Life's Little Luxuries - Part 1 Flog It: Trade Secrets


Life's Little Luxuries - Part 1

Tips on antiques and collectibles. This episode is a feast for the senses as epicurean curiosities come under the spotlight.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Life's Little Luxuries - Part 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

For 11 years, you have brought us thousands of items to value

0:00:020:00:06

and often they're only worth a few pounds, but every now and then,

0:00:060:00:10

we hit the big time with items worth tens of thousands of pounds.

0:00:100:00:15

£44,000.

0:00:170:00:19

You might have something at home worth a great deal of money, but how do you know it if you see it?

0:00:190:00:26

Well, that's where we come in.

0:00:260:00:29

Welcome to Flog It Trade Secrets.

0:00:300:00:32

Today, we're in for a tasty treat

0:01:020:01:04

as we revel in the decadence of the luxuries from the past.

0:01:040:01:08

And we'll be getting a flavour of what's out there

0:01:080:01:11

to whet our appetites for stylish food-and-drink-related items.

0:01:110:01:15

But which of these collectibles has held their value today?

0:01:160:01:20

It's a show jam-packed with surprises,

0:01:200:01:22

and we'll be lifting the lid

0:01:220:01:24

on which of life's little luxuries

0:01:240:01:26

sell like hot cakes.

0:01:260:01:28

-75, 85.

-Wow, this is amazing.

0:01:280:01:30

And which leave the crowd cold.

0:01:300:01:33

No, I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. That lot is unsold.

0:01:330:01:37

For the rich, dining was a great opportunity to display their wealth and the luxuries of life -

0:01:400:01:45

fine crystal glass, beautiful porcelain and silverware.

0:01:450:01:49

The simple act of eating was anything but.

0:01:490:01:52

Until recently, most families used their best china and silver for special occasions,

0:01:520:01:57

but nowadays, most of it is stashed away in cupboards, gathering dust,

0:01:570:02:01

and it turns up frequently at our valuation days.

0:02:010:02:04

And today, there is a very healthy collectors' market for anything related to food and drink.

0:02:040:02:10

So here are some of our best Flog It finds from over the years and what we've learned from them,

0:02:100:02:16

starting with a man who knows a thing or two about wining and dining.

0:02:160:02:21

Champagne has always been the luxury drink.

0:02:210:02:24

It has a certain mystique to it.

0:02:240:02:26

If you have a party and you can afford it, what do you go for?

0:02:260:02:30

You go for champagne.

0:02:300:02:32

You can make red wine anywhere in the world.

0:02:320:02:35

Champagne has to come from Champagne.

0:02:370:02:40

# Champagne Charlie is my name

0:02:430:02:45

# Champagne drinking is my aim... #

0:02:450:02:48

'I love champagne.'

0:02:480:02:50

Champagne is my wife's favourite tipple as well.

0:02:500:02:53

-Alex and Terry, you've brought a bottle of champagne along.

-Yes.

0:02:530:02:57

-In the hope that it might be worth something?

-Hopefully.

0:02:570:03:01

-You haven't thought of drinking it?

-No, it's too old.

0:03:010:03:04

Collectors of wine invariably don't buy the wine to drink it.

0:03:040:03:09

They buy it because it's rare and it's interesting.

0:03:090:03:13

And I was fascinated by it.

0:03:130:03:15

And the reason I'm interested in it is the year - 1943.

0:03:150:03:20

-So how did you get it?

-It was found in the bottom of my mum's larder.

0:03:200:03:25

-It had been there for donkey's years.

-Yeah.

0:03:250:03:28

Pol Roger, one of the great, great champagne houses in Epernay,

0:03:280:03:33

which is east of Paris, which is where all the champagne comes from.

0:03:330:03:39

I do like a little tipple now and again. Not to excess, you understand.

0:03:390:03:44

So seeing a bottle with age is unusual.

0:03:440:03:47

This is 1943.

0:03:480:03:50

What was going on in 1943?

0:03:500:03:53

-Not much champagne-making.

-No.

-No.

0:03:530:03:57

There was very, very little produced during the war.

0:03:570:04:01

What was produced, the Germans drank a lot of and ransacked.

0:04:010:04:08

It's rare in its year.

0:04:080:04:10

A lot of the French makers, when the Germans were occupying,

0:04:100:04:14

steamed labels off, great labels and great clarets, and stuck other ones on,

0:04:140:04:19

so when the Germans pilfered these things, they thought they were getting a really nice 1930s Margaux

0:04:190:04:25

and they were getting something that had been made five minutes before.

0:04:250:04:29

They probably didn't notice when they got home. They just liked drinking.

0:04:290:04:34

It's worth, I would think, certainly £40 to £60.

0:04:350:04:39

-Mm-hm.

-Right.

-And somebody will buy it

0:04:390:04:42

because of the interest of the war,

0:04:420:04:44

coupled with the lack of production and the name.

0:04:440:04:47

-So can we put it in the sale?

-Yes.

0:04:470:04:49

-It's not doing any good where it was.

-No, it isn't.

0:04:490:04:52

-It's going under the hammer. Good luck.

-Roger & Co, 1943.

0:04:520:04:56

A bottle of French champagne. There it is.

0:04:560:04:58

Where will I start for this one? £40?

0:04:580:05:01

£20?

0:05:010:05:03

£10? 10, thank you.

0:05:040:05:07

£12. 15. 17. 17.

0:05:070:05:10

20. 22.

0:05:100:05:12

25. 27. 30 with me. 32.

0:05:120:05:15

5. 7. 37.

0:05:150:05:17

40? At £40, standing at the back.

0:05:170:05:19

-42 I see, thank you. 45.

-This is good.

0:05:190:05:22

47. 50.

0:05:220:05:25

55. 60.

0:05:250:05:28

65. 70.

0:05:280:05:30

-This is interesting.

-Keep going.

0:05:300:05:32

In the doorway, it's yours at 70. At £70, I'm going to sell it. At £70...

0:05:320:05:38

-Yes, £70.

-That's good.

0:05:380:05:40

-Super-duper!

-Thank you very much.

0:05:400:05:42

As it turned out,

0:05:420:05:44

that bottle of wine was a little more than a wartime curio.

0:05:440:05:47

Pol Roger 1943 is a classic vintage

0:05:470:05:51

worth between £150 and £200,

0:05:510:05:55

so at £70, someone got a real bargain.

0:05:550:05:58

So if you think you've got some bottles worth selling

0:06:000:06:03

or you want to start an indulgent collection,

0:06:030:06:06

Charlie has some tips for you.

0:06:060:06:08

Collectors of wine really want full cases,

0:06:080:06:12

rather than the odd individual bottle.

0:06:120:06:15

The great clarets need to have a history behind them.

0:06:150:06:20

They need to have been in a cellar at the right temperature, unopened.

0:06:200:06:26

Provenance is all-important with good wine,

0:06:260:06:29

So, as is always the case, look for history, story and condition

0:06:290:06:33

when investing in wine or champagne.

0:06:330:06:36

Without provenance, it won't be as appealing to the collectors,

0:06:380:06:41

as we discovered in Colchester

0:06:410:06:43

with this bottle, with a label from the 1920s, which didn't sell.

0:06:430:06:48

No, I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. That lot is unsold.

0:06:480:06:51

That bottle was in fact a rare white wine from the late 1800s,

0:06:510:06:55

worth at least £2,000 today.

0:06:550:07:00

It may have done better in a specialist auction

0:07:000:07:02

and that is where you should take wine which you think may be valuable.

0:07:020:07:06

But more importantly, stay away from the corkscrew.

0:07:070:07:10

Talking of corkscrews...

0:07:100:07:12

-Grace, Sophia, both friends, aren't you?

-Yeah.

0:07:130:07:16

You've come along to Flog It today. You've brought this rusty old thing.

0:07:160:07:20

I remember a fascinating corkscrew.

0:07:200:07:23

It's unusual when a young girl brings something in.

0:07:230:07:25

What can you tell me about it?

0:07:250:07:27

It was my grandad's.

0:07:270:07:30

My dad said he remembers using it as a child, but other than that...

0:07:300:07:33

it's been in a box for 20 or 30 years.

0:07:330:07:36

If we open this up,

0:07:360:07:38

we've got everything we need to know, actually.

0:07:380:07:40

We've got Wier's Patent, which is 1884,

0:07:400:07:44

and we've got JHS and a B.

0:07:440:07:47

That's J Heeley and Sons.

0:07:490:07:51

I think they were working in Birmingham,

0:07:510:07:53

which is why you've got the B.

0:07:530:07:55

'It was made in Birmingham and I'm a Birmingham lad,'

0:07:550:07:58

but the fact that it enabled me to talk about corkscrew collecting

0:07:580:08:02

was lovely.

0:08:020:08:04

Now, it's what we call a lever action,

0:08:040:08:07

but what's very nice about this is it's a double lever.

0:08:070:08:11

Now, this basically means it's more complicated to make,

0:08:110:08:15

it's more expensive to make,

0:08:150:08:17

but it is not more effective as a corkscrew.

0:08:170:08:21

And they are rarer. What that translates to today is money.

0:08:210:08:25

What would you think something like that was worth?

0:08:250:08:29

I'd have probably said about 50 quid.

0:08:290:08:31

Most of them are worth about £50,

0:08:310:08:33

but there are those few, and this was one example,

0:08:330:08:36

that are worth so much more because of the rarity value.

0:08:360:08:39

Let's put £800 to £1,200 on it.

0:08:390:08:42

Wow!

0:08:420:08:45

So that was a fantastic gift from your grandad.

0:08:450:08:47

Yeah. We only found it last week.

0:08:470:08:49

-We didn't know what it was or where it came from.

-You're kidding?

-No.

0:08:490:08:54

So, really whose is it in the family then?

0:08:540:08:57

It was my grandad's. I've been helping my grandma clear out

0:08:570:09:01

-his room.

-Having a clear-out?

-Yeah.

0:09:010:09:03

This is pretty special, isn't it?

0:09:030:09:06

It's helping to put Grace through university.

0:09:060:09:10

There we are. Where do you start me on the corkscrew?

0:09:100:09:14

I'll have to open the bids at 750.

0:09:140:09:17

I'm looking for 760 in the room. 750, 760, 770, 780.

0:09:170:09:22

780, I'm out of the mix. It's in the room at £780.

0:09:220:09:26

Do I see 790 anywhere else?

0:09:260:09:28

At £780. I will sell it at £780.

0:09:280:09:32

-He's going to sell it.

-Are you sure and done at £780?

0:09:320:09:35

Just shy of estimate at £780 and selling... Are you sure?

0:09:350:09:39

It's gone at £780. He's used his discretion and got that away.

0:09:400:09:44

-That pays for a lot more things at university.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:09:440:09:48

-The money will come in handy.

-I'm a student, so every penny counts.

0:09:480:09:53

If you've got something like that

0:09:540:09:56

and you don't value it particularly,

0:09:560:09:59

it's not special to you and it's worth a lot of money,

0:09:590:10:02

and you've got a charge on your purse that you need to pay

0:10:020:10:05

like university fees,

0:10:050:10:07

why not sell it and make life easier for yourself?

0:10:070:10:11

Like so many of our old wining and dining accoutrements,

0:10:110:10:15

the corkscrew hadn't been used in over 20 years

0:10:150:10:18

and was found lying redundant in a box.

0:10:180:10:21

Now it's helping a relative through education and probably making a collector very happy,

0:10:210:10:26

so why not search through your cupboards under the stairs?

0:10:260:10:30

Maybe you've got a rusty old corkscrew that's worth three figures.

0:10:300:10:34

Next, Adam found another item that embodies the luxury of a bygone era.

0:10:380:10:42

These oyster plates may not have a place on today's table,

0:10:430:10:47

but they have a value, as Adam well remembers.

0:10:470:10:50

The majolica oyster plates, I knew you'd bring those ones up.

0:10:500:10:54

They're one of my biggest mis-estimates of my Flog It career.

0:10:540:10:59

Where are the oysters?

0:11:000:11:02

-I forgot to bring them.

-I'm getting hungry.

-I've ruined your day. Sorry.

0:11:020:11:07

So, clearly, these are majolica oyster plates.

0:11:070:11:10

Can you tell me how long you've had them and where you got them from?

0:11:100:11:15

They're my grandma's. She left them to my mum

0:11:150:11:17

-and they're still my mum's.

-Right.

0:11:170:11:19

What attracted me to the plates, firstly, majolica is very popular,

0:11:190:11:23

oysters, well, what a luxury item...

0:11:230:11:27

They're made by the well-known firm George Jones,

0:11:270:11:30

one of the most famous majolica makers around the 1870s, 1880s.

0:11:300:11:34

They are the sort of thing that you could easily walk past

0:11:360:11:40

and disregard, especially because they were damaged.

0:11:400:11:43

-This one, as you can see...

-Has been eaten.

0:11:430:11:46

..has some old damage on the bottom.

0:11:460:11:49

It's got a few little chips and nicks here and there.

0:11:490:11:52

Majolica is very prone to damage.

0:11:520:11:54

In terms of majolica, there were only a handful of prominent makers.

0:11:540:11:59

There was Minton's and Holdcroft

0:11:590:12:01

and George Jones was one of the big names of majolica manufacture.

0:12:010:12:06

And there's the G and a J there, you see,

0:12:060:12:08

which is the George Jones mark.

0:12:080:12:10

This is a registration lozenge and we could look in a book

0:12:100:12:13

and it'll tell you exactly when this was produced - the day,

0:12:130:12:16

the month, the year and everything.

0:12:160:12:19

The fact that they were associated with the George Jones factory...

0:12:190:12:21

there was books on George Jones majolica...

0:12:210:12:23

They made other things. They made lots of ordinary ceramics

0:12:230:12:27

that no-one really cared a great deal about.

0:12:270:12:30

It's just the majolica that people want from George Jones.

0:12:300:12:33

-Any idea what they might be worth?

-No idea at all.

0:12:330:12:37

-Have you ever shown them to anyone else?

-My father died 13 years ago.

0:12:370:12:41

At that time, an antique dealer came to the house and he offered us £30.

0:12:410:12:46

-£30.

-We weren't bothered, so we left them back in the cupboard.

0:12:460:12:50

I don't think that was the most generous offer,

0:12:500:12:52

but the maybe the market for majolica has improved a bit.

0:12:520:12:56

-I'd estimate £100 to £150.

-Fine.

-For the pair.

0:12:560:13:00

Damage is a real important factor,

0:13:000:13:03

as we keep banging on about on the programme,

0:13:030:13:06

so I didn't want to overburden them with a huge estimate.

0:13:060:13:09

That's the biggest turn-off to the potential buyer,

0:13:090:13:12

so hence the low estimate.

0:13:120:13:15

These belong to Rosalyn, George Jones majolica, great name.

0:13:150:13:19

We've got a valuation of £100 to £150 put on by our expert.

0:13:190:13:23

-Very conservative.

-It is a bit, isn't it?

0:13:230:13:25

-Very conservative.

-Especially for George Jones.

0:13:250:13:28

And a pair. It's not very often you see two of anything of George Jones,

0:13:280:13:33

but I like these, I think the colour's very good.

0:13:330:13:36

And I'm sure you'll find these will double or treble the estimate,

0:13:360:13:40

-your bottom estimate.

-Yes.

0:13:400:13:43

-We had a valuation of £100 to £150.

-Yeah.

0:13:430:13:46

I had a chat to John, the auctioneer.

0:13:460:13:48

-He thinks they might creep to £300 to £400.

-Lovely.

0:13:480:13:52

You want to put it nice and tempting.

0:13:520:13:55

-Hopefully, we'll get another great auction result.

-I think we will.

0:13:550:14:00

-This is it.

-One of the prize lots of the day, 170.

0:14:000:14:03

-Watch this.

-And the commission bids start here

0:14:030:14:06

at £750.

0:14:060:14:09

Oh, yes! That's a "come and buy me", Adam!

0:14:090:14:12

£750 I'm bid.

0:14:120:14:14

780...

0:14:140:14:16

As the auction kicked off,

0:14:160:14:17

I soon realised that I had undercooked my oysters.

0:14:170:14:23

-800.

-Wow!

0:14:230:14:25

And 20. 850.

0:14:250:14:27

At 850... 880.

0:14:290:14:31

-900.

-900.

0:14:310:14:33

920.

0:14:330:14:35

And they raced on. They kept going and going and going.

0:14:350:14:39

£980.

0:14:400:14:42

All done? Sold.

0:14:420:14:44

£980, how about that, serving up for you right now on those plates?

0:14:440:14:49

-Fantastic.

-I guess we missed a nought off that estimate, didn't we?

-Wow!

0:14:490:14:54

£980.

0:14:550:14:57

Ouch!

0:14:580:15:00

-That was a "come and buy me".

-It was. It was very conservative.

-Yes.

0:15:000:15:04

Oysters are meant to be an aphrodisiac,

0:15:040:15:07

but if I came home with £980,

0:15:070:15:10

I think that would be more of an aphrodisiac

0:15:100:15:12

than two broken majolica plates.

0:15:120:15:15

The oyster plates were damaged, but expert Philip Serrell explains why,

0:15:160:15:20

in this case, it didn't put the bidders off.

0:15:200:15:24

You never, ever want to buy really damaged items.

0:15:240:15:27

The only exception to that is when rarity dictates

0:15:270:15:30

that the only way you'll own something

0:15:300:15:33

is by buying something that might have a bit of damage to it.

0:15:330:15:37

So just because an item is cracked, it doesn't mean

0:15:370:15:40

it can't make you cash.

0:15:400:15:42

But if a period piece is in mint condition

0:15:420:15:45

and made of the finest quality, like this cocktail shaker,

0:15:450:15:48

the bidders will pay serious money for it,

0:15:480:15:51

as Charlie Ross found out.

0:15:510:15:53

What a stunning object!

0:15:530:15:55

What an absolutely typical object from the Deco period!

0:15:550:16:01

The shape, the materials from which it's made,

0:16:010:16:03

I think this is a real statement of the period.

0:16:030:16:06

I just looked at it across the room

0:16:060:16:09

and it just screamed "Charleston" at me

0:16:090:16:11

and old-fashioned cigarette holders and ladies in flappers and things.

0:16:110:16:17

It was such a great thing.

0:16:170:16:19

And the reason I really love it is that you twiddle the top round

0:16:190:16:24

and it's got all the recipes for each of the cocktails.

0:16:240:16:28

You've got a choice of about eight recipes.

0:16:280:16:30

That'd keep me going for an evening.

0:16:300:16:32

-That's a sure way to end up on the floor.

-Most of which contain gin.

0:16:320:16:37

-There's a strainer there.

-Yes.

0:16:370:16:39

You put your cocktails in there with the ice

0:16:390:16:42

and that will drain out lemon pips and a bit of peel and mint

0:16:420:16:46

if it's in there. Here we are, spout.

0:16:460:16:49

It's foolproof, isn't it?

0:16:490:16:51

They don't want to waste any of their cocktails.

0:16:510:16:53

A cocktail was a 1920s, 1930s drink,

0:16:530:16:56

based on gin or vodka or rum,

0:16:560:16:59

or even whisky, vermouth, whatever.

0:16:590:17:03

It was in mint condition.

0:17:030:17:06

Generally speaking, a cocktail shaker is not an item

0:17:060:17:09

of any particular value.

0:17:090:17:11

They're usually silver-plated, sometimes Bakelite.

0:17:110:17:14

So where did you get it from?

0:17:140:17:16

That came from my parents.

0:17:160:17:18

I think it might have been a wedding present. They were married in '36.

0:17:180:17:22

-That's spot-on.

-I can't see my father buying one.

0:17:220:17:26

Did you bring it, thinking it will send you to the Bahamas?

0:17:260:17:29

I thought it might buy me a bottle of gin.

0:17:290:17:31

It's going to struggle to make more than £50, I would have thought.

0:17:310:17:35

My guide price would be perhaps 40 to 60.

0:17:350:17:38

It's not going to make £200 or £300 in a month of Sundays.

0:17:380:17:41

By golly, weren't we wrong!

0:17:410:17:44

It's a bit of fun and I'm sure this will do really, really well.

0:17:440:17:48

It's put a smile on everybody's face. We've enjoyed this moment.

0:17:480:17:51

Here it is, it's going under the hammer.

0:17:510:17:53

Lot 529, an early 20th century Art Deco cocktail shaker.

0:17:530:17:59

45 over there.

0:17:590:18:00

At 45. 50. 55. 60. 65.

0:18:000:18:04

70. 75.

0:18:040:18:06

This is amazing.

0:18:060:18:07

90. 95. 100. 110.

0:18:070:18:10

120.

0:18:100:18:12

130. 140. 150.

0:18:120:18:15

-Wow!

-160. Behind you at 160...

0:18:150:18:18

-On the phone, 170...

-It's an iconic design, isn't it?

0:18:180:18:22

190. 200.

0:18:230:18:26

210. 220.

0:18:260:18:28

-230.

-We would have been happy with 40 quid, wouldn't we?

0:18:290:18:33

290. 300.

0:18:330:18:35

-310.

-You said 40 to 60!

0:18:360:18:39

-I think they missed a nought off. Didn't we say 400 to 600?

-340...

0:18:390:18:44

-350.

-This is astonishing.

-This is madness.

-This is a golden moment.

0:18:440:18:49

At 360, I sell in the room...

0:18:490:18:51

At 360. Are you sure you're out on the phone? It's an important piece.

0:18:510:18:56

Someone has designed a whole range of giftware on this.

0:18:560:19:00

At £360...

0:19:000:19:02

-Amazing!

-Absolutely incredible.

0:19:040:19:07

Thank you so much.

0:19:070:19:09

And thanks for your advice - 40 to 60 quid!

0:19:090:19:12

LAUGHTER

0:19:120:19:14

A pleasure to be so incompetent!

0:19:140:19:17

Why did it do so well? It looked very good. It was in mint condition.

0:19:170:19:22

I don't think it had ever been used before.

0:19:220:19:24

It had those recipes, some of which I had never heard of,

0:19:240:19:28

but quite fun to experiment, and I'm sure whoever bought it

0:19:280:19:31

would have mixed all those cocktails within a week of buying it!

0:19:310:19:34

While they may not have a use in today's world,

0:19:360:19:39

these luxury items help preserve the memory of a more glamorous age.

0:19:390:19:44

All these items were handed down from past generations,

0:19:440:19:48

family heirlooms that might not look like they're worth much,

0:19:480:19:51

but the key is in the quality.

0:19:510:19:54

If it's a luxury piece, it's likely to be well-made

0:19:540:19:56

and therefore hold its value.

0:19:560:19:58

So have another look at that trinket from the '20s

0:20:010:20:04

your great-aunt left you.

0:20:040:20:06

If it's good quality or rare, it might be worth a bob or two.

0:20:060:20:09

If you're thinking of buying something from this period,

0:20:090:20:12

or in fact anything at all, turn the item upside down.

0:20:120:20:16

Look at it from every single face side.

0:20:160:20:19

Check the construction joints.

0:20:190:20:21

Look at it in detail. Look at it through a magnifying glass.

0:20:210:20:25

If it's too dark in the premises, shine a torch on it.

0:20:250:20:28

Well, if that lot gives you food for thought,

0:20:320:20:35

my next stop in Richmond, North Yorkshire,

0:20:350:20:38

is guaranteed to nourish the soul.

0:20:380:20:40

OK, it looks unassuming on this road right here,

0:20:410:20:45

but it is a Grade 1 listed building

0:20:450:20:47

and it has a very important claim to fame.

0:20:470:20:50

It's the oldest and most complete Georgian playhouse

0:20:500:20:53

in Britain. And that's a fact. All the good stuff is inside,

0:20:530:20:57

so without further ado so let's go in and view the piece de resistance.

0:20:570:21:01

In the early 1700s, there weren't any theatres in Britain,

0:21:040:21:07

as it was illegal to act for money.

0:21:070:21:10

However, plays were performed by travelling companies of actors

0:21:100:21:13

who found ways around the law.

0:21:130:21:16

From the 1760s, Royal Patents were granted to a few provincial theatres

0:21:160:21:20

but the biggest change came in 1788

0:21:200:21:23

with the passing of the Theatre Licensing Act,

0:21:230:21:26

which allowed companies of actors the right to apply for licences

0:21:260:21:29

to put on plays for 60 days at a time.

0:21:290:21:34

And it was shortly after this that a remarkable Yorkshireman

0:21:350:21:39

called Samuel Butler signed a 21-year lease

0:21:390:21:42

with the Richmond Corporation. On 2nd September, 1788,

0:21:420:21:47

this remarkable, unique little theatre was opened to the public.

0:21:470:21:52

And isn't it just marvellous?

0:21:520:21:55

It really is. It's so tiny. It's fabulous.

0:21:550:21:59

When it first opened, this venue was simply named The Theatre.

0:22:010:22:05

Butler's company of actors played not only here,

0:22:050:22:08

but at seven other theatres

0:22:080:22:09

that the entrepreneurial Butler had established across Yorkshire.

0:22:090:22:14

Sadly, in 1830 the lease on this building was never renewed.

0:22:140:22:18

The theatre and the Butler company parted ways.

0:22:180:22:20

Over the following centuries, a few odd performances

0:22:200:22:23

were played out on this very stage, but it was put to different uses.

0:22:230:22:29

It became a wine vault. During WWII, it was a storage depot

0:22:290:22:33

and, believe it or not, it was even an auction room.

0:22:330:22:36

Thankfully, the core and fabric of this very building

0:22:360:22:39

was never altered greatly.

0:22:390:22:41

That's why it's become so important to theatre historians,

0:22:410:22:45

because it's the best surviving example of a Georgian playhouse

0:22:450:22:49

in Britain.

0:22:490:22:51

The stage itself is typical of the period and is known as

0:22:510:22:54

a proscenium arch, which acts as a window to the action.

0:22:540:22:59

The stage is raked and is a foot higher at the back than the front

0:22:590:23:03

in order to give the audience a better view.

0:23:030:23:07

Today, the Georgian Theatre Royal can seat up to 214 people,

0:23:070:23:11

but back in the Georgian era, 400 eager audience members

0:23:110:23:14

would have squeezed in.

0:23:140:23:16

You can imagine how lots more people were jammed in this small space all together,

0:23:170:23:22

but which were the good seats and which were bad?

0:23:220:23:25

Up here is called the gallery and these are the cheap seats,

0:23:250:23:30

used by the young and dissolute.

0:23:300:23:32

To watch performances here in the Georgian period cost one shilling.

0:23:320:23:37

-KNOCK

-Did you hear that? That was me!

0:23:370:23:41

This gallery has a unique Georgian feature - the kicking board.

0:23:410:23:45

That's exactly what you do to it.

0:23:450:23:47

The Georgian patrons would have used this

0:23:490:23:51

to show signs of disapproval if the act wasn't working out properly.

0:23:510:23:55

And I'm told it's still used today,

0:23:550:23:58

but only as a sign of approval to encourage an encore.

0:23:580:24:02

-KICKS BOARD

-More, please! More!

0:24:020:24:06

So that's how the Georgians would have watched theatre,

0:24:060:24:08

but I want to see behind the scenes.

0:24:080:24:11

I'm going to tread in the actors' footsteps as I head down underneath

0:24:110:24:15

through the dressing room to the very guts of the theatre.

0:24:150:24:20

I'm underneath the stage right now. There it is above me now.

0:24:200:24:23

This whole area is known as the machine room

0:24:230:24:26

and these are the footlights, or floats,

0:24:260:24:29

as they were called in the Georgian period.

0:24:290:24:31

These candles would have been alight in troughs of water.

0:24:310:24:36

This whole trough would have been winched up here,

0:24:360:24:39

going up to the stage to project light back on to the actors' faces.

0:24:390:24:44

And they were in water because if they fell over,

0:24:440:24:47

it would put the flame out and not catch on fire.

0:24:470:24:51

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the theatre

0:24:520:24:55

is operated from right down here.

0:24:550:24:57

That's the trap doors.

0:24:570:25:00

This enables items and actors to spring up out of nowhere

0:25:000:25:04

onto the stage. There were originally three trap doors here,

0:25:040:25:07

but now there's only one.

0:25:070:25:09

This is a reconstruction and, sadly, it doesn't work.

0:25:090:25:13

So I've got to take the long way back up.

0:25:130:25:15

The Georgian Theatre Royal holds such a prestigious place

0:25:190:25:22

in the history of theatre in Britain that many of our finest actors feel

0:25:220:25:27

it's a status symbol to have played here - Timothy West, Judi Dench

0:25:270:25:31

and plenty of other legendary actors have graced the stage here,

0:25:310:25:35

and yours truly is very proud to have visited this fascinating piece

0:25:350:25:40

of theatre history.

0:25:400:25:42

Throughout the series, we've been finding out which item inspired

0:25:490:25:52

our experts' love of antiques.

0:25:520:25:54

Here's the ever-theatrical Charlie Ross.

0:25:540:25:57

A French mirror!

0:25:570:26:00

When I left school and joined the firm of surveyors and auctioneers,

0:26:000:26:05

I started working in Buckingham in the saleroom. I was 19, 20.

0:26:050:26:10

And I immediately fell in love with furniture of all sorts.

0:26:100:26:15

And the mirror you see here was the first piece of furniture

0:26:150:26:19

I ever bought.

0:26:190:26:21

And I bought it as a present for my mum.

0:26:210:26:24

And it was completely knackered when I bought it.

0:26:240:26:28

I can't remember how much.

0:26:280:26:31

Let's say it was £12, £14, something like that.

0:26:310:26:34

And I had it restored, which cost considerably more,

0:26:340:26:39

and I gave it to my dear mother, who was thrilled with it

0:26:390:26:41

and used it throughout her life.

0:26:410:26:44

And subsequently when she died, it was left back to me.

0:26:440:26:49

So it's gone full circle

0:26:490:26:50

and it is, to me, the most precious piece of furniture.

0:26:500:26:54

No, it's not Chippendale, it isn't of huge significance,

0:26:540:26:58

other than sentimental value. It is a nice piece of furniture.

0:26:580:27:02

It's George III, it's mahogany,

0:27:020:27:05

it's serpentine-fronted. You can see it's a swing toilet mirror.

0:27:050:27:08

It has three rather capacious drawers.

0:27:080:27:11

It's a really nice piece of furniture.

0:27:110:27:14

Value today?

0:27:140:27:16

£200 or £300? I dare say in the good old times, the late '70s, '80s,

0:27:160:27:21

it would have been worth probably £400-£600, but I don't care.

0:27:210:27:25

To me it's priceless.

0:27:250:27:27

Brown furniture, as it's called,

0:27:290:27:31

has dropped in value significantly in the last 20 years.

0:27:310:27:34

You can pick up beautiful pieces for a bargain in auction rooms,

0:27:340:27:38

but plan ahead if you're thinking of buying big bits of kit.

0:27:380:27:42

Make sure you have man with van on stand-by

0:27:430:27:46

if you've got something large that needs collecting.

0:27:460:27:49

If you don't collect it within one week of purchase,

0:27:490:27:52

there will be storage charge and insurance and VAT.

0:27:520:27:57

It will cost you a lot more.

0:27:570:27:59

As we know, the market can be a fickle beast,

0:28:040:28:07

but there will always be an appetite for good quality luxury pieces

0:28:070:28:11

related to food and drink. And you never know where those little gems

0:28:110:28:15

may spring from.

0:28:150:28:17

Let's put £800-£1,200 on it.

0:28:170:28:19

Wow.

0:28:190:28:21

So I hope we've given you a little taster of what's out there

0:28:220:28:26

and served up some useful advice.

0:28:260:28:29

Wow!

0:28:300:28:31

Join me again soon for more for more top tips

0:28:310:28:34

from Flog It's Trade Secrets.

0:28:340:28:36

Paul Martin and a host of regular experts offer tips and advice on antiques and collectibles. This episode is a feast for the senses as epicurean curiosities come under the spotlight. And Paul Martin nourishes the soul on a visit to Britain's oldest Georgian playhouse.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS