
Meanwhile, why have you called in Cash In The Attic?
My children are both at university,
having borrowed the maximum loan they can from the government.
Obviously, as impoverished students, they need as much money as possible.
You'll have to raise a considerable amount of money.
What figure are you looking for?
If we could raise, perhaps, £1,500.
-Although, as much as possible!
-You need a man about the house.
And I've got just the man for the job, John Cameron.
He'll be your man. Let's see what he thinks we can take to auction.
'The family house where Barbara still lives has five bedrooms.
'Going by what I can see, we are going to have our work cut out.
-You're looking at the family photographs!
Not our family, unfortunately.
-What a wonderful collection!
-I'm sure I've seen their faces before!
However did you come by three royal photographs, all signed
by those members of the royal family?
These two, George V and our Queen,
were just bought by Graeme at some auction or from a dealer.
But the one of the Queen Mother was interesting.
Graeme was Speaker of the Cinque Ports
and he wrote to her and said would she give him a signed photograph?
and here it is!
-What's the market for things like this?
There are lots of monarchists
and collectors of royal memorabilia, and they are splendid photographs.
You've got to put an estimate somewhere.
I suggest £200 to £300 together. They'll appeal to the same buyer.
They could do a bit better.
£200 to £300 is a great start.
We're aiming to raise £1,500, so shall we see what else there is?
As we said from the outside, big house, lots of rooms!
'I notice two more pictures of royalty,
'paintings of King William IV and Queen Victoria.
'They were bought in an antique shop by Graeme.
'Barbara doesn't know how much he paid, but John values them at...
-What have you got?
-I think it's a tea caddy.
But it's lost its inside.
-See those little notches?
-It would have had little divisions.
-Perhaps this one.
That's better. That's complete. What do you know about them?
My dad told me they locked up the tea to stop servants stealing it.
And I think this is walnut?
It IS made of walnut and they're from different periods.
And completely different forms.
You're also right about tea being very expensive and being locked up
when it was first imported in the 17th century.
Tea was prohibitively expensive.
-A real luxury.
-A REAL luxury, so it was locked away.
This one here, which does have its innards, is typically Victorian.
It's made of walnut and, on the top, we have a pierced brass arabesque,
typical of the Victorian fascination with the Middle East.
-Any idea what they might be worth?
-I'm not sure.
Maybe £100 each?
we're looking at about...
-That's good. Yes.
-Well, I don't know about you.
I prefer a humble tea bag!
Anyway, nice items and should do well towards our target.
Barbara's found a 19th century Arabic gun
As it's an antique, it doesn't need a deactivation licence.
It's really a decorative piece to hang on the wall
and at auction, John reckons it could make £50 to £100.
Wow! What amazing books to have, memories of when you were Mayoress
and your husband was the Mayor of Hastings.
-We've seen some of the things that he had in the house,
building a picture of what he was like.
-Tell me more about him, Barbara.
-He was a well-known local solicitor.
He had his own practice.
He walked around the streets in a pin-striped suit,
always wore a carnation buttonhole and a homburg hat,
which you don't see every day.
Would you say he was an eccentric?
He liked to be known as the solicitor with the carnation.
He said, "I don't mind what people say about me, as long as they don't say I'm boring."
You've followed in your father's footsteps and taken up law.
Was he an inspiration to you?
Growing up in a home that doubled as a law firm,
I got to know the working, day-to-day, of a law firm.
Yes, often when I was a bit older, I acted as secretary
and was able to undertake some work experience with him.
Yes, it inspired me to go on and study the law.
Your course is going to cost £9,000, isn't it?
I'm afraid so, but that's what it costs for the legal practice course.
Us students have to raise that money without easily getting a loan.
It'll be worth it, hopefully.
Well, £1,500 is our target towards that £9,000.
It's such a big house and John is rattling around here somewhere.
-Shall we go and find him?
John has been busy and spotted a large 19th century station clock.
£100 to £200, it should put a smile on Barbara and Olivia's faces.
'At the saleroom, we can't believe where the auctioneer wants bidding to start.'
-Somebody start me at £400?
'Find out what it sells for later.'
-I think that this would suit John Cameron, don't you?
-Come and join milliner's corner.
-We think you'd look nice in that.
-Fantastic. What else have we got?
-The bearskin! I love the cocked hat with the plumage!
This is an interesting collection.
Look at this, the pith helmet, popularised in the 19th century
by, as well as our army, armies around the world in the colonies.
They ensure, presumably, the head stays cool?
It gave protection as well as giving you shade from the hot midday sun.
Originally, they were made from pith found at the heart of a tree.
It's a bit like cork, which replaced them.
These are made by cork.
What's this one, then?
That's very 19th-century.
Typical of the cocked hats that officers would use in the Royal Navy
and across Europe in the second half of the 19th century.
If we took these, as a collection...
-How many have we got?
-One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Condition of this is not great, or the pith helmet.
They do turn up at auction. They were made in such large numbers.
I love this! I don't know. It's a guess-timate, really.
I could quite see them
easily making between £100 and £200, possibly more.
See where we go from there.
As you like that so much, you should wear it. What do you look like?
A right wally, probably!
Do you think they'd take orders from me or throw me overboard?
I think they'd throw you overboard!
'Captain John is doing us proud.
'Olivia's found a solid silver tea service which her father bought.
'It's late Victorian, it comprises a 12-sided teapot, milk and sugar bowl.
'John hopes it will make £250 to £350.
'Our expert spots this painting by the artist WH Borrow,
'well known for painting local Hastings scenes.
'John gives it a £150 to £250 valuation.
'But Barbara isn't sure she can part with it,
'so we'll have to wait and see if it makes it to auction.'
-John, I found two swords!
-Let's have a look - carefully!
-They look like they could do some damage.
-They certainly do.
-Where are these from?
-Again, part of Graeme's collection.
-I don't know where or when he got them.
-These are European.
You have the straight cavalry sword, double-edged and has a point,
-which can be used for cutting and thrusting.
It has a fullered blade,
that groove down the centre.
It adds lightness to the blade
without compromising the strength of the blade.
Then you have this type,
which is a light cavalry officer's sword, a sabre.
Literally just for the chopping like that.
What do you think, auction-wise?
We'd be very happy to let them go. I don't think I shall be using them.
I'd sell them together and be looking at...
-That would be fine.
We're not there yet, so we've got to see what else we can find.
-I'll keep hold of these. Come on.
'Obviously, swords should be handled with great care
'and kept out of reach of children.
'Olivia's next discovery is a silver mustard pot dated 1845
'and a salt pot dated 1761.
'Again, they're from her dad's collection.
'His good eye has banked another £80 to £120.
'Also heading to auction are these old law books,
'some dating back to the very early 20th century.
'They're leather and cloth bound and should make £100 to £200.'
Right! I've found something that could create a bang at auction!
Don't shoot the messenger! What are you doing with a cannon?
It was another one of those things that Graeme accumulated.
It's made of bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, and very, very heavy.
It's actually a naval cannon.
-A real one or miniature of it?
It's a miniature. This is a muzzle-loading gun.
You would put the gunpowder and shot down inside there.
That's the touch hole, where the fuse would have gone.
A pin doesn't go all the way through so this is a decorative piece.
Can we take it to auction?
Yes. We haven't got any further use for it!
-You don't need to repel boarders!
-What price can we put on it?
-It's a decorative thing. I think there's a bit of age to it.
I'd certainly put it at early 20th century, if not late Victorian.
I think this could easily make...
-I love it.
-That's a pretty good sum, isn't it?
If we take this, with everything else we've looked at today...
Bearing in mind you wanted to raise £1,500.
The picture by Borrow, you're not sure whether you'll take that.
-Yes. We're not sure.
-If we decide to take it,
taking John's lowest estimates on everything,
we could make as much as...
-Wow! That's really good.
That would be nearly £1,000 each for them through the next year.
-Maybe we'll make even a little bit more.
-I hope so!
-We'll set the place on fire!
-In terms of bidding that is!
'If Barbara and Olivia decide to put everything we found into auction,
'we're in for a great day.
'The two tea caddies, one Edwardian, one Victorian.
'Hopefully, they will be to the bidders' taste.
'There's the collection of hats and helmets.
'Cap'n John valued the whole lot at...
'And we have those signed photos of the Queen, Queen Mother
'and King George V...
'Still to come on Cash In The Attic,
'I salute a winning bidder.'
Hats off to whoever bought that!
'And Barbara tells us why Graeme had a painting of King William IV.'
He'd say, "We've got silly Billy on the wall!"
'Will it turn out to be a silly Billy buy when the hammer falls?'
We had such a lovely day rummaging through Barbara's house in Hastings.
We found some fascinating items, which we put really good estimates on.
We're hoping that the bidders at Watson's Auctioneers in East Sussex
are going to be equally excited because we really would like
to raise that £1,500 to help get her children through university.
'This Heathfield saleroom in rural East Sussex
'holds regular auctions, and the buyers are out in force today.
-It's such a lovely view.
I don't remember that crack!
-It wasn't there when it left my hands.
-We'd better have a word with the auctioneers or their carriers.
-That won't detract from its value?
-The glass is not expensive.
Not in that respect. It has a nice mount to protect the image, so I wouldn't have thought so.
-Shall we go and take our places and get under way?
'If you have a project you'd like to raise money for at auction,
'bear in mind that there are charges.
'These do vary, so it's always worth enquiring in advance.
'The first of Barbara's lots to come up is the 19th-century Arabic gun,
'ornamental rather than practical.'
£50 to £100, a nice piece of decorative eastern promise.
Let's hope somebody wants it.
30 is it, somewhere? 30 I'm bid. £30 bid. 35.
40. 45. 50.
55. At £55. 60 now?
-In the doorway selling at £55.
'That's a very good way to start our day and hopefully has set the trend.
'Next is Graeme's collection of hats including a cork pith helmet
'and a bearskin.'
At 210. At 210 in the room.
At 210. 220 on the net. 230 in the room.
230 in the room. At 230.
240 on the net?
At £230 in the room. Selling, then, at £230.
-What a great lot!
-Hats off to whoever bought that!
'What an incredible result!
'Next, it's that early 19th-century station clock.'
At £200 bid.
-Started at the top of your estimate.
260. 280. At 280.
300 in the room. At £300.
320. 350. 380. 400.
-At £400. At £400.
450 on the net. At 450. 500.
-At £500. At £500 in the room...
550 on the net. 550. At 550.
At £550. Going to sell it on the net at £550...
-John, that's nearly three times your top estimate.
I know. That's an amazing price.
The internet! It shows you don't have to rely on your local market.
The world is your oyster.
'It certainly is.
The painting by WH Borrow is up next.
Barbara has put a £300 reserve on it.
Any advance, then, at 140...?
We're going to have to not sell that one.
'So it's heading home with her after all.
'There's better luck when the silver mustard and salt pots go under the hammer.'
£95. Back of the room. Selling at £95...
'Selling for £15 over John's lower estimate.
'How will our royal collection do?'
We should be standing to attention. It's the royal stuff coming up.
We've got a signed picture of the Queen, Queen Mother and George V.
I think they're worth £200 to £300, but you never can tell.
We have the internet on our side. Hopefully, it's cast far and wide.
£300? 200 I'm bid.
At £200. At £200.
-300 on the internet...
-On the internet already!
..At 320. 350, now.
340, all right. 360 with me.
At 360. 380 on the net.
380. At 380.
400 with me. At 400.
420 on the net. 450 on the book.
450 on the book. 480. Just in time. At 480.
At 480 on the net. Selling, then, at £480...
-That's very good!
-£480. Considerably more than you expected, John!
-Where do we think that's gone?
-I've no idea!
I'm delighted. If it's in your favour, I don't mind being wrong.
'What an absolutely astounding sale price!
At the halfway stage, we've already made £1,410.
-Almost up to your target!
That's without selling the Borrow.
'We don't have much time to reflect on success,
'as the antique law books go under the hammer.'
At £90. Selling, then, at £90...
'They sell just under their £100 estimate.
'Our royal photographs did well.
'How will these next two paintings of monarchs do,
'with an estimate of £200 to £300?'
Graeme used to love to tell about William IV being the original silly Billy.
He'd say, "We've got silly Billy on the wall."
At £300. At £400. On the net at £400.
At £400. At £400.
Selling, then, on the net at £400.
-Don't you love the internet?
-I do. Even more now.
-Double what we thought.
'There are obviously fans of the royal family
'sitting at their computers somewhere in the world.
'The two swords prove popular as well.'
With me on the books, selling, then, at £220.
'Selling for £20 over John's £200 estimate.
'Can the solid silver tea service have the same luck?'
Considering the extraordinary life that your husband led,
I'm not surprised that you had a silver tea service.
Did you use it when you had special guests?
Yes, a few times. I can't remember what the tea tasted like, though!
At 320. 350.
380. At 380.
-Over estimate, John.
'Now is clearly a good time to sell silver, especially quality pieces.
'We're almost at the end of Barbara's lots.
'Just two more left. The penultimate one is the two tea caddies.
'When they go before the bidders...'
That one's not sold.
'Not enough interest was generated.
'Barbara's not too disappointed to be taking them back.'
Next is my favourite item, the bronze cannon.
There's been interest on this in the room today.
Somebody asked me, "Does it work?"
What would they fire it at?
Start me at 200. 200, thank you. At £200.
At £200. 220.
240. 260. 280.
300. 320. 340.
£340. At 340. At 340. 360.
380 on the internet.
400 in the room. At 400.
420 on the net. 450.
At 450 with me. At 450.
480 on the net? 480, thank you. 480. 500 in the room.
At 500. At £500. 525.
At 525 on the net.
At 525. This time selling at 52...
550. Another one on the net. At 550. 575.
At 600 now. At £600 on the net. At 625.
625. At 625 on the net.
The other bidder on the net? At 650. Thank you. 650. At 650.
At 675. 675.
At 675. 700 now...?
It didn't come off the Victory, and we didn't know?
-I certainly didn't know.
-..725. At 725.
At 750. At 750.
At £750. 800.
At £800. This time. Going to sell it.
That is nearly three times my upper estimate.
-Four times my lower estimate.
-You're speechless, aren't you?
'I only hope she doesn't faint when I tell her how much she's made.'
I hope that you and Olivia and Christian will like the final total you're going to take home as well.
-Because it is...
-It's over double what you wanted, the £1,500.
-Is it really?
-That is going to go some way to helping them through uni!
That will give Olivia the final total she needs for her law school,
and will help Christian considerably next year, so that's fantastic.
'Barbara was raising the money to help her two children and she's keen to break the good news to them.'
'When my mum told me how much we'd managed to raise,'
I knew the estimate was about £1,500 so I said probably about that.
I never imagined we'd get that much. Wow!
When she said Christian and I had made that much each, more than that, I was surprised and very happy.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Angela Rippon and John Cameron visit Barbara White, to look over the many fascinating artefacts that have been left to her. With her children making their way through university, the auction proceeds will come as a huge help.