The Flog It! team take a look at items people have found and brought along to valuation days. There are also tips on what to do if you do come across something of value.
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Welcome to Flog It! Trade Secrets.
In this series, we share with you information honed over 11 years
of valuing your antiques and collectables.
-I reckon three to 500.
-I reckon it'll do really well.
With nearly 1,000 shows under our belt,
that's a great deal of knowledge to share.
I'm always saying that collecting antiques is the ultimate recycling.
They are, by definition, second-hand, third-hand and fourth-hand
and many are past their best.
Then they end up getting thrown away.
So today's show is all about those items and the lucky people who have found them
and brought them to one of our valuation days to discover their true worth.
On today's show, we've got some amazing stories
of the crazy money to be made out of the things you've found.
Bond Street, here you go!
Our experts tell us when to let go
and when to hang on to things we find.
Throwing away a George III chair on a tip?!
What are people like?
And Anita shows us feminine charm can go a long way.
Occasionally, I have a wee flirt with the guys!
So keep watching to learn whether you have a valuable find.
So what are our experts' tips on buying things that other people may have overlooked?
Occasionally, you just have a feeling.
You open a box
or sometimes you go into a room,
and you just have a feeling that there's something somewhere.
You may see something about it,
the quality, the style, the shape.
I think if you get that tingle
and you pick an object up,
and the hairs on the back of your neck go up.
And you get excited.
I think that's when you know you've got something good.
You come along to our valuation days
with items that have made their way into your possession
by all manner of means.
You may have picked things up in an auction room, antiques shop, charity shop.
You've been given things or you've inherited things.
But it never ceases to amaze me
how many of you bring in things that you've found!
Here are some of the surprise pieces our experts have come across over the years,
including an item found in the most unlikely of places,
to Adam Partridge's astonishment.
"One man's rubbish is another man's treasure", still very much the case.
People are more informed nowadays because of programmes like Flog It,
but it's still possible to find things that have been discarded by some
and are hugely sought-after by others.
This is a wonderful oil painting you've brought in today, Ian.
Really very nice. Can you tell me where you found it?
I found it out dog-walking,
in the midst of a dump in an old wooden chest.
He found a trunk in a rubbish dump in Cornwall, I seem to remember.
I remember it being Cornwall, because Paul got excited, being a Cornishman.
And the chest, what's happened to that?
I renovated it and sold it.
-What did you get for it?
-About 90 quid, I think it was.
Who would discard a trunk full of stuff at a rubbish dump?
I just don't understand that.
-This is as you found it? No frame or anything?
-Exactly. No frame.
-It's not been cleaned or anything.
-That's a good thing.
-We don't like things being overly cleaned.
-It can ruin them.
The potential buyer of this would prefer the fact it's in relatively original condition
than the fact someone's had a go at stripping it off and cleaning it.
It's lovely. There's plenty going on here.
A good use of light. A boat here
and some figures on the beach.
-What looks like a shipwreck there, isn't there.
Perhaps some fishermen here. There's plenty going on.
-It's very nicely executed.
It looks to me like a Hulk, H-U-L-K.
-He's quite a well-known artist of this type of thing.
Abraham Hulk. A Dutch artist.
There was a Hulk Senior and a Hulk Junior.
I think this is the Senior one
because this looks like a mid-19th-century oil on panel,
on a board.
-1813 to 1897 was the dates of Abraham Hulk.
-They can sell quite well.
-I would suggest an estimate of three to 500.
Which is a conservative guide.
If it is by Hulk, it should make 500-plus.
-Maybe five to 800.
-Not bad for something off the dump, then?
I take my dogs out quite often, but I've never found anything!
So, did the buyers believe this was an "incredible Hulk"?
Lot 180. A 19th-century oil on panel
depicting a sailing vessel.
Start me at 500. 550. 600.
-This is brilliant.
900? 850. Selling at 850, now.
-How about that? Are you happy?
-Very much so!
It was a good price at 850.
Part of the reason it sold so well, I'm convinced,
is because it was completely unseen before.
It was without a frame, it needed a clean.
All these things. Don't get your stuff cleaned and tarted up for sale.
Leave them in their original condition.
So the buyers say, "It's never been in a gallery, or at an antique fair.
"It's never been seen by anyone and it's fresh goods to the market."
Great advice, Adam.
If you come across an unwanted painting that's signed,
you've got a great clue that's worth exploring.
Do some research, and you might find you've found something for nothing.
Now, would you walk down the street
and expect to find more than a lost coin?
Well, as Mark Stacey discovered a few years ago, some people ARE that lucky.
My father was walking down Bond Street in London
about 30 years ago,
and found it on the floor, on the pavement.
He took it to the police station, and after a period of time,
they let him have it.
-So nobody came forward to claim it?
-And therefore it rightly went back to him as the person who found it.
-Have you ever done any research on it?
-None at all.
-Done anything with it?
No, just put it in the safe and it's just stayed there.
It's quite a nice little item.
It's a regimental brooch.
We haven't, with our limited time here, been able to find out which regiment it is at the moment.
But it has got a Latin inscription on it.
It's obviously got the harp for Ireland.
And what looks like the English crown above.
So maybe we've got a link there with a Northern Irish regiment,
rather than a southern Irish regiment.
The military have played a great part in British history
and I suspect that's where the collective habit formed.
There's such a wide variety. You can collect medals,
uniforms, ceremonial flag tips,
whatever you want to collect, there's something there in the militaria field.
If we have a look at the piece,
we can see it's enamelled there with the blue enamel.
It's 15-carat gold and platinum where the diamonds are set in.
Platinum or white gold is often used with diamonds
to show the light better.
It reflects better off a silver surface than it does from a yellow gold surface.
Often these types of brooches were made for wives of senior ranking officers.
All regiments have their crests and their mottos.
A good thing to do if you've just suddenly been made a major general
is to buy your wife a nice piece of jewellery with the crest
so that she can wear something blingy too.
Have you ever thought about the value before?
Never given it a thought at all.
We've had a little conflab, some of the other experts and myself today,
and we think it should go to auction with an estimate of £200 to £300.
With a 200 reserve.
I think it is worth reserving it at £200.
Obviously if we find it's an interesting regiment,
then that might encourage further bidding.
But at least it'll add to the interest of it.
Were the bidders also taken by the sparkling pin dropped in the street?
Now, ladies and gentlemen, lot three.
The Irish Guards brooch.
There are four commissioning bids on the book.
I'll save an awful lot of trouble - I'm bid £800...
At 825, now.
At 825. At £825.
Hammer's gone down at £825.
I know I put a cheeky estimate on it,
and I thought it might make £400 or 500,
but 850, I think, really blew us all away.
Yes, it did, for something that might have had no more than a passing glance in the street.
So what do you do if something seems to drop into your lap?
The law says you need to take reasonable steps
to find the owner if something is lost.
But this varies from case to case.
So check with the police, as David did,
that no-one had lost an item.
If the rightful owner hasn't claimed it within 28 days,
it's yours, and you might have your hands on something valuable.
You've brought us unusual items from all around the country
and some that caught our expert Anita Manning's eye
were really a little bit different.
In Alnwick, I had two marvellous guys, a wonderful double act, Eric and Jimmy.
-I'm Eric from Berwick.
-And I'm Jimmy, also from Berwick.
It's a pleasure to meet you, Anita.
It's a pleasure to meet you, too. You guys are Borderers.
I believe the men from the Borders are wild men!
-Do you think so? Get away!
-He's a wild man!
Where did you get them?
In amongst the rubbish in a house we were working in.
Were these being thrown out?
It's amazing what people discard.
These were in beautiful condition,
so it wasn't as if they, you know, they were like rubbish.
They're what are called Stevengraphs,
and they're little woven pictures.
They're not hand done, they're made by a machine.
And they were made by Thomas Stevens.
He was an inventor who invented this process
of woven pictures.
He lived in Coventry, and this was a centre of this type of thing.
These things were made late 19th, early 20th century.
People were putting visual images on their wall in Victorian times.
This was something that was a wee bit different.
So they were very... It was trendy to have a Stevengraph on your wall.
Eric from Berwick,
do you have a favourite?
Well, I quite like the one with the rescue.
The lifeboat. That's a lovely one.
-Jimmy, what about you? Is Lady Godiva your favourite?
-You look like a bit of a ladies' man!
-Thank you so much!
I just love the people that bring their stuff in to Flog It.
I have a wee flirt with the guys!
I hope that's allowed!
If we put a conservative estimate
of ten to 15,
so that will be... Say we put 120 to £180.
What do you think, Jimmy?
Well, I just suggested before we sat here
that we should be looking for £10-plus.
-Yep. He's not bad.
-Are you looking for a job!
'We'll have to see if we have room on our experts panel!
'So, did Anita, assisted by Jimmy,
'get their valuation of these unique Victorian curiosities right?'
Good luck, guys!
The pure silk woven by Thomas Stevens.
A variety of them. There's sporting ones.
I've got two commission bids.
And 400 starts me.
I loved the expression on Eric's face
when the price went up
and up and up!
And I could see his pal
trying to divide the sum in two!
I think they were going to divide it.
In the room at 1,250. 1,300 now.
At 1,250. 1,300, anybody?
-I didn't suspect that.
Those rare ones made the difference.
-The rare ones made the difference.
Quality always sells. That's the main thing.
That had it in abundance.
Not bad for something discovered in a rubbish pile!
It shows how fashion has come full circle
since Victorian times.
After a certain amount of time, they would go out of fashion.
They would be taken off the wall, and perhaps, not thrown out, as these were,
but stuck up in the attic and forgotten about, really.
So there will be... There will be these items about.
And they might be up in your attic!
So here's what we've learned so far.
Don't throw away anything until you know it's worthless.
Look for tell-tale signs, like hallmarks or signatures
which show you something could need more research
and you ought to hang on to it.
Fashions change, so what went out of fashion a few years ago,
could be smack bang on trend today.
Look for craftsmanship that stands the test of time.
Chances are, your instinct for quality could be spot-on!
And, like Eric from Berwick, keep your eyes peeled.
You never know what you'll find in the most unusual of places!
It's not just you who can stumble across amazingly interesting items.
Our experts have also found things
that have got their hearts racing!
We came across a penny farthing.
In an outhouse at my grandfather's house after he died.
It was made by a blacksmith.
I remember in 1971, I think it made £750.
I've done a bit of homework on that,
and I think £750 in 1971,
would be worth about 19 or £20,000 today.
So that was quite exciting, really.
And we didn't know it was there.
I found the most wonderful quirky metal base on a beach once,
which I dragged up to our holiday cottage.
It's now sitting on our patio as a patio table!
I did go to my tidy tip after Christmas, a couple of years ago,
and whilst I was chucking out my old Christmas tree
and decorations that I didn't want any more,
what did I find?
A George III mahogany dining chair.
It's not worth more than 30 or £40,
but throwing away a George III chair on a tip?!
What are people like?
On Flog It, you love to bring us items you've found in strange places.
But what about discoveries you've dug out of the ground?
Could they be treasure?
There is a whole legal definition of what constitutes treasure.
So we'll show you how you can tell if you have a real treasure trove.
Take this very old coin Ernie brought in to show Michael Baggott.
This is a fantastic condition gold coin. Where on earth did you get this from?
Me and two mates were working in Chesterfield,
putting a new water main in.
We took some muck out of the ground and it dropped in the trench we were in.
-I thought it was a bottle top
until I rubbed it and saw the head on it.
What a fantastic find.
As a single coin, it isn't treasure trove,
but you did take it to the museum?
-What did they tell you about it?
1603 to 1619 and it's 22-carat gold.
It's 400 years old.
We've got the head there of King James I.
He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots.
He reigned from 1603 to 1625.
The denomination of this is actually a laurel.
It's a wonderful name for a coin.
We're used to guineas and sovereigns,
but go back a bit and you get angels, half angels
We've got the denomination struck here, which is XX.
That's the number of shillings that it represents.
So it's a 20-shilling piece.
We've got the figure of James in profile,
looking terribly imperial and powerful
with that Roman style wreath through his head.
If we read the inscription,
we've got "Jacobus" - James -
"DG" - by the grace of God.
"Majesty of Britain, France and Ireland."
And if we flip it over, we've got the royal coat of arms
surmounted by a crown.
It's in absolutely wonderful condition.
This represented an awful lot of money at the time to someone who lost it.
If you lost a coin like this,
you spent some time looking for it, if you'd known you'd lost it.
I think this was lost probably within a few years of it being struck.
It's just lain there undiscovered until, 400 years later,
down comes the bucket of the digger,
up and we see it.
It's a fantastic thing.
Value. Now, most of these coins
are about £400 to £600.
When you get something that's in lovely condition,
that's the one everybody wants to buy.
So I think we would be safe
in putting £800 to £1,200 on it.
-And a fixed reserve of £800.
It's just as well that you found it now.
In the 18th century, if they found anything like this,
and it was between a group of workmen,
they would cut it up to however many people there were!
-Wouldn't be worth anything cut up.
-No. Not any more.
So, did the coin fetch top dollar?
At 700. And 50.
At 750. At £800.
At £800. And behind you at 850.
950, the gentleman behind you.
-Ernie's "Come on!"
No. Shake of the head. It's 1,150 for the gentleman behind you.
At 1,150. Any further bidders?
Good price. £1,150.
-Spot on, Michael.
-When are you next putting a water main down?
Yeah, we'd like to come along. We'll be your spotters!
I wish I'd found that coin.
Yet this wasn't officially treasure.
So what does make a bona fide treasure trove?
In 2009, Terry Herbert was scouring the fields near Lichfield
with his metal detector
when he literally struck gold.
One expert who came on the scene couldn't believe his eyes.
We'd seen the odd piece like this in some of the books,
but to have row upon row of these things was incredible.
The final tally was over 3,500 gold and silver items
dating to the time of the kingdom of Mercia in the seventh or eighth centuries.
Mainly the paraphernalia of warfare,
it became known as The Staffordshire Hoard.
It's an amazing collection
you can now see at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
So Terry was a happy man.
But would he be a rich one, too?
And was it real treasure?
That all came down to the law on treasure established in the Treasure Act of 1996.
So here are some of the things to keep in mind
in an area where finders doesn't necessarily mean keepers.
First, always get permission from the landowner
before you start searching on any land
because, along with you,
they could have the rights over any treasure found.
What defines treasure is quite complicated.
But simply put, treasure means an object or group of objects
more than 300 years old
with more than 10% gold or silver in it.
The law says that if you find treasure and are in possession of it,
you must report it to the coroner in the area where the finds were made.
He or she will then decide if it constitutes treasure.
If it is the real thing, it's offered to museums
and you and the landowner get the reward, the value of the treasure.
So what was the Staffordshire Hoard?
Of course, it was deemed to be treasure.
But if one coin was worth over £1,000
what did Terry Herbert make from his astonishing hoard?
-How much did you get altogether?
So if you go treasure hunting and find gold or silver,
err on the side of caution.
Report it and you may just hit the jackpot!
At most auctions, there's often one sale which takes everybody's breath away.
Like you, I want to find out more about how one object can change life for its owner.
Meet Katherine Hurcombe,
a woman who knows all about buried treasure.
Nice to see you coming along with this great big plate in several pieces!
-You're spoiling us here!
It turned out to be a 19th-century Italian charger.
I didn't know that before I went there.
But Adam informed me of that.
A type of Majolica, tin-glazed earthenware
or Delftware to some.
We've got a signature. M. Rodriguez.
And we've got this baroque style of an earlier period.
It would have been amazing, I should think, when it was new.
But it was broken into eight pieces and all stuck up with animal glue.
-Where did you get it from?
-It was given to my husband.
There was a pub opposite us that was being demolished.
-This was in Gloucester.
This was actually going to go in the skip.
So my husband said, "I'll take that."
He just liked the look of it. So it's been on top of our wardrobe ever since.
-It is in a bit of a state!
-I know. Yes.
Was it like that when your husband got it?
-Which is why I guess he was heading for the skip with it.
-I think so.
-So your husband decided to keep it?
-What attracted him to it?
I don't know. He just thought it was old, that's why.
-Would anyone be able to do anything with it?
-They would? OK.
There are a few restorers, wonderful restorers,
who could turn that into something and you'd never know.
That could be made good again.
-Right. Down to the value.
It's a tricky thing to value. Most people would say if it's damaged, it's worth nothing.
I would say.
-Estimate wise, I would put 100 to 200 on it.
-Oh, that's surprising.
-Well, it's a wide guide, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is really.
Do you want to put a reserve on it?
-Would you rather have it back if it didn't make...
-I don't want it back.
I was going to say let's have a gamble here and put it in, no reserve.
-What would you put that money towards?
I'm a metal detectorist and I really need a new probe,
which is like a mini detector
which you can get in the hole with if you can't find the article.
They're about £80.
-Well, this might just get you your new probe.
-It might do.
So, did the charger fetch her the sum she was looking for
to put towards a new metal detector?
This north Italian charger.
There we go. Bid me for that lot.
Start me off. £100 to start me.
Bid me 100.
Bid me 50.
My instructions are to sell.
I've got £50 bid. At 50.
Who's got five? At £50 only.
-At 50. Bids, I want.
At £50 and it's done and sold, then.
At £50 and away.
-No reserve. That's fine.
-50 quid from nowhere, though.
-£50 from nowhere.
That's classic recycling.
-Someone's going to enjoy that.
And you've done well, as well. Let's not take the credit away.
Something for nothing.
-And, as everybody says, the fun of the day.
Not a huge sum, but this didn't perturb Katherine
because she had a plan of how to transform her £50 into much, much more.
I've been detecting now for about ten years.
I really love it.
I can't wait to get out. This weather is not very good,
but I went out last Saturday and found six Roman coins.
This is just a selection of things you might find if you went metal detecting.
Just ordinary things.
We've got Roman brooches,
This here is a Japanese coin.
Would you think you would find that in an English field?
Just a selection of things.
So what does this special piece of metal detecting equipment
she so wanted, actually do?
It's called a probe and it's for finding things
that you wouldn't normally find with the ordinary detector
if the ground's a bit muddy and it gets stuck in a clod of earth,
this will detect it.
The metal detecting probe is really, really handy.
It's really ideal to have one of those.
It pinpoints it straightaway.
It's a coin!
It will help her with her ever expanding collection of finds,
some of which have been very special.
I think the most special thing I've found
is a Georgian seal
which had a pelican on the bottom
and was called "The pelican in her piety".
She was pecking her breast to feed her young.
That was deemed treasure
and that is now in Gloucester Museum.
And that made her £150.
Quite a coup.
But is it all about hitting gold for Katherine?
This one here is Hadrian,
who, you all know, built the wall.
That's a very fine coin, that.
That's the best one I've got.
Very clear and sharp.
All these coins are really special to me.
I wouldn't sell any of them on Flog It.
I don't know how much they're worth, but I'm not really interested.
The monetary value doesn't count.
They're special to me.
If you went out detecting a found a coin on your first visit,
you'd be hooked for life. It's absolutely amazing.
We go for miles, and go to rallies
and we don't find anything and yet we still go
because there's always that chance that you'll find something special.
Which just goes to show,
where there's muck, there's brass.
With a bit of nous and an adventurous spirit like Katherine,
you could discover a Staffordshire hoard of your own!
Sadly, we're running out of time.
But the real secret on today's show is stay alert
and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
And don't assume if something's been thrown away that it's rubbish.
See you next time!