Boys Toys - Part 1 Flog It: Trade Secrets


Boys Toys - Part 1

Paul Martin and experts offer tips on antiques and collectibles. The Flog It! team delve into the world of erotic collectibles and see some stunning prices.


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Transcript


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Over the last 11 years on Flog It!,

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we've helped you sell thousands of antiques and collectables

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and over the years, we've seen a variety of astonishing things.

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Please tell me where you got it.

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-What do you think it's worth?

-200.

-I think more.

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-WOMAN CHEERS

-Go on!

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But as you know, it's not easy to put a value on all of them,

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but there are some things that are always guaranteed to find a market.

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Welcome to Flog It! Trade Secrets.

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Flog It! valuation days play host to all manner

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of pretty porcelain objects and dainty silverware.

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And of course, there's a ready-made market for all of this stuff.

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But there are a lot of you out there

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that want to get your hands on something a little bit more playful and fun.

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Coming up, we look at the risque and the downright rude,

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and why it sells so well.

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I think they should just be got rid of.

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-You're blushing!

-They just...

-You're blushing!

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So, very rare, and of course, now very collected.

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We discover it's not just the naked ladies that get our hearts racing.

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-You liked your men big?

-Oh, I still do, even as an old age pensioner!

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I'm still a bit that way!

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1,000. And 50. 1,100.

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It just went up and up and up.

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And a little hand-painted snuff box causes a huge stir.

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It wasn't till you opened it up that you got the shock of your life.

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-Goodness gracious me!

-It was awfully rude.

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Rodgers and Hammerstein put it very succinctly

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in their 1949 musical 'South Pacific'

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when they wrote "There's nothing like a dame".

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Now, one thing I've learned over the years on Flog It! is,

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a woman in a state of undress, in any antique form,

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generally sells, and sells well.

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Whether it's an Art Deco lamp base, an oil painting or a Parian-ware figure,

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the collectors go mad for scantily-clad women.

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But why is that? Here's our experts with their reasons.

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RAUNCHY MUSIC

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I enjoy the naked female form!

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Did that sound creepy?!

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I think if a nude is done tastefully, it has huge value.

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If it's poorly done,

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and I think the human form is more difficult to replicate

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probably than anything else...

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So quality, quality-based

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is the way forward if you're looking at nudes.

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As regard to risque things, don't get too risque.

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You find the market narrowing

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if you get a little bit over the top.

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Don't ever go and try and buy anything naked.

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Unless you're stunningly beautiful, the price won't come down.

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I think nudes proliferate in art

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and it's not uncommon to see a nude on, say, a bit of WMF pewter,

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and that will make it more valuable.

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If you move into erotica, which is more suggestive and of a sexual nature,

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that, ultimately, can limit the market for that object.

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It tends toward the seedier side of collecting.

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So unless you are that sort of person, I'd stay away from it.

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I've got a little collection of nudes and erotica myself, actually.

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So here are some of our very best finds

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and what you can learn from them.

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I see quite a few risque things in the auction business.

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But the difficulty with Flog It!

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is getting the directors to agree to put it on the show!

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These are wonderful. Are these things that have been in your family for a long time?

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Yes, it was my grandfather's. I think he must've sold postcards.

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It was perhaps his, erm, his sample.

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-Ahh!

-It was in the early 1900s.

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Very saucy, your grandfather!

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You've got lots of gaps. What happened to the gaps?

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Well, there were some that were a wee bit naughtier than others.

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There were some rather dodgy postcards amongst those!

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But I remember, the lady said she was looking through them

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and she said, "My children came down the stairs

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"so I took them away and threw them in the waste bin."

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But she went to retrieve them and the binmen had been!

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And there we have scenes of semi-dressed ladies,

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typical of the period.

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Every society is a rebellion of the society that went before it.

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So, you know, there are times in the court of William III,

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the women were topless in the court!

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They would walk around with their breasts out.

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Why? Because it was a rebellion against the Puritans that went before them.

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So when we're looking at an Edwardian 1920s period of these risque postcards,

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again, that's a rebellion against Queen Victoria, all trussed up in her black.

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These are known as fantasy heads.

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Each head is made up of bodies of naked girls.

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We've got here Napoleon.

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Another Napoleon there. Bismarck.

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Now, these cards... And a donkey. How odd!

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You couldn't imagine a less likely couple to own risque postcards.

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It could've been the Blackpool Tower and her face would've been no different.

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I looked at him and he was beginning to go a little bit pinker and pinker.

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I think they should just be got rid of.

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-You're blushing!

-They just...

-You're blushing!

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Well, that's my age!

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Because, of course, their generation was a rebellion against the period that they were looking at.

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It was their parents' generation that enjoyed the postcards. Very funny!

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But were those postcards not quite saucy enough

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for the risque-postcard collectors?

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It's a lovely saucy postcard. A wonderful collector's item.

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Start me at £100.

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100 bid. 110. 120.

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They're super. 130. 140. 150. 160.

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160. 170. 180...

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This is good. Great timing.

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..220. 230. 240. £240.

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All done at 240. 240?

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She sold them. 240.

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Just used a little bit of discretion there, I think!

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The naughtiest ones had been taken out

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because they didn't want the children to see them!

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In actual fact, the naughtiest ones

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are the ones of the biggest market value.

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The very rude ones are often the rarest.

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And if... And, also, the very rude ones are often -

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how do I put this? -

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action shots! Erm...

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Erm, I'll leave it at that!

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And, of course, when you get action shots -

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it's common as anything today online -

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but in the 1920s, 100 hundred years ago,

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my word - just seeing somebody's leg or ankle or knee -

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that was pretty much hardcore.

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When you went beyond that, my goodness,

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an action shot between two people was just unheard of.

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So very rare and, of course, now very collected.

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Back in 2005, Philip came across something fun

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which called for great discretion.

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-You've brought along this lovely little snuffbox.

-I have.

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It's about 1820. How did you come by it?

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I found it in a shed in the back yard.

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They're interesting little things. A lot of these are continental, possibly French or Russian.

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This one looks like it's got a Scottish scene on there.

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It's inscribed, which says

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"The cudgel in my nieve did shake

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"Each bristled hair stood like a stake".

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That's quite nice. Let's just turn over and have a look.

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It wasn't till you opened it up that you got the shock of your life. Goodness, gracious me!

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And I have to tell you, they are terrible things to try and film,

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because you've got to put your thumb in some discreet places

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so you don't offend viewers.

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I think I can show people at home,

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but I've got to strategically hold it like that.

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I couldn't possibly tell you what was under my thumb. It was awfully rude.

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-You can understand why it was in the shed.

-I can.

-Yes.

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It's a secret thing. It's almost like "What the butler saw".

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Because you look at this papier-mache snuffbox

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and the cover is some chap walking her across a moor with his trusty staff,

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and then you open it up and, lo and behold, his staff isn't what it seemed to be.

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I think that the history of these things,

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it's getting away from Victorian puritanical views. It's there to shock you.

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If we look at the top,

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that's all painted.

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And if you turn this one over, you can just see a cut mark there.

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I think this has been a cut-out,

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possibly of a print or something, and been placed in there.

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-I think we can put an estimate on it of £100-200.

-Goodness gracious!

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I think if the inside had been right,

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if this had all been original in here,

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-I think it would've made perhaps £200-400.

-Oh!

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There are serious collectors of erotica.

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Quite how they display it in their homes, I do not know!

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But were the erotica collectors at the auction?

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100. And ten?

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120?

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130. 140?

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150? 160.

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I think they're a talking point and I think they're the sort of thing that, you know,

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people still like to shock, don't they?

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People still like to, "Look at this. Isn't it lovely?" Bang! "You weren't expecting that."

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People who collect these things, there's still that shock factor involved.

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230. 240. 250. 260.

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270. 280.

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290. 300. And ten.

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320. 330.

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-No more.

-Amazing!

-320.

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320.

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Bang. £320!

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You better get back down the shed!

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And here's another trade secret...

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If you find a decorated box aimed at a gentleman,

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make sure you look inside.

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There could be some additional racy artwork,

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and with that, additional value.

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Some wonderful French Art Deco lampshades came in,

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which had been thrown out.

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John, I can really have no complaint today

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because you've brought me four scantily-clad ladies.

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I was working on a house, due for refurbishment,

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and they were in boxes that were going in the skip.

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I delved into it and found one, delved a bit further and found the four glass things,

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-looked a bit further and found these and I thought...

-"Those must go with those."

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I didn't, no. I brought them home and tried to fit them together

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-and...

-Bingo!

-Yes.

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Well, I think it's scandalous that, at any time,

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these were heading for a skip.

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It was immediately obvious that they were rare and valuable things,

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but they were also very good-looking things.

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So unless it was a very prudish household,

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I can't quite understand why they made it to the skip.

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They are signed here. "Muller Freres Luneville".

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Did you look that up or do any work on that?

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Well, when I got them, I took them to a local antiques dealer to find out what they were.

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He told me that "Muller Freres" was "Muller Brothers",

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-"Luneville" was "Light City"...

-Absolutely.

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..and that they were Art Nouveau, probably 1930s-ish.

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Near enough. I can fill it out a little bit more.

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You've got the fantastic glassworks, run by Emile Galle.

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And Muller Brothers,

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before they set up on their own, worked for Galle.

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They left him in about 1905

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and were working through the '20s and '30s,

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and I think they closed in 1937.

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The Muller Brothers, I think, began in the Galle workshop

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although, I would say with those lampshades,

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they were much more influenced by Rene Lalique

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and his style of moulded glass.

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We've got press-moulded glass

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which is given this contrast by this acid etching.

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We've got the acid-etched signatures on each one.

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How lovely that we've got the original mounts, as well.

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By the time these were produced, which I imagine is about 1925,

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Lalique is the most fashionable glassmaker in France

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and he's the one that they're imitating

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and possibly, in some respects, surpassing.

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But what did the skip-finds make at auction?

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What am I bid for this lot here, ladies and gentlemen?

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I'm going to start this at £200.

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-And 225. And £250.

-Well, we're in.

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At £275. I have 300 here.

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At £320. At £340 on commission.

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360 in the room. £360.

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At 360. Are there any further bids?

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-At £360...

-Come on, a bit more.

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..all done.

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-Gone. 360.

-Got him away.

-Well done, Michael.

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Naked ladies and antiques go well together.

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In art, on postcards, cigarette boxes and lampshades,

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the female form appears time and time again.

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Almost all of the things that you find,

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in terms of nude bronze sculptures, nude enamelwork or nude paintings,

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they're almost always copied.

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So I would say that if you're going to buy nudes, make sure it's not a fake.

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I would warn against reproductions or something that has been...

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..I was going to say touched up but that's the wrong phrase!

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When it comes to nudes or risque pieces for gentlemen, shall we say,

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the key word is,

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make sure it's a pretty, young lady that's nude or risque

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because - I'm going to make a generalisation here -

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but I would suggest that pretty, young ladies sell better

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than, shall we say, ladies of the older generation

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who may be, er, exposing themselves.

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The same is true of, you know, men.

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If you've got an ugly old codger in a powdered wig as a portrait,

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he's not gonna sell as well as, say, a strapping young man who's nude.

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Just look at the paintings of Henry Scott Tuke -

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there's a big market for naked young men, just as there is for naked young ladies.

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Thomas Plant fondly remembers one male figure he valued.

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I recall Eve

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and her muscular man, breaking his rods.

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50 years ago, I was newly married

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and I married a very young, handsome bodybuilder.

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My mother bought this because she thought it was the image of him.

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The marriage lasted two years, but this figure had been with her for 50.

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-You liked your men big?

-I still do, even as an old age pensioner!

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I'm still a bit that way!

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Beautifully sculpted in bronze.

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Quite big, as well, but his head was down.

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Most people like their bronzes up and you can see the whole body.

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Upright, head up, or, you know, them posing, doing something.

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I did suggest you lay him on his back!

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-Well, then you'd miss his buttocks!

-Oh, right!

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And that seems to have impressed all of you chaps.

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-All the ladies round here have been looking at his bum.

-OK!

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I'm going to be quite harsh on the value.

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I think £200-300.

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-Did George rise to the occasion?

-Went to auction, it was a long time ago,

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and she'd upped the estimate. I don't think that mattered at all.

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The bronze figure of the standing woodcutter,

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starting us here at £400. And 20. 460. 480.

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-Brilliant.

-500 already. 520. 540.

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560. 580?

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600. And 20.

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It just went up and up and up.

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840.

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860.

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880. 900.

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And 20. 940, sir?

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1,000. And 50. 1,100.

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And 50.

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1,200. And 50.

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-Wow! 1,250!

-It's amazing!

-1,300.

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And 50.

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-1,400 seated?

-No.

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At 1,350, then...

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-Oh!

-That was fabulous, wasn't it?

-Super!

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-That was a super surprise!

-I'm so pleased.

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And what was lovely was that Eve was going to see her family in Australia

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and she needed money for the ticket.

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This is the great thing about Flog It! -

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sometimes this money makes their journey slightly more comfortable in life,

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and I think Eve went club class at £1,350.

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Here's what we've learnt so far...

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Naughty sells well.

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Don't be a prude when it comes to selling your antiques.

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Things are not always what they seem.

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Look inside, there could be a surprise.

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Naked ladies and good maker's names are a winning combination.

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And there's a growing, affluent market for male nudes.

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Now could be the time to sell.

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Flog It! regular and everybody's favourite joker Charlie Ross

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is not only a celebrity auctioneer,

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jetting off to glamorous locations around the world, gavel in hand...

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14.9 million dollars! Sold! CHEERING

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Ladies and gentlemen, you witnessed a new world record for a motorcar at auction,

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right here, right now.

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..he's also one of our most enthusiastic valuers.

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Sometimes we get people who almost hit me when I tell them what things are worth!

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And the thing that really gets him going is furniture.

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That's what gets him up in the morning, that's where he started out.

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He can recognise his Chippendale from his Thomas Mouseman,

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but can he spot an antique of the future?

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It all started by chance, really. I joined a firm

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and the first auction I conducted was chickens - in a market!

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But the company I was working for had a saleroom in Buckingham,

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and I remember walking in there for the first time

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and seeing these wonderful pieces of brown furniture

0:18:430:18:45

and getting really quite excited by them!

0:18:450:18:48

Why do I like furniture,

0:18:480:18:50

as opposed to china or silver or glass?

0:18:500:18:55

They're objects that you tend to tuck into a cabinet.

0:18:550:18:58

With furniture, you use it. You sit in the chair, you eat at the dining table,

0:18:580:19:02

you get your drinks from the cabinet, the clock tells you the time.

0:19:020:19:06

And the more you use these things, the more patination they get from polishing them,

0:19:060:19:11

the more wear they get, the more quirky they get and possibly even they get damaged.

0:19:110:19:15

But actually, I quite like to see something with the leg slightly wonky

0:19:150:19:19

or the handle falling off.

0:19:190:19:21

It just means it's old and it's been loved and used.

0:19:210:19:25

This piece of furniture is my favourite piece of furniture in the whole world,

0:19:270:19:32

largely because it comes with history or possibly baggage even.

0:19:320:19:36

It was given to my parents as a wedding present by my Uncle Mack,

0:19:360:19:41

who was a wealthier member than most members of my family have been through the years!

0:19:410:19:46

He obviously went into an antique shop and bought this,

0:19:460:19:49

what we know as the drinks cupboard.

0:19:490:19:52

And I've loved it ever since I saw it as a child.

0:19:520:19:56

I was always led to believe that this was a valuable piece of furniture,

0:19:560:20:01

and this was the bit that will be handed down.

0:20:010:20:04

Sadly, the drinks cupboard flatters to deceive

0:20:040:20:07

and it is not the 17th-century chest on stand that it should've been.

0:20:070:20:13

In fact, the whole thing is a complete mish-mash.

0:20:130:20:16

I was talking to a friend about this and he said, "You know the doors aren't right, don't you?"

0:20:160:20:20

I thought, "How come they're not right?"

0:20:200:20:23

Well, he opened up the doors and he said, "They're far too thin."

0:20:230:20:27

And actually, with a piece of period furniture,

0:20:270:20:30

they would've been far more substantial.

0:20:300:20:33

And looking at the panels, there is no real sign of age,

0:20:330:20:37

and the real true thing here

0:20:370:20:39

are the dowels holding together the door.

0:20:390:20:43

They're mean and probably 1930s.

0:20:430:20:47

Now, most of the timber here is 17th century.

0:20:470:20:51

A lot of early pieces of oak fell to bits because they were on flagstone floors.

0:20:510:20:55

They got damp, they got woodworm and so the bases rotted away. People would save what they could.

0:20:550:21:01

Here, they've saved two drawers from a chest on stand.

0:21:010:21:06

But the drawer bottom is new,

0:21:060:21:09

the handles, although they are old handles, have come off something else.

0:21:090:21:14

The more you look at it, the worse it is, from a purist's point of view.

0:21:140:21:18

When you look at something in a saleroom, look at it properly.

0:21:180:21:21

If you don't know yourself, ask advice of somebody.

0:21:210:21:25

Close the door and have a look at the base...

0:21:250:21:29

It's in two parts,

0:21:290:21:32

which, of course, a real... GLASSES CLATTER

0:21:320:21:34

..chest on stand should be.

0:21:340:21:36

But if we look carefully at the stand,

0:21:360:21:39

it's actually Victorian.

0:21:390:21:41

It's just rather sad to think that this piece of furniture,

0:21:410:21:44

instead of being perhaps worth five to 8,000 pounds,

0:21:440:21:48

is probably worth 300 or 400.

0:21:480:21:51

That shouldn't really matter, erm, because I will never let it go

0:21:510:21:56

and it will always be the drinks cupboard.

0:21:560:21:58

It's still just as lovely for me as a piece of furniture.

0:21:580:22:02

We're only 14 or 15 miles from Oxford here

0:22:070:22:10

and there are a lot of really talented people

0:22:100:22:13

making very special new furniture in Oxford today.

0:22:130:22:16

I'm going to go and have a look at some of it.

0:22:160:22:19

Wow!

0:22:320:22:33

A cross between a Rubik's cube

0:22:330:22:37

and a 1950s Eagle Annual space rocket!

0:22:370:22:41

Isn't it wonderful? With an Art Deco influence,

0:22:410:22:44

you can see a 1920s look to what is, I suppose, a writing table.

0:22:440:22:50

I like that. Perhaps I'm not supposed to like things that aren't 18th and 19th century,

0:22:500:22:55

but I think that's a really stylish and obviously beautiful-made piece of furniture.

0:22:550:23:00

And I like the crisp lines.

0:23:000:23:03

You'd think it was Ercol, looking at it!

0:23:100:23:13

But there's a difference.

0:23:130:23:15

The quality of manufacture is absolutely wonderful.

0:23:150:23:19

And I imagine it's a dressing table or a wash stand, should I say?

0:23:190:23:24

And beautifully made. It reminds me of quite a lot of 1950s furniture

0:23:240:23:29

of similar sort of design, but the quality was horrible.

0:23:290:23:32

This is real craftsmanship. Beautifully constructed.

0:23:320:23:36

-Is this your handiwork?

-It is indeed, yes.

-Wonderful.

0:23:440:23:48

I'm probably being a bit ignorant, but is it a workstation?

0:23:480:23:52

Erm, kind of.

0:23:520:23:54

-Have you ever heard of the idea of hot-desking?

-Hot-desking? No.

0:23:540:23:58

Right, it's basically a desk that has multiple uses.

0:23:580:24:01

-Right.

-So you can stick it in an office,

0:24:010:24:04

-you can have someone that's just coming in for the day to work on it.

-Yes.

0:24:040:24:08

Or you can use it for break-times, meetings. That was the idea.

0:24:080:24:13

-It has a little compartment there. Would that be for a computer?

-A laptop, or even just a folder.

0:24:130:24:19

I'm showing my ignorance - looking at old pieces of furniture,

0:24:190:24:22

I spend my life looking at mahogany and oak.

0:24:220:24:25

I'm looking at some of these woods and wondering about what they are.

0:24:250:24:29

-What is that?

-That's ash veneer.

0:24:290:24:31

-It's ash. And it's veneered, is it?

-Yes. It's aeroply laminate.

0:24:310:24:35

It's the only way you can get that really tight curve.

0:24:350:24:38

This is eight or nine layers of aeroply

0:24:380:24:41

that's been glued together in a vacuum press.

0:24:410:24:43

-What have we got here?

-That's banana veneer.

0:24:430:24:47

-Banana veneer!

-Yes.

0:24:470:24:49

I absolutely love the colour and the effect it gives,

0:24:490:24:51

so I thought I had to use it in the piece.

0:24:510:24:53

How much do you lean on old designs or other people's designs,

0:24:530:24:58

and how much is entirely your own design?

0:24:580:25:01

-I get a lot of my inspiration from nature.

-Do you?

0:25:010:25:04

-So a lot of this is my own.

-Yes.

0:25:040:25:06

The original idea for this came from coastal barriers,

0:25:060:25:09

-and then you have a wave that just rolls along...

-Yes, yes.

0:25:090:25:12

-I could be on the seaside, couldn't I?

-Yes.

0:25:120:25:14

How the heck do you price it?

0:25:140:25:16

-It's very difficult, as a prototype.

-Yes!

-You kind of have to think realistically,

0:25:160:25:21

-"If I were to make it again, knowing how to make it now, how long would it take?"

-Yes.

0:25:210:25:26

You have to work out your hours, work out what you want to get paid.

0:25:260:25:29

-But then you end up with a hugely expensive piece of furniture.

-You do.

0:25:290:25:34

There's no reason why it shouldn't be.

0:25:340:25:36

You can buy the most horrendous things for quite a lot of money, not a work of art.

0:25:360:25:40

This one is,

0:25:400:25:42

I've worked it out to roughly be between 1,700 and 2,000.

0:25:420:25:47

Right. I'll go and get my cheque book!

0:25:470:25:50

I'm totally in admiration of your handiwork.

0:25:570:26:00

-I'd love to have a little go myself, if I may.

-Of course, yes.

0:26:000:26:04

We can get you making a very basic dovetail box.

0:26:040:26:07

Now, I can remember doing a dovetail at school.

0:26:070:26:10

-45 years ago was the last time I tried a dovetail.

-OK!

0:26:100:26:13

-I've forgotten everything.

-I can teach you the basics.

0:26:130:26:17

You've got to mark out the dovetail, the bit that's V-shaped.

0:26:170:26:20

And it's self-explanatory.

0:26:200:26:22

-It's called a dovetail because it looks like a dovetail.

-Because it's the same shape, yes.

0:26:220:26:26

-Just scribe across.

-Come down there? That's more or less all right.

0:26:260:26:30

-We've got two saws here.

-Yes.

-Any particular reason?

0:26:300:26:33

It's just personal preference, really.

0:26:330:26:36

Ooh!

0:26:390:26:41

Slightly out!

0:26:410:26:43

Mr Gillow is never going to employ me, is he?

0:26:430:26:47

-Oh!

-And there we go.

0:26:470:26:51

-That's the first bit done.

-Yes.

-The next thing is to make the housing for it.

0:26:530:26:58

Oh, my goodness me. So we need the other piece of wood.

0:26:580:27:01

Right... JOLLY MUSIC

0:27:010:27:03

The dovetail joint is particularly strong.

0:27:060:27:10

It's been used for hundreds of years in the simplest of furniture

0:27:100:27:14

and also the most complex.

0:27:140:27:17

Marvellous!

0:27:170:27:19

-Right.

-There we are. Now the moment of truth...

0:27:190:27:24

-There we go.

-And there's the other component.

0:27:240:27:28

Do we say The Lord's Prayer as we do this?!

0:27:290:27:33

What do I get out of ten for my first effort?

0:27:330:27:36

Let's have a look.

0:27:360:27:38

I'd say it's at least a good 7.5 out of ten, maybe eight.

0:27:390:27:42

-Is that a pass mark?

-Of course.

-Thank you very much for showing me!

0:27:420:27:46

-You're very welcome.

-Brilliant!

0:27:460:27:48

Some of these pieces made by the young makers

0:27:530:27:55

could be worth a good deal of money in the future.

0:27:550:27:57

Here's a tip - visit colleges which run craft courses.

0:27:570:28:01

You can pick up some unique pieces at the end-of-term shows

0:28:010:28:05

at very affordable prices.

0:28:050:28:08

Well, that's it for today's show. I hope you've been inspired.

0:28:080:28:12

And remember, never underestimate the frivolous,

0:28:120:28:14

the naughty and the childish.

0:28:140:28:17

If it makes you smile, it's a fair bet somebody else will want it.

0:28:170:28:21

See you next time for more trade secrets.

0:28:210:28:24

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