Bell Cash in the Attic


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Bell

Margaret Bell and daughter Suzanne invite Chris Hollins and John Cameron into their north London home to look through a Roman treasure trove to raise £400 at auction.


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Hello. Welcome to Cash In The Attic,

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the show that helps you find hidden treasures in your home

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to sell at auction. Today, we're going to be with a family

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who have a very special reason to ask for our help.

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'On Cash In The Attic today,

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'our expert John is unimpressed by a replica Roman helmet.'

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Quite frankly, it's awful, but it's a bit fun as well.

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'Damage to an Edwardian clock can't be blamed on me.'

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-I haven't touched it!

-Is it broken?

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Well, it doesn't look good.

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'The lady of the house is glad to see the back of one piece.'

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We got it away, but just under our bottom estimate.

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-How do you feel about it?

-Great.

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-Are you glad?

-Glad we've got rid of it!

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'Find out more when the final hammer falls.'

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Normally when people call us in,

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they want to raise money for something special.

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A treat, a holiday or to do some work on their house.

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This family are a little bit different.

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They want to recoup the money they lost after a burglary.

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This North London semi has been Margaret Bell's home for 30 years.

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It's where she and husband John brought up their two daughters,

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Michelle and Suzanne, who is helping today.

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Sadly, John passed away two years ago

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and he left behind an extensive collection of Ancient Roman artefacts - his great hobby.

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'I wouldn't call our expert John ancient,

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'but with two decades of experience, he should be able

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'to help make money at auction.'

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Hello! How are you? Nice to see you.

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-Margaret?

-That's it.

-And Suzanne.

-Correct.

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Two handsome devils, John and Chris.

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-Now who called our team?

-I did.

-Why call us in?

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Well, I saved some money to go on holiday, and I got burgled.

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Obviously, the money had gone so then I had to borrow it.

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Since my dad died, Mum's got a lot of stuff that belonged to him.

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She'd like to raise a bit of money, sell a few things off.

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What sort of things are we going to try to find?

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Well, Roman things my husband was interested in, military stuff...

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Basically, a load of rubbish.

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-I love it when they say that!

-It's things he loved. Not rubbish to him.

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Leave out the rubbish, but find the good stuff.

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-Is that my Roman marching orders?

-It certainly is.

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So you want to raise some money today, obviously, for a good cause.

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How much would you like to raise?

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Well, we're hoping about £400.

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£400. Get rid of that rubbish.

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-It's Roman coins and anything else we can find. Ready?

-Yeah.

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Let's go and find what John's up to.

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'Well, I can't wait to see what the Romans can do for us!

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'Besides a plethora of antiquities,

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'there's quite a selection of everyday objects,

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'one of which could prove timely.'

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John? I want to show you this clock. I promise I haven't touched it!

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-Is it broken?

-Well, it doesn't look good.

-Is there a story with it?

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We had it on the wall for maybe a year, year and a half,

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but my husband got fed up with the sound, so he took it down!

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This looks to be about 100 years old. Let's look inside there.

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It's quite a simple mechanism.

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A series of cogs.

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It's weight driven and they're suspended on those chains

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dangling from the bottom.

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Probably American. Very simple, would be made in massive numbers.

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Still saleable. £50-£80?

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Sounds good. I wouldn't have thought that much, but yeah, brilliant.

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It'd be £20-£30 if I'd handled it!

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'Thank goodness I wasn't allowed anywhere near it.

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'Better press on, though, to make our target.

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'Margaret's found some classical-style heads

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'and an Islamic pottery vase with silver inlay.

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'They're modern, probably made for the tourist market.

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'She thinks her husband brought them back from Rome.

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'We're hoping this lot will fetch £60-£100 at auction.

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-'What's John up to?'

-Suzanne?

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Right. I found the swords you carefully laid out for me.

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I've got to ask, where have they been?

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They've been in the rafters of the garage!

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These are Dad's old things?

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-Yeah. Definitely Dad's.

-From where?

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He used to go to a lot of car boot sales and pick things up anywhere.

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-Starting with this one, I think it's French.

-Oh, right.

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Dating to around about 1800.

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It's based on a Roman gladiatorial sword.

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-Oh, right.

-Shame about the condition. They made lots of them.

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This one here, coming probably about 100 years later.

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It's a cavalry sword. And I think that's Italian.

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A lot of rust around there. It needs a real good cleaning job.

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-I know.

-Last, but not least,

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is this other one, another cavalry trooper's sword.

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-It is, in fact, German made, but it's a British sword.

-Oh, right.

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I think it's an 1891, 1892 pattern. Something like that.

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Well, in that condition, I'm going to say £100-£150.

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Wow.

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-If they were in better condition, we could say five or six times that amount.

-Oh, my gosh!

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If you want to sell them, they'll get a bit of interest.

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'While antique weapons like these may not require a licence,

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'always keep them well out of the reach of children.

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'If the collectibles we've found so far make their minimum estimates,

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'we're well over halfway to our target.

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'This hefty pair of late-Victorian slate mantel clocks

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'were a car boot find by Margaret's late husband.

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'The French made the first of these in the 18th century,

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'with some of the more ornate Empire-style examples

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'fetching many hundreds of pounds.

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'These aren't in the best condition, but we hope to make £30-£40.

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'Now we're just over halfway through our rummage day

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'and we've already turned up some wonderful pieces,

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'but nothing is certain until we get to the auction room.

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'I wonder how the bidders will react to our Ancient Roman artefacts.'

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£20? £10? Will you give me £10, please?

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'Be there when the gavel falls.'

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We've left John to work upstairs

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because someone's got to do it while we catch up.

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I look around at all the photographs.

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It looks as if you have a very, very close family.

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Yeah, yeah. We've always been really close. Mum, Dad, yeah.

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Very loving, caring husband. I loved him a lot.

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-Couldn't fault him at all.

-Tell me about his love of Rome.

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Wherever I look, there are Roman elements. What is it about them?

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He just loved Roman things.

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If he was touching Roman things, he'd feel vibrations from them.

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-He'd cry!

-Yeah, he would.

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I think that he felt he was a Roman in a past life, really.

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Some handsome centurion, eh?

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We're trying to raise some money,

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but not for the trip - you already did that once.

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-But some rascal nearly ruined it.

-Well, I got burgled.

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Not knowing what was in it, they just took the whole safe.

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In it I had my jewellery and the money I'd saved to go to Canada.

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-I hope today is the beginning of a new chapter.

-Yeah.

-Dad's watching.

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Let's go and find out whether John

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has found anything more Roman to help with your next adventure.

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'It looks like our expert's search has turned up something more modern.

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'A 30-piece collection of moulded crystal ware.

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'The set includes glasses and a claret jug.

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'I'm told this was a Silver Wedding present to Margaret and John

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'and added to over the years.

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'The quality is pleasing and should bring in another £20-£40.

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'Now, no rummage is complete without a trip to the garage.'

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I love being in the garage. You just don't know what you'll find.

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That's something we could sell. Margaret, have you seen this before?

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I think it's something Roman, like a lamp of some sort.

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Right, so you know a bit about it.

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It is indeed Roman. So where did he buy it?

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I think he found it on a Roman site.

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So he actually dug this up? How fascinating.

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-What a great experience to uncover that.

-It's brilliant.

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-So you put the oil in there...

-Exactly.

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That is the filling hole. Then your wick.

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It's quite a common form. They're not as rare as one might think,

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being 1,800, nearly 2,000 years old, some of them.

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-It's a wonderful piece of history.

-Yeah.

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Are you sure you want to give this away?

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-Or sell it, I should say.

-I do.

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-The money will help for what I want.

-A nice thing.

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Condition-wise, I've seen better, but I still think £30-£50.

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-It might make £50 and above.

-Mm, great.

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'That IS a great result. We aren't the only ones going back in time.

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'Suzanne's discovered some childhood companions,

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'presents from her mum and dad.

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'Rag dolls are among the oldest kinds of children's toys.

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'These are only around 40 years old,

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'but could still fetch a charming £20-£40 on sale day.

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'In the garden, two very different characters have caught the attention of John and Margaret.'

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Is there a story attached to these?

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My husband bought these. They suddenly appeared on a lorry!

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OK. Well, this one here I think is after a statue

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called Venus Victrix, which was by Antonio Canova,

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a popular neo-classical sculpture.

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It's based on Napoleon's sister, Pauline. Pauline Bonaparte.

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So that is a copy of a known work.

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This one here is not Roman.

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It's actually Renaissance, in terms of its style.

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It was after an original by Michelangelo,

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the famous Renaissance artist and sculptor.

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-And it is David, as in David and Goliath.

-Oh, right.

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Made of reconstituted stone, or concrete, really.

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But they have attained a fair degree of patination

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and we could send them to auction with their bases.

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I'd put an estimate on of £100-£200, hopefully they'd do better.

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They are fairly modern, after all, but quite decorative.

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'Well, Suzanne has been busy

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'digging out these two early-20th century silver pocket watches

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'plus a silver vesta case, handed down to Margaret and John.

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'Vesta cases are small boxes designed to keep matches dry.

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'They're named after the Roman goddess of hearth and home.

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'They were made in large numbers at the turn of the last century

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'as the popularity of smoking grew.

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'At £60-£80, let's hope this varied lot sparks some interest

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'among the auction bidders.

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'Today's quest for collectibles has taken us to the ancient world,

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'but John hasn't quite finished.'

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Well, I'm delighted to say I found another Roman item!

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And another item that's pretending to be Roman,

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but is probably Queen Elizabeth II.

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That's not a Roman helmet?

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It's not! First of all, where did this thing come from?

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I think he bought it in a car boot sale somewhere.

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It's made of tin.

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Quite frankly, it's awful, but it's a bit fun at the same time!

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That's his love of anything Roman.

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But that is the real gem - a genuine piece of Roman glass.

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-Do you know anything about it?

-It's from the first time he went to Rome.

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This has been blown by hand.

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Glass-blowing is a technique that was only starting to develop

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around the 1st century BC, around 50 years BC.

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But it was really only in the Roman period, probably in Syria,

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that glass-blowing developed.

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Just simple decoration on it. A little plied handle there

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and this coiled band around the neck, flared rim.

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That coiled band also gives you a bit of grip when holding it.

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It probably had perfume or oil in there. I would say...

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£80-£100 is a sensible estimate.

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If you throw that in with it...

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-I'd say £80-£120!

-LAUGHTER

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That will grab people's attention to this.

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-We should be wearing togas.

-We should! Actually, not with my gut.

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-Perhaps at the auction, eh?

-Yeah.

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If we get more than £120 for that,

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I'll wear that helmet at the auction.

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Enough of all of that because that is it for the day.

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You wanted to raise around £400. How do you think you've got on?

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-Maybe?

-Maybe.

-Just under?

-Well, I think we've done really well

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because conservatively, at auction, we think we could raise around 550.

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-That would be good, wouldn't it?

-How do you feel? Good?

-Good, yeah.

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And I love the swords. Condition is against them, but you never know,

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-they could do better than that.

-Fingers crossed, off to auction.

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'It seems Margaret's husband's taste in antiquities

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'wasn't so bad after all. Now, the swords may need a clean,

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'but at £100 to £150, they should bring us a palpable hit.

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'We also turned up this pair of reproduction classical statues.

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'Let's hope the price tag of £100 to £200 doesn't leave us too exposed.

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'Then there are these two Victorian mantel clocks.

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'They may be broken, but hopefully still worth £30 to £40.

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'Still to come on Cash In The Attic,

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'a simple explanation for a spot of slow bidding...'

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They're a bit tight in here today, aren't they, John?

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A lot of them have gone home, haven't they?

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'Margaret has a smashing plan for some unsold items.'

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What did you say earlier that you'd do if you didn't sell them?

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-Put a hammer to them.

-Oh, you never said that?

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'Well, you know the routine. Cue gavel.'

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Now, it's been a little over a month

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since we met Margaret Bell at her house in North London.

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We found some really interesting historical pieces and brought them here to Chiswick Auctions in London.

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It's a little bit quiet now

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but let's hope it hots up when those items go under the hammer.

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'I never fail to be intrigued

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'by the bidders who turn up at general sales like this one.

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'You never know who will be in the room

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'or even what sort of picnic they'll bring.

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'While John checks out the competition, Margaret and Suzanne have spotted Dad's Roman relics,

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'plus there's that bet I wish I had never made.'

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Hello. I take it we're just having one last look

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at the very famous helmet?

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Which you promised you were going to put on if it doesn't go.

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I forgot about that and I saw it there.

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I was giggling away, then remembered I would wear it if it doesn't sell.

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-Is it going to sell?

-If it does, the Roman glass bottle will sell it.

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The helmet won't sell on its merits, but I could be wrong.

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'The saleroom is starting to liven up,

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'which must bode well for our chances.

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'First under the hammer are the two hand-made rag dolls

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'which were given to Suzanne by her mum and dad.

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'It may take more than a cheeky smile to attract a sale.'

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Here we go then - two rag dolls. You've been embarrassed by this?

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I have to say, I will be amazed

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if someone does decide to buy them.

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£20? How about £10? No bid at £10.

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Give me £10, please. No bid at £10.

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No offers...

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We'd been fearing that one all day and guess what happened!

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'Ah, that's a terrible start.

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'Let's hope this crystalware,

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'a wedding anniversary gift to Margaret and her late husband John,

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improves our fortunes.'

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It's something we accumulate over the years - gifts, anniversaries,

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and plentiful supply to the market, so I've only got £20 to £40 on it.

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£20?

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£10?

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Bid at 10. Give me 12. At £10.

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All done at £10? The only bid I've got is £10. At £10...

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-£10 is £10.

-Yeah.

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I like this. "£10...is £10."

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LAUGHTER

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'There's nothing like some simple arithmetic

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'to get the pulses racing and I hope our next item has the same effect.

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'A genuine memento of Ancient Rome, this oil lamp is in one piece,

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'it's very old and I think it's cheap. What could go wrong?'

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Now, one of my favourite pieces,

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-the oil lamp. Do you remember that one?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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You liked this especially, John.

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Yeah, I really do like these. It's a genuine Roman oil lamp.

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For me, £30 to £50 doesn't represent a huge sum for something so old.

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£30 for it?

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£20 for it? No Romans in today? I'm bid at £20. Give me 22.

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At £20. 22. 25. 28. 30?

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At £28. In front of me at £28.

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Sold at £28, going, all done.

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-Just under our lower estimate.

-At least it's gone.

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I know, but can you believe that for a genuine Roman oil lamp?

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'At least the bids are winding their way up,

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'unlike these two

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'Victorian mantel clocks that haven't worked for years.

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'Hopefully, there are some clock refurbishers in the house.'

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We've got two genuine slate Victorian mantel clocks.

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I've got £30 to £40 because

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they're a restoration project for someone.

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For the two, £30? A bid of £20. 22. 25?

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25. 28. 30?

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That's it, 30. 32 for the two clocks? At £30.

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At £30, your bid at £30...

0:18:480:18:50

-Yes!

-That's much better.

0:18:500:18:53

'Today's bidders seem to like clocks

0:18:530:18:56

'so it's a good job we have this next lot,

0:18:560:18:58

'even if it's in less than ideal condition.'

0:18:580:19:02

Up next, we've got a late Victorian, mahogany-cased alarm wall clock.

0:19:020:19:07

If I remember correctly, John, it was, um...tired?

0:19:070:19:11

LAUGHTER

0:19:110:19:13

-Another restoration project, perhaps.

-Afraid so.

0:19:130:19:16

£50...?

0:19:160:19:18

£30? I'm bid at £30. Give me 32.

0:19:180:19:21

32. 35? 35. 38? 38. 40?

0:19:210:19:24

40. 42? At £40.

0:19:240:19:27

-Come on!

-42, new bidder. 45.

0:19:270:19:29

All done at £45. I'm selling it at £45.

0:19:290:19:33

-Are you OK with that, Margaret?

-Yeah, I'm fine.

0:19:330:19:36

They're a bit tight in here today, aren't they, John?

0:19:360:19:39

A lot of them's gone home, haven't they?

0:19:390:19:42

'Margaret is nothing if not a realist,

0:19:420:19:45

'so hopefully, she and Suzanne won't take what I tell them too badly.'

0:19:450:19:50

-It's been hard work, John.

-It has. It's been a bit of a struggle.

0:19:500:19:54

We haven't seen too many smiles on your little faces.

0:19:540:19:57

You've been optimistic, positive, which we like.

0:19:570:20:01

-But the target is £400, isn't it?

-Hmm.

0:20:010:20:04

At the halfway stage,

0:20:040:20:07

we've raised 113.

0:20:070:20:09

Well...

0:20:090:20:11

That's good, really, because it's...

0:20:110:20:14

I'm pleased with whatever I got, really.

0:20:140:20:17

Can we have you every week?

0:20:170:20:19

'Auctions can be good fun, but remember, charges such as commission

0:20:210:20:25

'and other fees will be made, so do check these in advance.

0:20:250:20:30

'With quite a few items still to go,

0:20:300:20:32

'let's see if the bidders will put their minds to this next lot -

0:20:320:20:36

'classical in style, but modern in manufacture.'

0:20:360:20:39

The next lot is quite interesting.

0:20:390:20:42

It's the Islamic pottery jug which had silver inlay.

0:20:420:20:46

We've got this with three

0:20:460:20:48

-reproduction Greek heads. Sorry to see these go, Margaret?

-Not really.

0:20:480:20:53

I'm fed up of dusting them and putting them back in the cupboard.

0:20:530:20:57

A bid of £35 to start me. I'll take 38. At £35.

0:20:570:21:01

At £35. It's not enough for that. It's worth more. Not sold.

0:21:010:21:05

-Guess what, Suzanne?

-You're taking it home.

0:21:070:21:10

The heads aren't coming home!

0:21:100:21:12

I think OUR heads are for the chop!

0:21:120:21:14

'Hmm. It's just as well we're not working in ancient times

0:21:140:21:19

'when punishments could be very extreme.

0:21:190:21:21

Talking of forfeits, if this next lot doesn't sell,

0:21:210:21:24

I could be facing humiliation.'

0:21:240:21:26

Up next, the one I've been fearing

0:21:260:21:28

not because of the Roman glass bottle, but what comes with it -

0:21:280:21:32

the helmet, because we've got that bet.

0:21:320:21:35

If it doesn't sell, what have I got to do?

0:21:350:21:37

You've just got to try it on, basically. We'll take a photo!

0:21:370:21:41

In this auction house?

0:21:410:21:42

I don't know if they want it to go or not now.

0:21:420:21:45

They secretly don't want it to go, to see you with it on.

0:21:450:21:48

Start me at £50 for it? 50. 55.

0:21:480:21:50

Do you want 60...? 5.

0:21:500:21:53

70. 5. 80?

0:21:530:21:56

-Are you saying no? At 75...

-Come on!

0:21:560:21:59

£75. All done at 75, last chance? It's selling at 75 and going...

0:21:590:22:04

We got it away, but just under our bottom estimate.

0:22:040:22:07

-How do you feel about that?

-Great.

-Are you glad?

0:22:070:22:10

-I'm glad we've got rid of it.

-She's happy, I'm happy.

0:22:100:22:14

-You don't get to see Chris wearing the helmet now.

-Never mind.

0:22:140:22:17

-It's money in the kitty.

-You'll take the 75 quid.

0:22:170:22:20

-£75. That's not a bad result.

-I think that's brilliant.

0:22:200:22:23

'As much as I admire Margaret's relaxed approach,

0:22:230:22:27

'I'm worried that not one of our items

0:22:270:22:29

'has exceeded its minimum estimate.

0:22:290:22:31

'The way things stand, we need more than a final flourish

0:22:310:22:35

'to make our target. We need a miracle.

0:22:350:22:37

'I only hope our next lot proves to be a revelation.'

0:22:370:22:42

They always sell. A silver fob watch usually makes around £30,

0:22:420:22:45

the vesta case probably about the same sort of money,

0:22:450:22:48

hence my 60 to 80 estimate,

0:22:480:22:50

and the silver-plated vesta should just help the lot to sell.

0:22:500:22:54

£50 for it? £40 for it?

0:22:540:22:56

I'm bid at £40. At £40. 42. 42. 45. 48.

0:22:560:23:00

-50.

-Come on.

-55? 50. The bid's at £50. I'll take 5. £50.

0:23:000:23:04

Just under the estimate at £50. Selling, all done...

0:23:040:23:08

I'm not quite hitting the estimates today.

0:23:080:23:11

'We certainly aren't. In fact, with a disappointing £238 in the kitty,

0:23:110:23:17

'we're so far under our £400 target

0:23:170:23:19

'that our last two lots will have to make a real impact.

0:23:190:23:23

'Let's hope this next collection makes the point.'

0:23:230:23:28

Up next, and I'm a bit worried about our safety

0:23:280:23:31

because she seems quite a calm person so far,

0:23:310:23:34

but if these don't go, we might get it, cos it's the sabres.

0:23:340:23:38

Let's hope not, because these are interesting swords.

0:23:380:23:41

They're in terrible condition.

0:23:410:23:44

We've got two cavalry swords and an early French sword

0:23:440:23:47

in a Roman style. Terribly rusty, but they could still do some damage

0:23:470:23:51

so I hope you've had a tetanus, Chris.

0:23:510:23:55

I'm bid...a starting bid of £70. £70. I'll take 75.

0:23:550:23:59

75. Do you want 80...?

0:23:590:24:01

85. 90. 95. 100.

0:24:010:24:03

110? All done for £100? Are we going to go at £100?

0:24:030:24:07

At £100 and gone...

0:24:070:24:09

-I like to see that big, smiley face.

-I'm amazed.

0:24:090:24:12

Suzanne, you've got a smile on your face as well.

0:24:120:24:15

No, I'm really pleased with that.

0:24:150:24:18

'At last, a bid that's worth taking to the bank.

0:24:180:24:22

'Hopefully, our final lot, the classically styled statues,

0:24:220:24:24

'will also attract bidders with deep pockets.'

0:24:240:24:27

What did you say earlier that you'd do if you didn't sell them?

0:24:270:24:31

-Put a hammer to them.

-Oh, you never said that?

0:24:310:24:35

I know these are reproduction

0:24:350:24:37

but they're nice pieces, very decorative.

0:24:370:24:40

They have attained a bit of age to them because they've got weathered.

0:24:400:24:44

£100 for the two?

0:24:440:24:46

I'm bid £100. Straight in at £100. I'll take 110. At 110. 120.

0:24:460:24:51

Yes!

0:24:510:24:52

130. 140. 150?

0:24:520:24:54

140. A bid of 140.

0:24:540:24:56

At 140 and going, all done...

0:24:560:24:58

Oh, thank God for that!

0:24:580:25:01

You can put your hammer away now, can't you?

0:25:010:25:04

'A mixed day at Chiswick,

0:25:040:25:07

'which shows you it's not just about having the right items.

0:25:070:25:11

'It's also about matching them with the right bidders.

0:25:110:25:14

'The question is, where do we stand with our target?'

0:25:140:25:17

You wanted to raise £400

0:25:170:25:19

-and at the halfway stage it wasn't looking good.

-No.

0:25:190:25:23

The grand total today that we've raised at auction

0:25:230:25:27

is £478.

0:25:270:25:29

-Oh, brilliant.

-Really? That's fantastic.

0:25:290:25:33

-How about that?

-I've got my 400 that I wanted.

0:25:330:25:37

I didn't have to wear a helmet,

0:25:370:25:38

-you didn't have to take the statues home.

-I've got my jug.

0:25:380:25:42

-And no rusty swords being swung around.

-It's a result all round!

0:25:420:25:45

-I'm really pleased.

-Well done!

-Thank you.

0:25:450:25:48

A few weeks after the auction,

0:25:510:25:55

Margaret has replaced the money she lost through that burglary.

0:25:550:25:58

'I'm glad Suzanne said, "Let's do Cash In The Attic."'

0:25:580:26:03

I really, thoroughly enjoyed it.

0:26:030:26:05

It's been really good fun

0:26:050:26:07

and it's given Mum a bit more confidence

0:26:070:26:10

that I haven't seen before, which is really nice.

0:26:100:26:13

Brilliant. Now she's making sure

0:26:130:26:15

that home security is high on her list.

0:26:150:26:18

After the burglary, I am conscious of it, yeah,

0:26:180:26:22

so I lock everything up

0:26:220:26:24

and I think to myself, "Right, out you go, enjoy yourself."

0:26:240:26:27

Let's go and spend some money!

0:26:270:26:30

I'm fine now. Everything's settling down.

0:26:300:26:33

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:26:580:27:01

Margaret Bell and her daughter Suzanne invite Chris Hollins and John Cameron into their north London home. They look through a treasure trove of Roman ephemera, with the aim of raising £400 at auction.