Tips on antiques and collectibles. The team relive their childhood memories as they take a look at antique toys and games.
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Now, we've all got things tucked away in cupboards or in the attic.
Treasures that have been forgotten about for many years.
But if you take a closer look, you might just find something
of real value.
Something a collector will be waiting for.
I have an automatic gold detector in my fingertips!
Over the last 11 years on the show,
you've literally brought in thousands of items
for our experts to wax lyrical over.
And now I want to share some of that knowledge with the rest of you
to help you get in the know.
On today's show, we're looking back at childhood memories.
And what's the stuff of those memories?
Well, it's toys, of course.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Where did you get it from?
And we'll be letting you in on the secret of what's a winner
and what's a damp squib
when it come to selling those childhood treasures.
If you can find and immaculate
and complete old Monopoly set you're into money.
We've got an Aladdin's cave of play things and we'll be lifting the lid on what to look out for
in antique toys.
I think this is all her original dress, which is marvellous.
Wonderful glass eyes. Later, they were plastic.
If we knock them against our teeth, we can tell they're glass.
And today's the day Elizabeth Talbot reveals a soft spot
for a childhood favourite.
He's gorgeous! He's waving, look.
One of my favourite toys from my childhood
has to be my Dinky and Corgi cars.
Every time I see one at a Flog It valuation day,
it brings back memories of a happy childhood for me.
I think that's what the collectors are looking for.
Evocative of a time before computer games
when you had to use your own imagination to play with your toys.
But what separates a collectable classic
from something of just sentimental value?
Things that are original and retain their original packaging
and is in as good a condition as possible are more valuable.
So often, especially with Dinky toys,
a Dinky toy might be worth £50, but the box it came in might be worth 100.
I suppose that's condition, isn't it?
Toys and games have got to be in good condition.
Sadly, not played with!
Sad to think of a toy or game that hasn't been used,
but the more mint-like the condition,
the more value it will have.
And boxed, if possible.
So the message is loud and clear.
Condition, condition, condition!
Now let's take a closer look at some of the most exciting
and pristine toys we've ever seen on the show.
-What a wonderful treasure you've brought in!
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-Where did you get it from?
-It belonged to my father.
But the strange thing was, we none of us saw it when we were children.
We only, unfortunately, discovered it after he'd died.
-We were going through his things to sort through them.
-Never got it out at Christmas or anything?
-So the family could play along?
The other nice thing to see straightaway is the inset brass plaque here,
engraved with the maker's name. Which is?
"Toulmin & Gale, from Cheapside in London."
There's nothing cheap about this box, is there?
Toulmin & Gale, actually, were a very long-established firm,
founded in the early part of the 18th century.
They went right through the 19th century,
even winning a gold medal in the 1862 International Exhibition.
-We've naturally got a whole set of chess.
-We've got a set of dominoes.
A full set of draughts.
Games, of course, are common, and have been common for thousands of years.
A compendium of this quality
and range of games
would not have been common.
It would have been for the upper classes.
Then we've got a Bezique game, which I never know how to play!
-But my favourite, I have to say, and I'm not a betting man,
-but I love this horse-racing game.
We've only put a few horses out, and a few of the jumps,
-but there's more fitted inside.
And even the beakers for shaking the dice, it's just absolutely superb.
There are so many fragile, breakable, and, of course, small pieces
that could have been lost.
So when you open a box like this,
and find it virtually intact,
well, it's a collector's dream.
So we've got to think of a price. We're quite excited about it
and have to think of a price.
But I would put it in with a "come and get me" estimate.
-To get their taste buds watering, if you like.
-So I would put something like 400 to £600 on it.
-OK. That's good.
Mark might not be a gambling man,
but he is hedging his bets.
The name and the quality will surely raise the stakes?
280 now. 300.
320 bid. 340 against you in the room.
If you want something like this, of the quality and complete nature,
you certainly need to have a decent few counters in your wallet.
Cos they don't come cheap.
600 on my right. Going 620?
-620 with you. Thank you.
-This is great.
660 now. 680. 700.
Look out for unusual objects in there. You know,
little games pointers made of ivory or silver.
All those little things add value to pieces.
-900 seated. Lady's bid at £900.
940, the lady. 940 I'm bid.
-Absolutely brilliant. 940... 960.
-Still going strong.
We might get to a thousand!
-£980. Lady's bid at 980.
£1,000 against you. Lovely lot. Don't let it go.
1,050. Thank you.
1,050 I'm bid. I'm looking for 1,100.
If you're all done? At 1,050 I'm selling.
-Crash! £1,050. Margaret, I'm tingling.
One of the best games compendiums I've ever seen.
Not bad for something she didn't even know was in her father's house!
And there was another treat for the collectors
when Michael found a pre-war toy complete with its original accessories.
I remember seeing a Chad Valley doll at Llandudno.
If you want to get your end, and I'll get mine. We'll have a look.
Right. Oh, isn't that lovely!
So we've got the little girl in her bed. How did you come by this?
It was donated to St David's Hospice
and I asked if I could take a few things along today.
-They said, "Take our pretty doll."
Everything we need to know about this little doll
is actually on the box here!
It's The Chad Valley, which is an English company
that specialised in making toys and especially dolls with this felt covering.
This is all her original dress, which is marvellous.
'Chad Valley is one of those companies'
that's immediately recognisable as a British toy manufacturer.
Being in a country where the toys were made
leads to an appeal within that market.
It's the "Bambina", which is not a doll I've come across before.
But what's super about this little doll,
is even though someone's had her out and played with her,
they've put her back in the box. It's all in card, all terribly fragile.
But it's all been kept in wonderful condition by this box.
The one thing you learn is, the more ephemeral the object,
the more valuable it is.
So the toy might be kept, but the box it comes in
is the first thing on the fire, in the bin, in the skip.
And even though this box is dreadfully tired,
-I cannot tell you how many times these get thrown away.
Have you got any idea when it was made?
Not really, but we had a bit of paper with it
and that said 1934.
I wouldn't argue with your bit of paper!
-I wouldn't be that specific as your bit of paper.
To have all of this, to have the original label,
to have the box, which is almost, from a graphic design point of view,
I like the box more than the doll!
-I think we can put it into auction at 50 to £80.
Put a £50 reserve on it, and see where it goes from there.
It's always important when you're selling something for a charity
that it does as well as it possibly can.
It adds a bit of pressure on to us.
-I've been joined by Heather. Who have you brought along?
Marie, hi. Love the blue T-shirts. St David's Hospice.
-It's a charity.
-Yes. We have to raise 1.3 million
to actually keep the hospice running.
So we do a lot of work to fundraise towards that.
It's going under the hammer now.
Lot 394, folks.
A 1930s Chad Valley soft-bodied cloth doll Bambina.
It starts, though, at £50.
Five. 60. Five. 70.
Five. 80. Five.
Toys are strong collectables now
because people are trying to recapture
some of the innocence of youth. Some of their childhood.
But it's also very much a collectors' market.
So once you feed into it, once you collect dolls,
which are all in different numbers
of heads and sizes and styles,
you want the rarer and rarer ones.
It's like collecting coins or stamps, in a way.
180. 190. 200.
-For charity, isn't it?
As, of course, collectors start their collections and go on,
they're willing to spend more and more money.
A market that probably didn't exist 50 years ago for collectable toys
is now very strong
with lots of specialist sales throughout the country.
Gosh, I'm tingling!
Anybody new? At £300.
Fantastic. That can't be bad, can it!
£300 for charity.
-Thank you so much.
-Don't set me off!
With toys, the maker is always important.
Even if they look well loved.
-Are these your toys?
-Those were my toys.
-Were yours. Do you remember playing with them as a child?
-Were they in the family? They weren't bought new.
-They came down through the family.
And you want to sell them now?
-Your childhood memories, out through the window?
-That's it. Yes.
-You can't do that!
-I'm the last of the Anderson line.
-I think these were made in Germany.
And I think they were made in the '20s.
They work from clockwork, and our little pig here plays the drums.
And our little violinist, he's on the fiddle!
-They're German. Do you know how I know that?
I know that cos it says here, "Made in Germany"!
-So I'm an all-seeing expert here, Norman.
They were made by a company called Schuco.
'They made little motor cars that you wound up.'
They made little pigs and teddy bears where the head came off
with scent bottles inside.
They made all manner of good quality little toys like that.
And their wares are sought after.
-Have you got the key to wind him up?
There are specialist toy hospitals,
and if you go to people who restore teddy bears and this type of thing,
if you go to a specialist,
'finding a spare key shouldn't be too problematic.'
What are they worth? I think they'll make 40 to £60 estimate.
-For the two?
-For the two, yes.
Put a reserve on of £30?
-Are you happy with that?
Let's hope they drum up a bit of interest at the auction!
-It's going under the hammer.
is a lot comprising two Schuco tin-plate toy clockwork pigs.
On the floor at 35. Fresh bidder.
-Oh, come on.
Animals, in particular, are collectable,
because you get people that collect any type of animal.
-60, fresh bidder.
And for some reason, don't ask me,
pigs are very collectable.
-Any advance on £90?
All done at 90... 95 back in.
£95. Any advance on 95?
It trotted on, didn't it? 95.
I loved them to bits. Great fun. And to tell the truth,
I had a wee play with them myself!
So Schuco is definitely a name to look out for.
But when it comes to toys, there's one that touches all our hearts.
# For every bear there ever was
# Will gather there for certain cos
# Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic! #
Oh, teddy bear! Look at that teddy!
We've all got one at home. They come in to every valuation day
and they can be very valuable.
-Have you given your teddy bear a name?
-Albert. Ah. He's not for sale, is he?
No. You just want a valuation.
You've brought in today these wonderful bears.
The Farnell's bear, for me,
every time, was the most fascinating toy.
Just beautiful, and in such good condition.
Tell me where they're from.
-They've been passed down through my wife's side of the family.
Was she allowed to play with them as a child?
She was allowed to play with them at the bottom of the stairs,
because Granny didn't like noisy children!
Should be seen and not heard!
-Were you allowed to play with them?
I wasn't. I was allowed to hold them at some point,
but we weren't allowed to play with them, cos of Granddad.
The fact you weren't allowed to play with them means they are in excellent condition.
The wonderful thing about this one is he's actually still got his growler.
-Can you make him growl for me?
Any kind of original features that antiques still have,
for example, the growler in the bear that was still working,
certainly add to the value.
That's what collectors want. It ticks so many boxes for collectors.
That's terrifying! You wouldn't want to meet him in the woods!
But I've rather taken to him, I have to say.
I think he's absolutely wonderful. He's got this lovely label here
which tells us he's actually a Farnell bear.
Now, Farnell's was basically the English equivalent of Steiff.
In 1906, with the craze of teddy bears,
they were credited with producing the first English teddy bear,
which, I believe, went on to rival Steiff's bears in Germany as well.
But they are fundamentally important in the history of the teddy bear.
He's quite an early chap. We've got wonderful glass eyes.
Later, they were plastic. If we knock them against our teeth,
we can tell that they're glass.
Nice felt pad, there. Original stitching.
So I would date him to around the 1930s, 1940s.
-He's got the most wonderful expression on his face.
It must have been so tempting to play with him when you were younger, and not be allowed!
My grandma was always stood guard over Tony and me.
Then this little chappie, unfortunately, we can't attribute him to any particular factory.
-But he looks like he's around the same sort of date.
Unfortunately, with teddy bear collectors, the name is pretty much everything.
If you can attribute them to a particular factory, that's fantastic.
A nice, 1930s, 1940s bear.
We're looking somewhere probably in the region of 100 to £150.
Purely because unfortunately we can't attribute him to a particular factory.
The Farnell's Alpha Bear, I think he is gorgeous.
We're looking somewhere in the region of maybe 300 to £500.
-But you never know.
As long as they go to someone who looks after them. That's what I'd like.
# Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic! #
'Despite that wonderful pedigree, my favourite was our second lot,
'the less distinguished cousin!'
I think he's been duffed up a bit and needs a lot of love!
He's the cheaper of the two,
but I think he looks more expensive, put it that way.
But it's just my opinion.
Let's see who's going to put their paws up. Here we go.
The Alpha Toys teddy bear, the Farnell's.
I've got 320 on the net.
It was incredibly nerve-racking, cos the bidding was quite slow,
-I'll take 580 in the room.
I've got 570 now on the net.
I found other similar comparables of Farnell's bears
that were selling for that sort of region, the three, four, five, £600 region.
But I don't think I particularly appreciated
how good a condition that bear was in
and how much of a premium it would have added.
-I can see you willing this on!
Your head's nodding with the bidders!
"One more, one more!"
It was wonderful. I was thrilled to bits.
It's a bit special!
At 1,300... 1,350 back in. 1,400?
No? At 1,400, then. On the steps at 1,400.
Selling, then, at 1,400.
-That's one down!
One more to go. My favourite, next!
'How much difference did that lost label make?'
I think we all loved the second bear
because he probably wasn't going to make as much and because he lost his label at some point.
-The mohair teddy bear.
-Here we go.
Someone's got good taste out there.
Well, I still prefer that one!
That was the right money, £100.
A grand total of £1,500.
Keeping them in good condition is incredibly important for their future value.
So it's very difficult. It is very sad about a bear that hasn't been cuddled.
That's what they were made for, at the end of the day!
When it comes to collecting toys,
here are some handy hints on how to play the market.
Fortunately, if you want to get into the games collecting market,
there's many price points to start with.
You can find something as simple as a 1970s Rubik's cube.
Make sure it hasn't been done, of course!
If you can find an original Monopoly, with the old shoe and the iron.
Nowadays, I don't know what they have - racing cars and things.
But if you can find an immaculate and complete old Monopoly set, you're into money.
And now here are some of my trade secrets.
With toys, quality is always important.
Watch out. Missing pieces in games and jigsaw puzzles will really put the collectors off.
And they don't come much more fussy than doll collectors!
So, does it have its original clothing and accessories?
That's the detail they're after.
But with enough charm, even mass-produced, damaged toys
can still find a new home.
With teddy bears, it's all in the name.
So make sure you check the labels.
Elizabeth Talbot will be sharing more teddy bear know-how shortly!
We've all got something at home, that one special item that we're particularly attached to.
But I want to know what's the one thing
our experts would rescue from a burning building!
Today, it's the turn of James Lewis.
If there was a fire at home,
I would probably save something that belongs to my daughter.
Assuming she was out of the house already!
It's a little stuffed rabbit that she calls Rabby.
My life would not be worth living
if anything happened to that!
It's just a little... Probably a collectable of the future,
worth absolutely nothing at the moment apart from for her.
I think that is probably the most precious, loved thing in the house.
A toy in good condition is a rarity indeed
because it's in their nature to be played with too hard,
to be bashed around a bit and enjoyed.
Teddy bears are especially prone to being cuddled into a state of disrepair!
But what makes a good teddy bear in the first place?
Flog It expert Elizabeth Talbot went down in the woods to find out.
I like teddy bears because they are very much individual personalities.
Little characters, very much like these ones!
Traditionally, there are certain firms of teddy bear manufacturers
who make teddy bears out of alpaca hair.
Farnell was probably the most famous company that did that.
They had a special range.
But I do know one other company that still includes alpaca hair in some to their teddy bears.
It's not very far from here.
Merrythought has been making teddy bears
at its Victorian factory in Shropshire since 1930.
It's a family-run firm, and the last remaining British manufacturer
still producing bears by hand.
Elizabeth is meeting Sarah Holmes,
who runs the company with her sister, Hannah.
-Lovely to meet you.
I'm so excited to be here.
I've rushed over from the alpaca farm.
How did it all start?
-You've been here since 1930?
My great-grandfather established the business in 1930.
And it's been in Ironbridge and part of Shropshire ever since.
The classic teddy bear that people are familiar with,
it's arguable in terms of who really established that.
Alpha Farnell and Steiff were two of the very earliest.
The Alpha Farnell teddy is what is commonly associated with as being the classic teddy bear
with the long limbs and the hump on the back.
They ceased production in the late '60s.
So hence their original designs from pre- that era are very sought after.
Then Merrythought took on the brand
in the mid-1990s.
Which was great, because it means we are able to bring Alpha Farnell back to life.
From my perspective, there are some serious collectors
who look for the Cheeky and the "punkinhead" and the different ones.
Where did they come from? Whose inspiration were those?
They are so different.
It was actually our original designer, Florence Attwood,
who was wonderfully talented in designing teddy bears.
So this would be the very first Merrythought teddy bear.
-This was designed by Florence?
And he is from about 1930 in age?
This particular bear is from 1931.
So he would have been one of the very first to be produced.
But Florence went on to design a huge array of different styles of teddy bears.
Rather famously, the Cheeky bear
and the Punky bear
in the late '40s
and early '50s.
Yes, the Punky bear is a very unique teddy bear!
It still has a very strong collectors' following today
and they are quite sought after at auction.
I wanted to ask you, do you have any alpaca bears here?
-We certainly do.
-We use alpaca quite a lot, actually.
Obviously alongside mohair.
There's one little white teddy bear here, made from alpaca.
Oh, he's so fluffy. He's lovely.
It's a very fine fibre and creates a very soft finish.
They're quite distinctive. He's made from alpaca.
I can certainly show you a few more.
I'd love to see a few more, please!
This is a hive of concentrated activity. Amazing.
What's actually happening in this room?
This is where we make all our teddy bears.
Everything we produce is made from start to finish under this roof.
Just to give you an idea of the process,
we start by cutting out each of the shapes that make our pattern for our teddy bear.
Those shapes are then sewn together.
And then we move on to the next stage where the eyes are put in.
The bears are part stuffed.
Then the joints are put in. A fiddly process.
And then the bears are assembled. The arms, legs and head are all attached to the body.
And then the final stage is hand embroidering the nose
and the smile on the teddy bear.
-Very important part.
-It brings it to life.
-Yes, gives it its character.
-Ah, the all-important eyes.
They're put in by hand as well.
So that's why some bears have this wonderful expression where maybe their eyes are not quite level
or they're a bit close together.
But it actually adds to the bespoke nature of them.
-Though a Merrythought bear wouldn't pass quality control if his eyes weren't level.
But I notice from a collector's point of view
they will often spend money where they feel there is a personality,
to purchase a bear with a bit of a quirk.
-It isn't always a bad thing.
But it's fascinating to see how that's achieved.
Teddy bears' eyes are magical
because they're the window on the teddy bear's soul, being very romantic!
But teddy bears' eyes are important in dating them.
The earlier ones, from the 1904 period of Steiff
and the early Farnell's
were the little metal boot button eyes which were black painted.
But through the early 20th century, glass was used in different colours
to give the pupil and the surround in a nice coloured way.
Then as the 20th century developed
the synthetic man-made plastics were inserted and used
because they were cheaper and easier to mass-produce
but also increasingly it was a safety element, which was important.
-This is the assembly.
-Yes. We call it fitting up.
Is this how a bear in 1931 would have been assembled?
-With the pins?
-Just the same.
This technique wouldn't have changed since teddy bears started.
Have you ever put a leg on back to front?
That was a special edition, that one!
Penny's got a lot of responsibility,
because the expression and personality of the bear comes out first through the eyes
and then it's enhanced by the facial features, the nose and mouth.
And although they are working to a pattern,
you cannot but help have slight variations
because every stitch is unique. It is unique.
Therefore each bear has a very slight kind of individual nature which sets it apart.
Expression has always commanded quite an important consideration for collectors.
A bear that looks appealing, whether it looks sad or lonely,
or quite mischievous,
can tempt people to bid that bit more at auction and pay more.
It's like the cherry on the top of a cake.
Just kind of finishing it off.
Oh, look at him. He's gorgeous!
He's waving, look!
Sarah, I have to say I've had such an amazing day.
I'll enjoy teddy bears even more after today.
That's nice to hear. You're very welcome.
I've had the most magical day here in Ironbridge.
I've learned such a lot. It's been a wonderful experience
which I'll remember for years to come.
But I've learned such a lot about parts of teddy bears I'd never even considered!
To see these craftswomen at work has brought the whole thing to life for me. It's been wonderful!
Well, it really has been wonderful to take a trip down memory lane
and to discover more about the world of antique toys and games,
especially when the prices at auction
can be stuff that dreams area made of.
Don't set me off!
I hope you've enjoyed today's show.
Join me again soon for more inside information and surprising sales.
But until then, it's goodbye.