Learned from Flog It! Flog It: Trade Secrets


Learned from Flog It!

The Flog It! team explores what it means to be an auctioneer and there is a sneak peek behind the scenes to see how the programme is made.


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Transcript


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Now, when I first started on "Flog It!" I thought I knew

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a thing or two about antiques.

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But over the last 11 years, I've learned more than I ever knew.

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I've met thousands of you

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at our valuation days...

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..and I've seen objects that are constantly surprising

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and interesting - not to mention, valuable.

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-Are you all done?

-Yes! Ooh!

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This series is a celebration of everything I've learned.

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Welcome to Flog It! Trade Secrets.

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On today's show, we're giving you the inside track

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on what we've learned over the last 11 years on Flog It!

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If you're starting a collection,

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want to make a few pounds by buying or selling,

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or if you just love antiques, there's something here for you.

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Coming up - our experts know all there is to know about auctions.

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So get some insider tips on how to buy well.

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Tip number one, examine the object closely.

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Don't buy something across the room that you haven't seen.

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Because you can guarantee, if you think it's going cheaply,

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it's because there's something wrong with it.

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And get their advice on what to do

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if you've got things at home you want to sell.

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If you don't put good things in an internet sale,

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I think you cut your marketplace

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just so much.

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And find out how the "Flog It!" favourite Troika

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is faring in today's market.

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Well, there were three of us.

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My father was Russian, "Troika" means three.

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-It's a carriage drawn by three horses.

-And there you have it.

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And there you have it.

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Most of our experts cut their teeth working in the saleroom,

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either as an auctioneer or a valuer,

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and that's how they know how much your antique is worth.

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But even they cannot predict how a bidder

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is going to behave in the auction room. Anything can happen.

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So listen carefully, if you want to learn some tricks of the trade.

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Most small towns have an auction house

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and it's easy to check on the internet or by phone

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when they have sales and whether they specialise.

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You don't even have to bid in person

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and there's no substitute for getting to know your local saleroom.

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Six, seven, eight, nine.

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-Any advance now, at 520?

-Last call, then.

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22, five, I'm out.

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If you're selling, the auctioneer is acting on your behalf,

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so if he pushes up the price, you'll get more money.

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-So, how do they do it?

-I'm selling, then.

-Shine!

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All auctioneers have different styles.

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And some might say that mine is a little theatrical.

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And who am I to dispute that?

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520, fresh bidder. 520. 550.

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-580.

-Anita's weaving her magic.

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-She's very, very good at it.

-620.

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-720.

-He's hidden at the back of the room.

-750.

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-Doesn't get any better than that.

-£1,100.

-1,100. Yes!

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A good auctioneer, I think, has to be larger than life,

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because you have to

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contain the room, control the room, entertain the room,

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but also, be very professional.

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One more? 1,350. At 1,350, 40. No.

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You've got them. Always pays to have another go.

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You have to have a certain

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presence, I would say, similar to an actor on stage.

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If you've got no stage presence,

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then who are the audience going to focus on?

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Thank you for your help. At 550, original bidder, then. At £550.

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You've got to be confident.

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You have to control the room.

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It's like conducting an orchestra.

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And you are the centre point to it

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and everything comes from your gavel, from your rostrum, from you.

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920, I have. 920, I sell. 920.

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Yes! That was short and sweet.

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It is a piece of theatre.

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I like to think of the auction as a piece of theatre,

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with the bidders as part of the cast.

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You can read their body language. And quite often, I will know

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if a bidder is about to bid

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or whether they're at the end of their bids.

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At 190. At 190, seated.

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Still in, sir? For the sake of another tenner?

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Don't lose it for 190. I've got 195, on the book, against you, sir.

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Going 200?

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You can encourage that extra bit out of them,

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if you think there's one or two left still in the tank to come out.

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A lot of it is knowing and reading

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and understanding their body language.

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Any advance on £200? Nothing online. It's with you, sir, at 200, seated.

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210, to the left. At 210, now.

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210's the bid. In the room, standing, at 210.

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You sure? You finished? At 210, I'm taking.

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All done? Yours, at 210.

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-Oh, that was close!

-Who said being an auctioneer was easy?

-Knife edge!

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The more your lot is sold for, the better.

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And it'll help you to pay the other saleroom costs, too.

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So choose your auctioneer with care.

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-They need skill and plenty of energy.

-Are you all done?

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To be a good auctioneer, you have to enjoy doing what you're doing.

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Because if you're having a difficult day or a bad day, it soon shows.

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And you've got to enjoy even the toughest of situations,

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in order to do a good job.

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At 170, now. In the room, at 170. Where's 80?

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At 170. Am I missing anybody, at 170?

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I always remember watching the auctioneer at Tattersalls.

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And he would be very loud and brash

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and throwing his arms left, right.

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And then as the bidding slowed,

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he would almost come down to a whisper

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and he would lean onto the rostrum

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and he would be engaging one-on-one with the bidder

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and just eking out that extra bid.

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And I think that stayed with me.

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I'll never forget my first-ever auction, how nervous I was.

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I thought, "I never want to do it again."

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But actually, it's addictive and you get the bug

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and you just want to get back up on that rostrum.

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Adam is brilliant at it.

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Every auctioneer has their own style, their own manner, own pace.

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Some are better than others.

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I think that the main qualities,

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of course, are humour and speed.

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It can be very tiring.

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I can do eight or nine hours on the trot, auctioneering.

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So my secret ingredient would be bananas.

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Now we know how they squeeze money out of the bidders.

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So remember, do not get carried away, if you're buying.

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Here are some more trade secrets, if they're selling items for you.

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Check the conditions of sale when you are selling at auction.

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A lot of auction houses have a minimum commission price.

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So, therefore, you might think, "Ah, the commission rate is 15%,

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"I'm selling something for £10, I'll get £8.50."

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No, you won't, necessarily.

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There might be a minimum charge of £5 or £10,

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plus VAT, plus a lotting charge. Read the small print.

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Accept what the auctioneer says.

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Quite often, I'm afraid, we find people coming into us and saying,

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"I've done some research," and they've spent five minutes online.

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I've spent 30, 40 years doing this.

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So, without wishing to sound big-headed,

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do listen to what the auctioneer has to say.

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Agree a reserve and off you go. And everything will be fine.

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My best tip for selling at auction is, be relaxed.

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These are objects.

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They won't love you back. Don't get concerned about them.

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If you're putting them into auction, let them go.

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Our "Flog It!" experts are all great friends,

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but there's no denying the sense of competition

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when they get together at a valuation day.

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Rivalry? Between who?

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Yeah, there's quite a lot of rivalry.

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And when we take one auctioneer to a colleague's saleroom,

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they'd better keep their wits about them.

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Adam!

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Adam and the Moorcroft vases.

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Huh! He's so naughty.

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Alison, Laura, at last.

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We're here in Stoke, the home of Moorcroft pottery.

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Do you know what pattern they are?

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-Haven't got a clue about any of it, have we?

-No!

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No? Not at all?

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They're carnation pattern, one of the most saleable designs.

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-How about 150, 250?

-Yeah.

-Yeah. Definitely!

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They're not worth that. BOTH: Oh. OK.

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-They're worth 300-500.

-You are kidding?

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-No.

-Really?

-They should certainly make that.

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They are really desirable things.

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I was just being mischievous. I don't know why.

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It's not in my nature, really.

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But these vases had come in

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and my friend James Lewis had valued them for £300-£500.

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And Adam had a conversation with Paul at the auctioneer chat

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and said, "He's clearly missed the damage.

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"They're not going to sell. I don't think they'll make 400."

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-He must have noticed the damage.

-Surely.

-Must have. Look at it.

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There's a chunk out of it

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and it's obviously been repaired all around there,

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which is a great shame, because they're beautiful vases.

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The pattern is actually the brown chrysanthemum

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-or new cornflower pattern.

-So he got the pattern wrong?

-Yeah.

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Probably as well as the estimate.

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I think we still may have a chance of selling them,

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-but I don't think they'll fly away, because of that damage.

-No.

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Now, we had loads of interest on these.

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And I already knew they were going to make at least £1,100,

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because of the bids that we had in advance.

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So I thought we'd have a bit of fun and I'd wind him up.

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So when I read the description out, I think I said,

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"Oh, they're in a terrible condition.

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"One looks like it's been under the hammer already."

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The Moorcroft vases.

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-One, of course, it's completely smashed to pieces.

-Not quite.

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One seriously damaged.

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-How rude!

-The other one has normal ageing.

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That doesn't help it, does it?

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One has a massive chunk out of it and it's been re-glued,

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so you have been warned on these.

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And the look on their faces!

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"What's he saying? He's not doing a very good job!"

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That means I'll start at £1,200.

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50, now? At £1,200.

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At 1,200.

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At 1,200. 50, anywhere?

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And then, suddenly, he came straight in at £1,200.

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"Taxi for Lewis!"

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I thought, "Oh, here we go!" And he was off on one.

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1,250, 1,300, 1,350, 1,400, 1,450.

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Taxi for Lewis! At 1,500. Anyone else?

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At £1,500. We all done?

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Brilliant! Well done!

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-That is great!

-Fantastic!

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The successful bidder was determined

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to have those Moorcroft vases, whatever the price.

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Not the nicest, kindest thing to have done to poor James,

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but it was a bit of fun

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and it was meant in good fun, rather than in malice...honest.

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But even for a novice, auctions can be a great place to buy.

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Look in the press or online for local sales

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and you, too, can learn how to become a bidder,

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without making expensive mistakes,

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if you follow our experts' advice.

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When you go to an auction, go to the viewing before the sale

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just to have a look at what might interest you.

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I would say, get hands on with the piece that you're interested in.

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Pick it up, turn it upside down, get a drawer out,

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ask questions of the people that work there - the porters, the auctioneer.

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It's not like a museum.

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These pieces are there to be held, looked at.

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Make sure that you are happy with what you're buying.

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And if you're not, wait for the next sale.

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There'll always be another piece.

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Buy the best you can afford.

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So if you've got £100, buy one nice object for £100,

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rather than ten indifferent objects for £10 each.

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Put a ceiling on what you're going to bid.

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Unless, of course, you can't live without it.

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If you want to collect, you're likely to get rarer items

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at a specialist sale or in an antique's home region.

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But remember, there'll be more competition in the saleroom,

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so don't get carried away.

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We had a very interesting collection of Mauchline ware

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in from one of our "Flog It!" programmes.

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Now, this was a terrific collection.

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It is the best collection of Mauchline ware I've ever seen.

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Does your family have a connection with the Mauchline factory?

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Yes. My father worked there.

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I chose that collection, because we were in Scotland

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and, somehow, it is quintessentially Scottish.

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Particularly the tartan ware.

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And I suppose I knew that Anita would like it, too.

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Mauchline covers a wide range of items.

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They were made as little souvenir items,

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but the earliest ones are much sought after and very valuable.

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Seek out an auctioneer with local knowledge

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and you'll be ahead of the game.

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The Mauchline factory was established in the early 19th century

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and in the early days,

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they hand painted the tartan decoration onto the boxes.

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But at a later date,

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a method was invented, whereby the tartan pattern

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was transfer printed onto a piece of paper

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and the paper itself was glued to the wood.

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Which, in every instance, I think, is sycamore.

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In 1933, production ceased.

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But I was only three at the time.

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I wanted to split these up, to maximise the price.

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I think if you'd have put it all in one lot, people would have felt,

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"Well, although I really rather like that little box,

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"there's going to be someone who wants the tulip vases

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"and I won't be able to afford the box, therefore, I won't bid at all."

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So if you just spread it about a bit,

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I think you give more people an opportunity to bid for it.

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I tried to make interesting and enticing groups of each of them.

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-And what we have here are two of the best lots.

-I think so.

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I mean, these wonderful tulip vases don't come up all that often.

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I was just about say that.

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I've not seen any like this before.

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What sort of value have you put on the tulip vases?

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We've put 400-600.

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That's the bulk, really, of the estimate.

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So I separated out the very expensive items,

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so that the serious collectors

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could have a blast at them,

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without having to bother about items

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which they probably would have in their collection, anyway.

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-Here we go.

-50, 60, 70 with me.

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Yes! Yes, good!

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I knew that these were going to sell.

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And I knew that they were going to sell very well.

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-110.

-Yes. £110.

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-Good start.

-That's a very good start. We're on top.

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-290.

-This is such good news.

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-And now, here's the third lot.

-210.

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-We're well above our target.

-We are.

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210.

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-Brilliant! £210.

-150.

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Phone bid. £150. And now, my favourite lot.

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-360.

-Getting hot.

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-Next lot, the three tulip vases.

-Estimated 400-600.

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1,100.

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And this is the last lot. A pair of tartan vases.

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Any advance on 520?

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Yes! That's it. It's all over.

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That is the last lot gone and we're just short.

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50 quid short of £3,000.

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How do you feel about that, David?

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I'm speechless.

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Whether you're buying or selling,

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it always pays to talk things through with the auctioneer.

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They'll do their best to give you a realistic estimate.

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Of course, the price of any treasured possession is only half the story.

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Objects are precious for many different reasons.

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We've all got something at home, that one special item

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that we're particularly attached to.

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But I want to know, what's the one thing

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our experts would rescue from a burning building?

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What would I save in the event of a fire?

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It's a very difficult question.

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Because I've got so much clutter -

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sorry, fine antiques - in my home.

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But one of the things, certainly,

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I'd have to grab is this charming little Lalique circular plaque.

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It's very simply done, quite Art Deco, which you would expect,

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of the Madonna, in a very simple iron cross frame.

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I bought this several years ago from a local auction

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for very little money, but I had a feeling about it.

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And Lalique is a funny designer. He produced these roundels

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slightly larger and they're illustrated in reference books,

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but this one isn't illustrated,

0:16:280:16:31

and I did a lot of searching on t'internet and found

0:16:310:16:35

a Belgian dealer who had two of these,

0:16:350:16:38

one as a paperweight and one as a pendant,

0:16:380:16:41

and he says they're the only two known in the world.

0:16:410:16:45

So I explored this over the internet with him,

0:16:450:16:48

and he mentioned he'd shown it to the writers of the Lalique book

0:16:480:16:51

and he explained to me that Lalique often produced experimental pieces,

0:16:510:16:56

but never put them into mass production,

0:16:560:16:59

and would given to friends.

0:16:590:17:00

So I had to then write to him and say,

0:17:000:17:02

"Well, actually, there are three, because I've got one, as well."

0:17:020:17:06

And I'm rather proud of discovering that in a box of bric-a-brac.

0:17:060:17:10

So I'd have to save it, really, wouldn't I?

0:17:110:17:13

It's been said before that buying a job lot

0:17:140:17:17

at your local auction house could reveal a hidden gem,

0:17:170:17:20

so don't be afraid to delve into boxes, and who knows?

0:17:200:17:23

You could even find some Lalique.

0:17:230:17:26

Each week, hundreds of you bring your antiques and collectables

0:17:310:17:34

to one of our filming venues. But for the millions of you

0:17:340:17:37

who could not make it to a "Flog It!" valuation day,

0:17:370:17:39

here's a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

0:17:390:17:42

Back in December, we took our team to Oxford.

0:17:450:17:48

It's early morning, and our runners, researchers

0:17:480:17:51

and other team members are already at the venue.

0:17:510:17:53

I'm Alex. I'm the location manager, and here we are in the Oxford Union.

0:17:540:17:59

Stupid o'clock in the morning,

0:17:590:18:01

setting up for today's "Flog It!" valuation day.

0:18:010:18:04

Before the doors open to the general public,

0:18:060:18:09

there's lots of setting up to do.

0:18:090:18:10

There's a strict system for queuing so that everyone is seen in turn.

0:18:100:18:15

The team is briefed,

0:18:150:18:16

and the crew start lighting the main hall ready for filming.

0:18:160:18:19

Just like to say, I haven't had a cup of tea yet, either.

0:18:190:18:22

When the hall is full of people,

0:18:230:18:25

around 20 stewards will help to keep them in line.

0:18:250:18:27

They're often students, keen to get an insight into the TV industry.

0:18:270:18:32

Some of our stewards started out at 20... What time did you say?

0:18:320:18:35

-20 to three.

-20 to three this morning, from the North West.

0:18:350:18:38

They've driven all the way. Through the night. That's dedication.

0:18:380:18:42

And they're not the only ones who had an early start.

0:18:420:18:45

People have actually turned up already.

0:18:450:18:47

It's 7:30 on a Saturday morning,

0:18:470:18:49

and we've already got two ladies waiting

0:18:490:18:51

for the valuation day, which doesn't start for another hour.

0:18:510:18:54

Didn't realise we'd be first in the queue.

0:18:540:18:58

Oh, and I've got a hot water bottle.

0:18:580:19:00

THEY LAUGH

0:19:000:19:02

-Which we'll need today.

-Which we'll need today. Look.

0:19:020:19:06

A very old hot water bottle.

0:19:080:19:10

The experts arrive. Some of them are never seen on camera.

0:19:140:19:17

They are the off-screen valuers, and the backbone of the day.

0:19:170:19:20

Seen on screen from Oxford will be Mark Stacey, Will Axon,

0:19:210:19:25

-and Christina Trevelyan.

-Well, today I've been given red stickers.

0:19:250:19:30

Usually I'm blue or green, but today I'm red, which is interesting.

0:19:300:19:34

It goes with my dress.

0:19:340:19:35

And what we do is, we go and sticker people

0:19:350:19:38

so that our researchers recognise that they've got some pieces

0:19:380:19:41

that we might be interested in filming.

0:19:410:19:43

And while they rummage in the queue, I'm on my way to the venue.

0:19:430:19:48

My day starts in the car on the way to the gig, really,

0:19:480:19:51

learning my script. I've got a handful of scripts here.

0:19:510:19:53

There's about 60 pieces to camera,

0:19:530:19:55

because we make five shows at every valuation day

0:19:550:19:58

and then split them up throughout the year.

0:19:580:20:00

I learned the first three or four pieces to camera, so I feel

0:20:000:20:03

confident when I get out of the car and I meet the general public.

0:20:030:20:06

It's a meet and greet.

0:20:060:20:07

Without the general public, we would not have a show,

0:20:070:20:09

so God bless them, because they're so patient and they get up

0:20:090:20:12

in all weathers to stand in a queue to meet our experts.

0:20:120:20:16

Stand-by. Hello, how are you?

0:20:180:20:19

Our experts are on their starting blocks,

0:20:190:20:22

keen to see what antiques they can uncover.

0:20:220:20:24

Get ready. This is "Flog It!"

0:20:240:20:26

And cut. Lovely.

0:20:260:20:28

While the queue gets longer,

0:20:290:20:31

I've got time to do more filming outside.

0:20:310:20:33

Let's have a rehearsal. Three, two, one.

0:20:330:20:36

SOME PEOPLE: What's it worth?

0:20:360:20:38

OK, about five people took part there!

0:20:380:20:41

OK, and cue Paul.

0:20:410:20:43

And they're all here to ask our experts

0:20:430:20:45

that all-important question, which is...

0:20:450:20:47

CROWD: What's it worth?

0:20:470:20:49

And what are you going to do, if you're happy with the valuation?

0:20:490:20:52

CROWD: Flog it!

0:20:520:20:53

Cut. Lovely. Very, very nice.

0:20:530:20:56

APPLAUSE

0:20:560:20:58

Good job, people, good job!

0:20:580:20:59

Anyone with a yellow, green or red sticker,

0:20:590:21:03

please take three steps this way.

0:21:030:21:06

It's time to open the doors to our patient visitors.

0:21:060:21:10

And we're off.

0:21:100:21:11

And the off-screen experts get busy doing initial research

0:21:110:21:14

and valuing items.

0:21:140:21:16

Meanwhile, Mark, Christina and Will film their favourite finds -

0:21:160:21:20

around ten each, of the hundreds that will be valued today.

0:21:200:21:23

The plan is that we film four items - sorry! -

0:21:230:21:26

we film four items on each

0:21:260:21:28

of those tables before lunch.

0:21:280:21:31

You've got a ring worth...

0:21:320:21:33

I now hand the proceedings over to Rebecca.

0:21:370:21:39

Thank you so much, everybody.

0:21:390:21:41

THEY SING "Mas Que Nada"

0:21:410:21:44

When we stop for a bite to eat,

0:21:470:21:49

a group of local singers come in to entertain the crowds.

0:21:490:21:52

One of my favourite parts of the day.

0:21:520:21:54

APPLAUSE

0:22:150:22:17

Well done. Thank you so much.

0:22:170:22:18

People are still bringing in their items,

0:22:240:22:27

and are we finding anything exciting?

0:22:270:22:29

Well, of course, we are.

0:22:290:22:30

By the end of the day, we'll have filmed more than 30 items,

0:22:300:22:33

which are being wrapped up, ready to go off to the saleroom.

0:22:330:22:37

As you can see, it's starting to thin out here

0:22:370:22:39

at our valuation day venue, but, good news.

0:22:390:22:42

You know, we've got our quota. We've had some wonderful items.

0:22:420:22:45

Oxford's done us proud.

0:22:450:22:47

And hopefully, you've seen behind the scenes today,

0:22:470:22:49

you've seen how this all knits together.

0:22:490:22:51

Everybody knows what they're doing, it's a big production team.

0:22:510:22:54

We've been doing this now for 11 years. We're in our 12th year,

0:22:540:22:57

and I've just seen the quality out there.

0:22:570:23:00

It just gets better and better and better.

0:23:000:23:02

It's still out there, and we're going to find it.

0:23:020:23:04

There are some wonderful works of art out there -

0:23:120:23:15

great names and superb antiques, and we want to give you

0:23:150:23:18

some more information on what makes them special.

0:23:180:23:21

Another English ceramic that's made a name for itself

0:23:220:23:25

over the years, and one that has turned up

0:23:250:23:27

at countless "Flog It!" valuation days all over the country, is Troika.

0:23:270:23:32

-Firstly, because of where you got it from.

-Well, a car boot sale, yeah.

0:23:320:23:35

Not a bad little earner, there. I came across it.

0:23:350:23:38

And did you recognise it as a piece of Troika that was worth...?

0:23:380:23:41

No, I didn't. I basically just liked the look of it.

0:23:410:23:43

-The bits and bobs on it, and...

-Do you still like it?

0:23:430:23:45

I don't know, I've gone off it a bit now. It's...

0:23:450:23:47

-I've never heard of it.

-You've never heard of it?

0:23:470:23:50

I looked at it and thought,

0:23:500:23:51

"Somebody's written that on in marker pen."

0:23:510:23:54

-It does look like that, doesn't it?

-Yeah.

-Look at that.

0:23:540:23:56

Looks written in marker pen.

0:23:560:23:57

Did you acquire this from a car boot sale?

0:23:570:24:00

We bought it from a shop in Tintagel, in Cornwall.

0:24:000:24:03

How wonderful. So what was the appeal?

0:24:030:24:05

Just the look of it and the feel of it and the Aztec part of it.

0:24:050:24:10

I've just always liked it.

0:24:100:24:13

My parents had been to Cornwall on holiday.

0:24:130:24:16

My mum, she said to me, "One day, these will be valuable."

0:24:160:24:18

I said, "Absolutely not a chance.

0:24:180:24:21

"They are revolting, they are horrible

0:24:210:24:23

"and they have nothing about them, at all."

0:24:230:24:25

-I know.

-So what are your feelings?

-The same.

0:24:250:24:28

-Are they? You don't like them either?

-No. I don't.

0:24:280:24:30

Well, we were holidaying in St Ives

0:24:300:24:32

and we went in and was looking around, and I saw this piece.

0:24:320:24:37

So when she said, "Got enough money for petrol,

0:24:370:24:40

"but not to have any food,"

0:24:400:24:42

so I said, "Well, we'll have to go hungry all the way."

0:24:420:24:46

Very impressive-looking piece, isn't it?

0:24:460:24:48

-Now, can you remember what you paid for it in the 1970s?

-Probably £16.

0:24:480:24:52

You've brought along this lovely Troika vase.

0:24:520:24:55

-I can see there's no love with you and the Troika vase.

-There is not.

0:24:550:25:00

No love, at all. What were you going to do with it?

0:25:000:25:03

-Put it in the bin!

-Put it in the bin?

0:25:030:25:06

Love it or hate it, it's dear to my heart

0:25:060:25:08

because it comes from my beloved Cornwall, and I can't help

0:25:080:25:11

but admire the distinctive look of this highly-collectable pottery.

0:25:110:25:15

The Cornish coast and the landscape has inspired many famous names,

0:25:150:25:20

including Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.

0:25:200:25:22

It was the natural place for the three artists with a vision

0:25:220:25:26

to set up their art pottery business in the 1960s.

0:25:260:25:29

The Troika factory was established in 1963, and they created,

0:25:300:25:34

very often, these flat-sided, slab-sided pieces, normally vases,

0:25:340:25:39

and they were destined to imitate either granite or concrete.

0:25:390:25:43

It was very much a modern look.

0:25:430:25:45

Hans Coper and Ben Nicholson were great influences on their design

0:25:450:25:49

and their artwork, so two big names who they looked to for inspiration.

0:25:490:25:53

Yeah. Sounds familiar.

0:25:530:25:55

The pottery moved to Newlyn in about 1970

0:25:550:25:59

and then it closed in 1983, so actually, it was only 20 years old.

0:25:590:26:03

So they produced a lot in, when we look back at it,

0:26:030:26:06

a relatively short space of time.

0:26:060:26:08

I met up with the main designer, Ben Serota, a few years ago.

0:26:090:26:13

-It's a real pleasure.

-Nice to meet you.

0:26:140:26:16

-It's a real pleasure.

-How did Troika all start?

0:26:160:26:19

It all started in The Sloop pub in St Ives, Cornwall.

0:26:190:26:24

Just over a pint?

0:26:240:26:26

Over a pint with this guy I'd just met, who was painting down there,

0:26:260:26:30

Leslie Illsley, and we started talking

0:26:300:26:33

about what we liked, modern art...

0:26:330:26:35

-Swapping ideas, basically?

-Swapping ideas.

0:26:350:26:38

The ceramics down there, which was Bernard Leach

0:26:380:26:41

and there didn't seem to be anything different.

0:26:410:26:43

And the name Troika, where did that come from?

0:26:430:26:46

Well, there were three of us.

0:26:460:26:47

My father was Russian, "troika" means three,

0:26:470:26:50

-it's a sort of carriage drawn by three horses.

-And there you have it.

0:26:500:26:53

-And there you have it.

-History was being made.

0:26:530:26:55

So why did you gravitate to Cornwall?

0:26:550:26:58

Was it like all artists, you go west, it's the landscape,

0:26:580:27:00

is the terrain, the light...

0:27:000:27:02

The whole... The cliffs, the roughness of the place.

0:27:020:27:05

Yeah, you can see it in the pots.

0:27:050:27:06

-The gorse, the granite, the texture, it's all there.

-It is, isn't it?

0:27:060:27:10

-It is.

-That is North Cornwall.

-Absolutely, absolutely.

0:27:100:27:13

-Barren wilderness.

-Absolutely.

0:27:130:27:15

In 2003 and 2004, Troika hit a new peak of popularity,

0:27:170:27:21

and it seems collectors couldn't get enough of it.

0:27:210:27:24

Prices soared.

0:27:240:27:26

300, I see. 310 anywhere? Selling at 300.

0:27:260:27:29

310 or no? All done. 300.

0:27:290:27:31

Lot 247, £300.

0:27:310:27:34

All done on these three pieces, at 300.

0:27:340:27:36

Yes!

0:27:360:27:38

580, on the phone. Are you all done?

0:27:380:27:39

-580, then?

-Marvellous result.

0:27:390:27:42

-Brilliant.

-Top end and a little bit more.

0:27:420:27:44

90. All in, at £90, then.

0:27:440:27:46

We've finished, at £90.

0:27:460:27:48

-800.

-Bang.

0:27:480:27:50

Hammer's gone down. Short and sweet.

0:27:500:27:52

Done?

0:27:520:27:53

£920.

0:27:530:27:55

£920.

0:27:550:27:57

1,750.

0:27:570:27:59

Are you all done?

0:27:590:28:01

Yes!

0:28:010:28:02

THEY LAUGH

0:28:020:28:04

It just goes to show, you never know what your holiday

0:28:050:28:08

souvenirs could be worth in the future.

0:28:080:28:11

And although Troika isn't fetching the same high prices today,

0:28:110:28:14

it does mean you can now buy good examples at reasonable prices,

0:28:140:28:18

and who knows when they might come back into favour?

0:28:180:28:21

Well, that's it for today's show,

0:28:220:28:24

and I hope we've been able to equip you with the know-how

0:28:240:28:27

for some successful buying and selling.

0:28:270:28:30

Go on, give it a go. And, hopefully, it's inspired you

0:28:300:28:33

to come along to "Flog It!" if it's in your area.

0:28:330:28:35

Come and take part in the show and see how we put it together.

0:28:350:28:38

But until then, for now, it's goodbye.

0:28:380:28:41

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0:29:050:29:08

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