Tips on antiques and collectibles. In this episode, the experts explore the theme of weird and wonderful antiques and collectables.
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This is the show that aims to give you the inside track
on buying and selling antiques and collectables.
We've got over 10 years of Flog It! behind us.
That's hundreds of programmes
and thousands of your antiques valued and sold.
Stand by for some top tips. This is Trade Secrets.
The majority of the items you bring along to our valuation days
are comfortably familiar to all of our experts
and their valuations are pretty accurate.
But every now and then,
you bring along something that takes us all by surprise.
So today's programme is going to be dedicated
to the weird and the wonderful
that not only puts our experts to the test,
but makes the programme so much fun.
Coming up on today's show - Philip tears a strip off one owner
for mistreating a very strange-looking creation.
Some hooligan, over the years, boy, have they done some damage to it.
-I think that might be my fault.
-What, you're the hooligan?
Anita brings in a great result when she does her stuff on the rostrum.
This is good. It's so rare.
And I get the best surprise ever at a Valuation Day.
That's one of the rarest things we've ever seen on the show.
-26,000! I'm tingling.
-Are you tingling?
Now, it's often the case with all these with weird
and wonderful things that turn up at our valuation days
that generally, they are just normal household objects,
except they are the eccentric versions,
dressed up, in a way, to keep us guessing.
To create a conversation.
Even the stuffy confines of the gentleman's study weren't
exempt to this kind of practice.
Take, for example, the humble desktop object.
Some of them can be rather intriguing.
I absolutely love it.
-It's mad, isn't it?
-It is. It is fun.
We've got a Victorian desk weight and paperclip, desk clip.
Cast in bronze as a monkey jockey riding what looks to be...
-I think it's a greyhound, isn't it?
-I think it's a greyhound.
-Isn't it crazy? Only the Victorians would do such a thing.
It's one of the things that is humorous
but the sad thing is you can actually imagine the Victorians
doing it - dressing the monkey, tying him to greyhound and saying,
"Ride." That's the frightening thing.
You know, we're talking about a period where Rothschild
decided to pull his chariot not with a horse, but with four zebra.
The sort of man that would ride a giant tortoise with a stick
asking for money and donations for his animal collection.
This is a type of Victorian madness that was about then.
How do you come to have such a fantastic thing?
Well, I inherited it from my mother, and she, in turn,
inherited it from her parents.
The centre for this type of work was Austria.
There was one factory that always calls out for this
sort of quality and that's Bergman. It's cold painted bronze.
Cold painted bronze is very expensive to produce
and they come in a massive variety of shapes and sizes.
Some as small as that, some as large as that.
And the very large ones can be £10,000, £20,000.
Really rare. Wonderful, though.
The fact that it's got its original paintwork means a lot
because these things, because they were fun, because they were
often novelty animals, kids got their hands on them
and played with them. But, you know, really it's in not bad condition.
Well, considering it's probably, what, 100 years old.
-It was made, probably, 1870, 1890.
-As long ago as that?
Yes, somewhere like that.
Whenever you paint metal, it flakes off quite easily
so the important thing is condition.
You sometimes see a cold painted bronze that's only got
10% of the paint left, which isn't much fun.
It's useful, it's practical, it's in good condition and it's novelty.
And those three things are all in its favour.
It was just a massive combination of good,
saleable parts that made it do so well.
Lot 523 is this superb cold painted bronze letter holder
depicting a monkey sat upon a greyhound. Start me at 200.
-Right, we're in.
-200 bid. Any advance on 200? 220. 240. 260. 280.
It's down to two people in the room.
-This is good. It's so rare.
-All done at 680. 680.
Slowly, slowly, catch the monkey, there. Anita worked that one out.
Did I expect the little cold painted bronze to do better than
Yes, I did.
In terms of today's market, massive collectors' feel for it
and really, really popular.
I'm just glad that today, we wouldn't actually do it for real.
Cold painted bronze
when we have colour seems to give life to the bronze.
These items are never cheap in the saleroom and the best of them
can make a huge amount of money,
but it's always good to collect these,
and the more unusual, the better, but watch out for condition.
That's great advice, Anita.
The weirder the item, the more money it will make,
as long as it's in good condition.
It's good, that, isn't it? I've been dying to do that for hours.
-Kevin and Karen. Whose is this?
I'm a great believer that it's back to the boys' toys things
again and blokes definitely do buy things for their desk
but I've got to say
that I think that rams' horn thingummyjiggy-whatsit doo-dah,
it does say something for your own ego
if you have got to buy one of those to stuff on your desk, doesn't it?
These are rams' horns. And you see them from about 1850 to about 1900.
We start off with this quite sweet little circular clock up the top
and then we've got our bell and I wonder
whether that's to ring someone and tell them to, you know,
come and collect my post, because this is actually a desk tidy.
So it would have sat on your writing desk. Where'd it come from?
It was my grandfather's.
Well, some hooligan, over the years,
boy, have they done some damage to it.
-Do you know how they have done that?
-I think that might be my fault.
What, you're the hooligan?
Well, as a child, it was my job to clean it with Brasso.
Why didn't you go the whole hog and use a scratch brush as well?
I was 10 years old at the time. I knew no better.
-So, can you remember cleaning this initially?
-And all this was silver?
-Can I just show you something?
Can you just see there? That's silver. Or it's the plate.
-And you want to sell it.
-So it's his but you want to sell it?
-How does that work, then?
-I'm just getting my own way again.
-Is this the story of your life?
Kevin and Karen were a little bit at odds over the desk tidy
but there is no doubt in my mind that Karen was going to have
her way and it was going, and she was going to get the money.
I think if all of this was beautifully silver plated,
it would look a whole different proposition.
And then it could be worth £1,000 or more.
I think, as it is, this is worth £300-£500. That's my view.
If it makes, I don't know, £450, what would you do with that?
-Let's think about this for a moment.
I can sense a family debate coming on. So a holiday here or here...
-What is the "or"?
-I've got a 1969 Mustang that I'm renovating.
-Have you? Are you a car man?
-Yes. Big petrolhead.
Let's get it sold for you.
But will the bidders be as worried by the missing
silver gilt as Philip was?
Start me that at, what, 500?
400? 300. Two.
£200 I'm bid. At 200. Two I am bid.
At 200. 220. 250 the lady.
250. 280. 280. At 300.
£300 I am bid. At 300.
-Well, we've sold it.
-320. 320. 350.
380. At 380. Four, is it? £400.
£400 I am bid. At 400. And 20.
-This is good.
-450. 480. 500.
500 quid. 520.
520. 550. 580.
600 on the telephone.
620. 650. 650. 680. 700.
-What a fantastic price.
-720 bid. 750. 780.
900 I will take. 950.
At 950, in the room.
-You all done? It's going to be sold.
-I have to say, I'd rather have 950 quid.
-So would I!
So would I, that's why I'm selling it!
These guys would as well!
That's going towards the restoration of the Mustang, is it?
The Mustang, yes. And also Karen wants a bit for the holiday.
Oh, yes, you have got to treat Karen.
Wow! That's double what we were all expecting.
Wow, it might not have been the most beautiful object but two bidders
were so keen on it, they were prepared to fight to the finish.
I think that rams' horn desk tidy was probably bought
for the export market. In all probability, America.
And, you know, I think
the Americans see their antique life as through what's
reflected in this country and I think they see that as being
the height of Victoriana and that's what they buy.
Just because the rams' horns aren't to our taste today,
it doesn't mean they won't find a market
so don't dismiss strange-looking objects out of hand.
-I love this.
I homed on this instantly I saw you in the queue with it.
It's a great little thing. It's a real Victorian novelty.
-How on earth did you come by it?
-I was given it by a family friend.
-Recently, or a while ago?
Just to let everyone else know what it is we're looking at here,
if you just flip the hinge up, it's an inkwell.
It's a real gentleman's collector's item, I guess.
Unusual one-off objects like this are notoriously difficult to value
because as auctioneers,
we often use comparable results to value objects.
I've seen one of these before, I've seen the type of thing.
And you use your knowledge and experience to sort of second-guess.
We'll take this to auction and there will be a lot of interest in it.
People that collect sea-related items,
people that collect brassware, people that collect inkwells,
predominantly, will be the main bidding force.
And I can see it making maybe a couple of hundred pounds.
But when you've got things like this you've got no comparables
to fall back on so you've got to go with your gut instinct.
Will people like it, why will they like it,
how much can they afford to push it up to?
So it becomes less of an accurate estimate,
and a little bit more of a guesstimate.
A round figure of, say, £100 would be a good reserve
but don't be surprised if it makes more than that and goes on.
-Are you happy to do that?
If I like it, then surely someone else there is mad enough to like it
and lo and behold, they did.
Cast brass lobster-pattern desk inkwell. Novel item.
-Three bids on the books. 140.
-We're starting at £140.
Looking for 150. 150. 160. 170.
If you're going to buy and sell curiosities,
make sure they are curios, OK? Don't buy bland, mainstream items.
Find things that make people sit and say, gosh, what is that?
200. And 10. 220. 230.
-This is more like it.
-240. Anybody at 240?
Bid is in the room at £230. Standing at 230 and selling at £230.
Yes, the hammer's gone down.
That's a "sold" sound. £230. They loved it.
So if you're buying curios, the curiouser, the better.
Desk items are, to me, wonderful.
I love the idea of sitting at a desk and writing,
rather than sitting at a screen and typing words in.
Desk items are popular. They make great presents today.
They're very decorative, they are very varied.
There are some very, very keen collectors out there.
Something a bit unusual and a bit different as a gift,
a little desktop item, is a great thing to have.
And the more unusual they are, I think,
the more readily they are going to be chased up to a high price.
In the 19th century, as the middle classes grew richer
and more influential, a gentleman's desk became a status symbol
and the Victorians were masters of making strange
and wonderful desktop objects to place upon it.
What all these desktop status symbols have in common is
they are still worth hundreds of pounds today and apparently,
the odder, the better.
But talking of weird, I've never seen anything like these before.
Come on, Ken, tell me a bit about these?
They are originally from my great grandparents, who owned a farm.
Obviously, it was a well-loved cow and they mounted two of the hooves.
I'm not sure whether all four were done or not but certainly the two.
I love the cow's hooves.
A great family history.
They were quite an unusual item. You don't very often find cow's hooves.
They were in place on a sideboard in my grandmother's house.
When she passed on and I don't think anybody else in the family wanted them,
we took them and we've had them in the cupboard ever since.
-And you don't really care for them?
-But the nice thing is, the name is on the top of the lids.
-Mulberry and her dates, as well.
They preserved the hooves as a memory of the animal.
It's usually horses' hooves, your favourite hunter,
the best racehorse you've owned.
But, in this instance, it was a favoured cow.
-And, of course, they're an inkwell.
If we lift the hinged lid.
Erm, and then in this one we've got the little glass well,
which you would put the ink in.
It's a memorial of the cow.
So every time you look at the ink well, you think of Mulberry.
And there are collectors of all sorts of taxidermy
and I've always found the horses' hooves sell quite well
but not for a huge amount.
-We are probably looking in the region of 40 to £60.
That's surprising. I thought, maybe, the price a joint of beef
that we were going to buy.
I say, is that what you're spending the money on?
'Now let's see how much of a guesstimate that was, Claire.'
One of you start me on this, £40, for the hooves?
40, quickly. 40, thank you. 5 anywhere else?
45 and 50. And 5?
And 60, and 5?
£60 front row. 65 and 70 says "No".
65 a fresh bid. 70 anywhere else?
At £65 for the hooves. I'm selling the hooves at £65.
Are you sure then at £65?
The hammer's gone down.
-That's a good price for a pair.
-That's really good.
Even with today's prices, you should get a nice joint of beef
for that, shouldn't you?
People are more concerned about bits of animals being sold
but where you're talking about unendangered species like this,
there is a strong market. There are people out there that love them!
'Flea markets and general auction sales are the best places to buy
'unusual objects but make sure it's something you genuinely love
'and can live with, as they won't always be great investment pieces.'
Quirky sales, unusual sales,
the salerooms are full of bland, mass-produced objects.
But those one-off, unique items, there is
a buyer out there somewhere for it.
The wackier the better and don't be frightened to have a go
if you see something cheap, pick it up, go home,
have a bit of fun, do some research.
You might find something which is valuable, you might not,
but it'll still be a lovely object to look at.
Now when you think of weird and wonderful,
you wouldn't necessarily think a chair fits the bill, but it does.
When we think of furniture construction,
you straightaway think of, let's say, a carpenter and a joiner,
somebody that assembles and makes pieces of furniture,
tables and chairs, hence the name joiner,
joining the wood together with mortice and tenon joints.
Then you would ask a wood turner to apply some decoration,
maybe in the form of some split bobbins that are applied afterwards
or to turn the odd leg or two.
Well, it wood turner obviously got frustrated in the 17th century
and he said, "I can make something that's practical and functional
"and it's not just decoration, it's a piece of furniture!
"It's a chair!" Here we have a wonderful, one of the best examples
I've ever seen in my life of a 17th-century wood turner's chair.
Apart from that seat, everything here has been made in the round,
turned on a pole lathe in the woods.
He's shown some great skill here because look at the ornamentation,
all of these turnings are slightly different.
It is wonderful. It would have taken hours and hours to do,
but it is not that comfortable.
It is very uncomfortable and it takes up a lot of room.
It's hardly surprising these turner's chairs didn't take off
but, nevertheless, this one is as good as it gets.
'I'm lucky enough to see some fantastically unusual antiques.
'Sometimes their strange shapes will have an unexpected purpose
'but three years ago in Scotland I was blown away to find
'an object made of something that hardly ever comes onto the market.'
This has to be one of the nicest things I've ever seen on "Flog It!"
And possibly one of the most valuable items
we've ever had on the show.
-You know what this is, don't you?
-It's a Libation Cup.
It's a Libation Cup. It's a ceremonial drinking vessel.
-Do you know what it's made of?
It's got a grain in, hasn't it? You can see there is a grain detail.
Lots of compressed hair but it's rhinoceros horn.
Yes. This dates back,
last quarter of the 18th-century.
We read about the visit of "Flog It!"
And Evelyn, my sister insisted on taking the Libation Cup,
which, I must admit, I thought was just made of ordinary wood.
I spotted one that was sold at Christie's so I thought
ours was worth something, so I took it to the valuation.
Let's just talk about the damage. You can see how it was used
-as a ceremonial drinking vessel, can't you?
There are one or two chips,
there's bits of damage to the horn
and here we've got some mythical beasts climbing the side of the cup.
Half a head's missing there. Can you see that?
But, if you turn it over, you can actually see the compressed hair
and almost the grain of the horn.
Can you see that, that's definitely Horn?
That's one of the rarest things we've ever seen on the show.
Mum, she inherited it from my grandfather.
He had travelled the world.
We actually thought it was African to start with
but it turned out to be Chinese
so we're not really... he dabbled in antiques,
so we're not really sure where he got it
but she obviously inherited it but she didn't realise what she had.
Where has it been in your house?
This has spent many years in a glass cabinet,
-kept in our living room.
-So you've been looking after it.
How much do you think that's worth?
Well, listening to what you've said...
You've said you think it's slightly valuable?
A couple of hundred pounds?
A couple of hundred, yeah?
A couple of hundred pounds.
I've got to be so careful here.
We've got to do an awful lot more research.
OK? But do you know what my gut feeling is?
It's a lot more than that?
A heck of a lot more.
My gut feeling is this is worth eight...
Then they said, how about 12,000?
Everybody went, "Oh," you know.
So that's when we discovered it was actually worth something.
-It could be even more than eight to £12,000.
-I'm quite happy.
The easiest thing to do is take it to an auction where the public
can bid on it because the auctioneer will get this on a website
that will go all over the world so people, in all countries,
can place their bids.
We won't even bother discussing a reserve
and putting pen to paper at the moment
because I do need a second opinion on this.
Let's wait for that, OK,
and we'll get on the phone to you within a couple of weeks' time.
Hopefully we're going to find out exactly what this is worth.
There's been an international ban on trading in rhino horn
for more than 35 years but it is legal to sell carved items
made before 1947.
Tom and his sister, Evelyn, will have to wait a little bit longer as
we send the Libation Cup to Bonhams in London for further investigation.
We'll find out later what the auction house thinks.
We do see some weird and wonderful things on "Flog It!"
But we don't usually get the chance to see what curiosities the experts have at home.
One of Will Axon's favourites is a cool piece of retro technology.
Well, nowadays, you don't think twice about reaching
into your pocket, do you, and pulling out what is, essentially,
a minicomputer. We've all got smartphones.
If you're lost, you press a button and it'll tell you where you are.
Imagine the high-powered business meeting in the mid-'70s
where you were number crunching and the chap opposite you
pulled out of his pocket what can only be described
as a very stylish pocket calculator here. You would tremble in your boots, wouldn't you?
You'd think I'm up against the big man here, I'm going to have to pull my game together
because this is a Sovereign calculator
made by Sir Clive Sinclair.
I actually went to school with Sir Clive's nephew
so we kind of got some early insights into the designs.
I remember when everyone else brought their bikes to school,
he turned up with a C5 and had souped it up with a couple of batteries.
It went some and, Sir Clive, he was obsessed
with miniaturisation of electronics.
He was very much forward thinking and how can I make things smaller
and slicker and more designed, more contemporary looking?
It was his downfall, really,
because he ended up concentrating more on that
than he did with things such as quality control and cost
because this, at the time, would have cost you two weeks' wages, about £30.
I've just got to get a couple of batteries to replace
the mercury filled ones and I think I might be pulling that out
at a client's house or two just to work out my commission.
No, Sir Clive, I love it.
'If you are interested in technology,
'look out for the early items that were trailblazers
'in their design and technology, if you want to make money.
'A rare Apple 1 computer sold recently, at auction,
'When I'm looking for extraordinary treasures, my favourite place
'has to be the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
'I went there recently for a look around.'
The world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London
has over 4.5 million exhibits in its collection
which does create a bit of a dilemma for me today
because we can't possibly see them all. Which ones do I choose?
There's a very impressive 145 galleries here, showcasing items
from ancient art, right through to 20th-century design.
With a wealth of art and design history at my feet,
I thought I'd show you some of the V&A's more unusual treasures,
some items you wouldn't expect to see
and some of them are on a rather large proportion.
As you walk around the museum, you can pick up gems of knowledge
about well-documented names.
Thomas Gainsborough, for example,
the fashionable celebrity portrait painter of the 18th-century.
Now, right now, you're expecting me to show you a portrait by him,
aren't you, but I'm not. I'm going to show you this.
In the 1780s he invented this box
because he created a series of paintings on glass,
landscapes and he wanted them to be seen through this show box.
The idea was you dropped the glass down here with the image on it.
It was lit at the back by candlelight
and the idea was you looked through the lens at the front,
this was a magnifying lens and you saw the image
and it really did intensify it. It brought nature to life.
There you go, something quirky about a talented artist,
dating back to the 1780s.
You can learn it all in here.
Other museum pieces were saved from destruction by being rehomed here at the V&A.
Take this room, for instance.
If I step inside here, come with me, this is one complete exhibit.
It's taken from a house in Bromley-by-Bow in East London.
The house was built in 1606
but just before it was going to be demolished in 1894,
it was transplanted here to the museum in all of its glory,
from the ceiling with that deep plaster relief up there,
very fashionable in its day,
to the most wonderful fielded oak panels on the wall.
Right down to the carving all around the mantel of this fireplace.
It's all thanks to a campaign led by the Arts and Crafts designer,
CR Ashbee, that architectural detail like this
has been saved for the nation and thank goodness, as well.
This was one of the first.
I must say, I have been instantly transported back
to the early part of the 17th century,
right down to the creaky oak floorboards.
Incidentally, that's the only thing that's replica in here.
Now if you like show stoppers, take a look at this staircase.
It's absolutely spectacular.
I think it has to be one of my favourite things here in the museum.
What a thing to exhibit. It's something that you wouldn't expect to see.
Just look at the grand scale of this.
This was taken from a house in Brittany.
You can imagine the size of the house it came from.
Obviously, the owner would have been of incredibly high status.
Just look at the detail and the condition
considering all of this dates back
to the 1520s.
I'm amazed, I'm amazed it's here, all in one piece.
It really does now look like a work of art.
It's the most beautiful silhouette in this new extension,
the new wing of the museum.
'So I've shown you the museum has all sorts of rare treasures
'but there's also the unexpected.
'Here in the factory ceramics gallery are some objects
we are all more familiar with.
And proudly on display here we also see a few "Flog It!" favourites,
things that turn up regularly at our valuation day.
Items like Clarice Cliff and Cornishware made by TG Green.
The great thing is, most of us have got these design classics at home
that we use day in and day out.
Here they are as part of a prestigious collection
here in the V&A.
It just goes to show we can all have, and own,
a little bit of this art history.
That was just the tip of the iceberg of the huge collection
that's on display here at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
not just for me to enjoy, but for the whole nation
and, really, it's not just about individual pieces in the context
of the bigger collection everything that's here,
it helps us understand the bygone eras in different periods of our history
and also appreciate the endeavours of craftsmen and craftswomen
and their artistic legacies.
'Still to come on today's show one of our owners gets a big surprise
'when she finds out what she's brought for valuation.
I can't believe it!
'We tell you how to make money on cold painted bronzes.'
-How much did you pay for this?
£1, you see, it is all out there.
'And we find out what happened to our owners
'after the rhino horn cup was put up for sale at a London auction house.'
Who would like to start this?
£5,000 for it? £5,000...
'Tom and Evelyn are on tenterhooks as Bonhams complete
their investigation of the Libation Cup.
'Chinese art specialist, Angela McAteer,
'has been looking after our cup ever since the valuation day
'and, with her expertise, she'll have some insider knowledge.'
It dates to the 17th/18th century,
most probably to the period of the Kangxi Emperor,
who was the first great emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
He reigned from 1662 to 1722
and, you have on either side,
er, towtier masks
and you've got chilong dragons carved in high relief,
which are typified by their split tails and their single horns
and their heads poke up over the rim.
'Remember the damage when we first saw the Libation Cup.
'Well, the auction house recommended restoration to Tom and he agreed.
We've used a person who is really the top restorer
in the country for any sort of organic Chineseware
and if you were looking at it, and didn't know that it was restored,
then it would be very difficult to tell. The really positive thing
though is that the horn hasn't dried out over the years.
What we often see in Western collections,
that have rhinoceros horns,
is that they've been put in direct sunlight,
or they have been put near a radiator
and it really sucks the life out of them
and they lose their colour and their appeal.
This has a wonderful lustre and a wonderful texture.
So, it's obviously been kept in a fairly humid environment which,
over the years, has retained its nice qualities.
'So it sounds like sitting in a cabinet in Scotland for years
'has actually been in its favour
but will this specialist work to repair it be worth it?
The restoration costs were around £600
and that amount is deducted from the final proceeds of the sale.
Really, it may sound like a lot of money
but when you think of the difference that it will make
in the final hammer price on the day,
I think it's a very sensible investment.
'Angela agrees with my valuation of eight to £12,000
'and we'll see how far the bidders are prepared to go
'a little bit later in the programme.'
If our valuation days are anything to go by,
there's a whole world of weird and wonderful out there
in the homes of Great Britain.
We've seen most things turn up at our valuation days
but there's always room for more to get our experts excited.
They really love the odd end of the oddities spectrum.
My tip for the weird and wonderful is get out there and try and find something.
Buy something you've got no idea what it is because that's the sort
of thing that might catch the eye of someone else in the auction room.
Keep your eyes peeled
because they'll turn up in the most extraordinary places at times.
Now weird items can be real strange part of the market
and it's actually is where you can find
a real high-value gem for not a lot of money.
'Mark can always be relied upon to spot the weird and the wonderful that you bring in.
'And, actually, it's hard for anyone else to get a look in!'
I love it. It's so wacky, isn't it?
Now, I've seen some things on "Flog It!" in my time
but I haven't come across an old piece of rope like this.
I've often asked myself,
why on earth do I end up with the weird and wonderful?
Oh, and then you guide it, do you? Oh!
I think it's because I like eccentric items,
and a lot of people don't,
so it ends up on my table, and am I bothered?
No. Bring it on.
This is a fascinating item you've brought in to show us.
Really charming, actually.
I think it's a charming, quirky object. It's really bitten me.
There we go. Touchdown.
-How nice to see you here in sunny Folkestone.
Now, you've brought this wonderful lemon juicer in.
Where did it come from?
It was my grandmother's, and had gone through the family to my aunt,
who died just after Christmas, and she left it to me.
-And have you squeezed anything in it?
-No, no, no.
-I haven't been that daring.
It's from the sort of aesthetic period in Victorian design,
where they were really trying new ways
of producing household objects, really.
And we've got this really wacky design.
You can see here, two little glasses would have gone in here.
But then the really wonderful part is,
when you open the lid up here, and you lift this out,
you put the lemon or the orange in there,
and then when you close it, and close that bit
and then push that down, you really squeeze all the juice,
and then underneath, there are some little holes there.
You put the glass in the middle, and the juice comes into there.
-Would it work, do you think?
-I think it would work, yes.
-I mean, I'm not sure how hygienic it would be.
Well, we looked underneath. We've got a lovely set of marks.
-We've got H & H there. Do you know what that stands for?
-That stands for a firm called Hukin & Heath.
Now, Hukin & Heath had a very interesting factory,
because they produced a lot of silver-plated wares,
and they had one designer who worked for them for a while,
who was very important to Victorian design,
and that's Christopher Dresser.
Hukin and Heath are very well known,
largely through their design influences by Christopher Dresser,
but they are a very good manufacturing company,
so yes, they are a good name to look out for,
and again, you can find them very inexpensively,
because not everybody knows what H & H stands for.
Well, I think we should put this in for auction
-with an estimate of £2-£300.
-I didn't think it was worth that much.
-Neither did I!
Really? That surprised you?
-We were saying sort of £80, maybe.
Well, that's a typical auctioneer's estimate.
I wish I'd known that, I would've said 80 to 120!
Could have got away with a bit cheaper then!
Christopher Dresser designed across the board -
ceramics, silver, silver plate,
furniture, fabrics, textiles.
So if you want to collect Christopher Dresser,
it could be quite difficult, because not everything is signed.
However, there are good reference books out there,
and if you want to start collecting his work,
you can pick up tiles and smaller ceramic pieces
for tens of pounds.
248 is the plated barman's friend. £100?
Unusual item, there.
100 for someone? Anybody want it?
Deathly hush out there. No-one want this?
Can't see another bid.
-I can't believe it.
-Pass it, then.
Can't squeeze a bit out of anybody, then?
I have no idea why there wasn't a bid on that juicer.
I think they must have all gone to sleep. It was wonderful.
We may have been unlucky that day,
but it's always worth investigating, especially sales for kitchenalia,
if you want to sell something similar.
It just goes to show - quirky objects aren't to everyone's taste,
but that's the appeal of the unusual,
and experienced auctioneers like Adam know that something
out of the ordinary is usually a winner with the bidders.
You've brought along something that I've never seen before.
Where did you get this bowling ball decanter from?
-And when did you get it?
So, would you like to demonstrate what it does?
Take the top off and you've got a drink set.
Then you take the decanter out.
-And then it plays.
-Then it plays.
What's the song that it's playing?
Oh, it's Oh What A Beautiful Morning, isn't it? OK.
Let's put that back in, and that stops it playing.
This isn't the sort of piece that I'd want to buy to own,
but when I did it, I did appreciate it, because it's fun, isn't it?
I mean, you see that, and you probably think, "how kitsch,"
"it reminds me of the '60s", or something like that,
and I think that's where the appeal was with that.
-Do you play bowls?
-I used to in Singapore.
-Did you live in Singapore?
-My husband was in the RAF.
I bet it brings back some memories, doesn't it?
It does. It's the place where I adopted my son, in Singapore.
-He's here today, isn't he?
-He's here today.
He's a nice boy, isn't he? I met him as well.
-So you're having a clear-out.
-I'm having a clear-out.
Well, it's a quirky object, and there's more and more people
interested in 20th century novelty stuff.
I don't know it's going to make a lot, really.
-I'm not bothered about that, Adam.
But we'll put it in the auction.
-I'm just happy to meet you lot.
Excellent. We'll put an estimate of £20-£40, shall we?
This piece, the bowling ball,
it's not exactly part of the family heritage,
so the lady, she's getting older and we see this quite often,
a lot of people want to see things sold in their own lifetime.
"I don't want to leave it to my children.
"It'll all end up in a skip," is something we hear quite often.
So, I can see why they want to sell things
and actually have the fun out of seeing it sold,
and maybe get to spend the money themselves too.
780, the Japanese bowler's decanter.
Rather unusual with the musical movement.
And I have bids on this, and we started at 12 bid.
12 bid, 12 bid, 12 bid, 12 bid.
20. 22. 25.
28. 30. 32. 35.
This is good!
42. 45. 45. 45. Anyone else want in?
At 45. At £45!
-All the skittles down there.
-Adam said that they'd be about that.
-He did, didn't he?
He knows his onions, Adam does.
I think there are an increasing number of buyers
of this kind of thing, the sort of thing
we would have dismissed 10 or 20 years ago as pretty cheap,
tatty sort of things, but now it's retro, isn't it?
It's vintage, it's pretty cool,
and I think there is a resurgence in this type of thing.
Those kitsch plastic items from the '50s and '60s
you've got hiding in the loft could be worth money,
so dust them off and look for a mid-century sale to put them in.
There are many shops, fairs and auctions that cater for vintage
or mid-century items, and you could find them online.
Focus on one area that interests you,
and read up on the subject if you want to get ahead of the game.
Now and again, someone innocently turns up at a valuation day
without realising they've brought along something extraordinary,
and that's when the experts can really have some fun.
James had his turn in Bolton back in 2006.
What a fantastic collection of walking sticks.
We've got all types here.
Now, are these things that you've collected over the years
or are they family things?
No, my husband died last year and they were his father's.
They're all shapes and sizes,
and different sort of qualities as well.
This is fantastic.
Made from hardwood, probably made in India,
and each piece of that decoration
is in an individual silver nail head.
About 100 years old. Now, that one.
That's the most interesting one.
Owned by your father-in-law. I'm going to have a guess here.
-A dairy farmer or a farmer.
-Just a farmer.
-Did he ever have beast at all?
-Because do you have any idea what that is made from?
-No, I don't.
It's a walking stick made from a bull's penis.
-What, the whole stick?
And you'd think, "Wow," wouldn't you?
But that's exactly what it is.
It is the most amazing object you'd ever think.
But she was shocked, wasn't she?
She was genuinely shocked, and I'm not surprised.
I think anyone in their right mind would be shocked
to hear what people would do to a bull.
But there was a tradition,
especially around the dairy farming community, of doing that.
Between 1860 and 1900, there was this strange fashion.
Mind you, waste not, want not.
-So, what's the handle made of?
-It's got an iron rod down the centre to make it even worse.
-But some of them are a bit bendy.
-I can't believe it!
Now we've got to try and put a value on it. I can tell you one thing.
One thing is for sure.
It was worth a lot more to the bull than it was to anybody else,
so if we said £60-£100, as a little group,
put them all together,
-it's certainly a talking point, isn't it?
And there was more fun to be had at the saleroom,
when we took the collection to be sold by Adam Partridge.
There's a few exotic ones here,
depending on which way you look at them.
There's mahogany ones, some ebony ones,
and there's rather an unusual one, which James picked out.
-Did he pick that one out?
-Well, you know what it is, don't you?
-Yes, I do.
Yes, I've had great fun with it, because when it arrived,
I went round passing it around all the ladies in the office.
-And asking them what they thought it was made of.
None of them knew. Then, when I told them it was made from
a bull's penis, they were... quite shocked.
They were running down to the bathroom to wash their hands,
and I wasn't the most popular person that day.
We've catalogued it as a bull's pizzle,
-which I believe is...
-That's the correct term.
..the correct terminology.
But it is one of those Victorian/Edwardian
quirky things which people love.
89. There we are.
It's the bull's pizzle walking stick and various others.
A good collection of walking sticks.
One of those is made from a bull's penis, did you know that?
Is that why you're smiling?
89. There we are. Seven of these in the lot.
£100. £100 for a bull's pizzle.
50? 50 bid. At 50 bid. Five now anywhere?
At £50, I have.
At £50, a lot of fanning. Five. 60.
65 here. 70. 75.
80 in the room still.
£80. 90, sir.
90 in the room still.
At £90, at £90, 95. 100.
£100 in the room still. At 100, take 10. 110.
-It's a good decorative collection.
-160. 170. 170.
180. 210. 220.
230 now. 220 in the room.
220 in the room. All finished now at 220.
We sell, then?
230. 240. At £240...
Oh, yeah! That's a sold sound. £240.
June, I hope you're watching,
and I hope you have a big smile on your face.
Well, that really appealed to my puerile, infantile sense of humour.
I've seen a couple in the past, but this was a lovely example.
Of course, you do know that it was stretched to make it.
The market for oddities seems to be recession-proof,
so if you happen across something weird and wonderful
and it suits your budget, snap it up there and then.
It could prove to be one of the best investments you've ever made.
There's always a buzz of excitement in our evaluation days,
when a cold painted bronze turns up at one of our tables.
What I really like are the devils.
I find them really fascinating.
Will it be a Franz Bergman and worth thousands of pounds?
Well, they do vary in subject and condition,
so watch carefully if you want to learn more.
Bronzes come in all shapes and sizes,
and big isn't necessarily always best.
Lovely little model.
A lovely little thing, and I think it'll do very, very well.
-I like him.
It's worth looking out for these at auctions and car-boot sales,
where animal examples can be found relatively cheaply.
-How much did you pay for this?
You see, it is all out there.
In the late 19th and early 20th century,
there were dozens of factories in Vienna
producing cold-plated bronzes of all kinds of subjects.
After being cast,
the bronzes were decorated with layers of polychrome paint,
which was not fired to fix it to the metal,
giving rise to the name.
The technique meant the paint was easily damaged
and often flaked away, so it's important that you pay
attention to condition when buying these bronzes.
The most famous of the artists working in Vienna was Franz Bergman,
whose vibrantly-coloured bronzes,
with their incredibly detailed decoration,
stood out above all others.
Cold painted bronzes on Flog It! often fetch hundreds of pounds,
and this stag made £1,100 at auction.
But a rare example could set you back up to £20,000.
Selling at £1,100. The bid is with Chris at 1,100.
Keep your eyes open for Bergman's distinctive signature marks,
especially Namgreb, which is Birdman spelt backwards,
which he often used to sign the more erotic pieces
where naked women were hidden beneath innocent interiors.
The floodlit experts are also collectors of all sorts
of unusual items that they pick up on their travels.
And Mark Stacey's best friend is the perfect example.
Now, this little weird and wonderful chappie
is really significant to me, because it's made out of
the most ridiculous, disposable item - old fag packets.
It was created by a miner as a present for one of their children.
He must have spent hours on it.
These people had very little money in the turn of the century.
It's connected to me why?
Because my father was a miner, and so were most of his family.
In fact, he lost at least one brother in a nasty mine accident.
And I just found this languishing in an antique centre
with the label, which is still on there.
"Dog made from cigarette pieces."
But I knew what it was
because I was fortunate enough to visit Beamish Mining Museum
and I saw a number of these, and I just thought,
for something made with such love,
for it to have survived 100 years or more is really touching.
And it lives on my bookcase
and I know you've guessed this already - his name's Lucky!
Yes, he's lucky to have survived all these years like
so many fragile antiques.
Those miners used a simple and clever technique to create a toy,
and it's the inventiveness of the craftsmen that never ceases to amaze me.
Now, take a look at how this beautiful antique was created.
I think it's fair to say that man's been fascinated
with his own image as far back as the humble caveman
looking at his own reflection in a pool of water.
But it was the Chinese, really,
some 500 years AD that came up with the idea of polishing
a piece of precious metal like a little bit of silver that could be
hand-held to use as a looking glass to see your own reflection.
But it wasn't until the 1600s, the early part of the 17th-century,
that the looking glass as we know it - the mirror - really took off.
The Venetians were the best in the world at blowing glass,
and that's exactly what a mirror is, a piece of hand-blown glass.
It would then be ground down to something perfectly flat.
This process would take hours on a massive great big marble slab
to a thickness of about two or three millimetres.
It was hard, dirty work,
and then a section of this glass would be cut to size
and then it would be dipped into a tray of mercury and tin.
It would be backed.
This created the mirror.
You could see your reflection in it,
purely because of this concoction of mercury and tin.
By the 1850s, the use of mercury was dropped
and it was replaced by silver, which was a much safer technique,
but there is a big difference between a mirror that's been
silver-backed and a mirror that's been mercury-backed.
I've brought along one of my mirrors as an example.
This mirror dates to around 1720, George I,
and it does have its original mercury glass back to it.
And that's why I bought it.
If this mirror had been replaced with a bit of silvered glass
or new glass, I think the value of the mirror would be 40% less.
So that's something to look out for.
Please, when you buy an early mirror like this,
try not to buy one with a piece of glass that's been replaced
because really it's the glass that you're buying.
All the skill has gone into that.
Now, the thing to look for is, take a pencil, put it on the glass.
The point of the pencil meets the point of the pencil
in its reflection directly underneath.
If this was a new mirror, let's say from 1850 onwards,
the point of the pencil would be a millimetre
or so away from the point, so they just wouldn't meet up.
So, the next time you come across a mirror that looks a little
bit like this, old and useless, don't disregard it, snap it up!
You could be buying a piece of history.
Now, back to the rare rhino horn cup which turned up
at our valuation day in Scotland.
Amid all the excitement of the Bonhams sale approaching,
brother and sister Tom and Evelyn got some devastating news.
Their mother, who owned the cup originally, had sadly passed away.
Well, we were quite upset that she didn't get to be on the TV
because she was a wonderful 93 years old.
But...she would've wanted us to go ahead, so that's what we did.
We went ahead with it and got the benefit.
Lot number 470.
-£5,000 for it. £5,000 is offered. Thank you, madam.
6,000. 500. 7,000. 500.
8,000. 500. 9,000.
The phones are coming in now. 9,500. 10,000. 11,000.
13,000. New bidder.
Do we get a smile? Yeah, smile.
-18,000 against you.
-'I think it's sort of surreal.
'You feel like you're not really there.'
I think it was cos it was like it wasn't really happening.
You know, but it did happen.
-20,000, new bidder.
-26,000! I'm tingling. I am tingling! Are you tingling?
The bid's at £26,000.
And there was a slight pause about £27,000.
And we thought that, naturally, that was it, finished.
But, no, the telephone started again!
Oh, come on. Take it!
-£30,000 I have behind you.
34,000. 36,000 over here. 38,000.
Astounding! £40,000! £40,000 on the left.
Against the phones, against both the ladies. The bid's at £40,000.
I actually said I can't believe that somebody would pay that much
money for such a small thing.
42,000. Just in time.
42,000. It's the lady's bid here.
Against the telephones. Against you, far left and against you standing.
Ladies, please, in the centre. £42,000.
I can't believe it. £42,000.
No? 42,000, I'm selling it, lady here in the Bonham's boardroom...
Saleroom at 44,000. With the hammer.
At £44,000 on the telephone,
selling it, then, for £44,000.
You're quite sure, madam?
I can't believe somebody wants it that badly.
£44,000. The auctioneer's asking...
On the telephone at £44,000.
You're all done. Sold!
-Thank you very much!
-What's it worth? £44,000.
Congratulations, Tom. Congratulations, Evelyn.
Do I get a kiss for that? What a lovely kiss that was!
What an incredible result! The most valuable item ever sold on the show.
I think I was nearly as stunned as Tom and Evelyn.
So, what did they do once they got over their shock?
It did actually come in quite handy for me
because I had a couple of small debts which I paid off,
but I still had something left so I got my laptop
which I kept talking about. I kept saying, "I'm wanting a laptop."
And Tom was able to blow some of his windfall
and indulge in his love of cars.
I wouldn't say I'm a speed hog...
I actually appreciate the rumble of the engine and the sportiness.
He bought himself a nippy run-around.
Of course, I drive within the legal limit, most times!
And enjoyed a track day at his local circuit.
Selling a family heirloom that's been passed down through
the generations can be a tough decision to make,
but that libation cup was worth a fortune
which Tom and Evelyn have been able to enjoy to the full.
Well, that's it for today's show.
Good luck with all the buying and the selling and do join us
again soon for more Trade Secrets.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Paul Martin and the Flog It! experts revisit 12 years of the programme to explore the theme of weird and wonderful antiques and collectables.
The team offers tips and insider advice on which unusual objects to look out for and which to avoid. Adam Partridge and Philip Serrell divulge some of the oddities in their own collections and we revisit a very rare Flog It! find.