Antiques series. The team look at the work of pioneering designers and craftsmen, and Paul Martin unravels the story of the co-operative movement's early days.
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For over a decade now,
you've been bringing the Flog It! team your unwanted antiques and collectables,
and we've helped you sell around £1 million worth to date.
-I don't believe it!
-I'm going to sell.
Yes! I like that sound, that is the "sold" sound.
Don't you just love auctions?
During that time we've all learnt a great deal about the items that
have passed through our hands.
In this series I want to share some of that knowledge with you,
so stand by to hear our experts' Trade Secrets.
The world of antiques is full of wonderful
and valuable objects of all kinds.
But the most interesting pieces are generally those
produced by mavericks and pioneers,
people who dared to do things differently.
So in today's show we are celebrating the men and women
whose innovation and genius have left a lasting legacy.
We get a glimpse of the true brilliance
of Flog It's favourite maverick.
It's probably one of the best pieces of Moorcroft I've seen on Flog It!
-Not bad, eh?
One of haute couture's trendsetters
proves to be a surprise hit at auction.
I was flabbergasted. I think I said it three times.
I am flabbergasted!
And I trace the history of a truly ground-breaking enterprise.
It's said they hopped and skipped down Toad Lane just after midnight
thrilled to bits that they opened their honest, Co-operative shop.
There are some names we quite often hear on the show
and instantly you think of William Moorcroft, George Jones,
Geoffrey Baxter of Whitefriars Glass fame.
You've probably got a few yourself.
The list is a long one.
But there's something all these people have in common
with each other - they are all pioneers of their field.
But what makes them worthy of the collectors' interest?
Pioneers are probably one of the most important types of people
because they bring about the changes
that we need to develop as a society.
My definition of "pioneer" is someone that goes somewhere
that nobody has been before.
It might be discovering a continent,
but perhaps it's working in a new material.
Somebody like Charles Horner, who worked out of Halifax
and was fabulous with Art Nouveau jewellery.
William Morris was a pioneer. Mackintosh was a pioneer.
Anything by them would be incredibly expensive.
Why not think in terms of Georg Jensen jewellery?
You can buy a Georg Jensen silver ring for less than £100.
Great names all of them.
We've had the privilege of encountering many works
by those pioneering craftsmen of the past.
And we've stumbled on more modern ones too.
At a valuation day in 2009,
Thomas Plant got his hands on an item
from one of the giants of 20th-century fashion.
Tell me about it and how it came into your possession.
Well, my grandmother gave it to me
when I was about ten and I've had it ever since.
I don't know much more about it other than it's Christian Dior, I believe.
It is Christian Dior. We can see it from here.
The mark there is Christian Dior.
Of course that conjures up all these wonderful fashion items etc
and high-end jewellery.
But this is Christian Dior the costume jeweller
we are looking at here.
Christian Dior - after the Second World War
he sort of established his business
as the first global fashion house.
You have the aspirational haute couture which the Hollywood stars
would wear, by Christian Dior.
And I think in the '50s and '60s his costume jewellery was aspirational.
You could actually buy a piece of Christian Dior. He'd realised
that there was going to be demand for his product, his design.
And hence, that's why his costume jewellery is so good
Now, it is costume jewellery, we should explain that.
You've got the mauve stones and the pink, and this is glass
or diamante or paste, as we call it, on a base metal.
"Vintage" is a new word for antiques. Vintage is very cool.
So if you're going out to a party
and you're putting on vintage Dior, they'll all ask,
"Where is that from?" "Actually, it's vintage."
It's Dior, isn't it?"
It would probably make over £50,
but I should have the estimate sort of £70-£100.
If it had been...
an unknown piece of costume jewellery, which you get
quite a lot, I'd probably have said not worth selling.
It's quite a difficult subject to sell in a traditional saleroom
-like this, but we're going to give it a go.
-OK. Here we go.
Fingers crossed. You never know what's going to
happen at an auction. let's check this one out.
And as it happened, quite a few bidders also wanted to check it out.
110. 120. 130. 140. 150. 160.
-Lady's bid now. 160. 170 now.
160. At 160. 170 on the phone. 180.
190 if you like. 190.
-200. At 200.
-They absolutely love this!
-They do know it's paste?
I was flabbergasted. I think I said it three times.
-I am flabbergasted.
Did you miss something, Thomas?
-Do they know something we don't know?
-I don't know!
-What's going through your mind right now?
-Oh, I can't believe it!
Good old Nana!
At £440. It's on the phone at 440...
-Incredible! £440. Angela, that's wonderful!
-Thank you so much.
-Good old Nana, eh?
-Yeah, good old Nana!
I can get something really nice with that.
I am flabbergasted.
Auctions are a real education
and whenever I see a piece of Christian Dior
costume jewellery now, I give it a lot more attention than I used to.
Me, too, Thomas!
Since that auction I won't pass a piece of paste jewellery
without checking it out to see
if it bears one of the big fashion house names.
Without doubt it was the mark of the pioneering designer Dior
which made Angie's bracelet fly.
Now, Elizabeth Talbot knew she was on to a winner when she came across
a piece of pottery by a designer who is a firm favourite on this show.
I did like Beryl's vase.
Her Moorcroft vase was a delight.
It's probably one of the best pieces of Moorcroft I've seen on Flog It!
What can you tell me about it?
My parents had it as a wedding present in 1929,
so it's been around all my life.
'William Moorcroft was a pioneer to the extent'
that his methods of production were very individual,
from the handcrafting of the pot on the wheel through to the
tube lining, a bit like decorating a cake.
Throughout the 20th century his designs
and his factory's successive designs have remained very much
accessible and relevant to the generations that have followed on.
It's a very distinctive and quite a rare pattern by Moorcroft.
I have to hold my hands up at this point
and say I can't remember the name of the pattern.
But it is one of the rarer patterns.
The whole methodology of production was very pioneering
and it hasn't been bettered or really improved on in terms of that
type of pottery since the late 19th century.
His factory is renowned for the double firing.
So the pot with the colour was fired
and then the clear glaze was put on top and then it was fired again.
And that's what's really lifts those marvellous colours out
and makes it so vibrant and distinctive.
What do you think it might be worth, offered to the market?
Well, I would have thought it has to be at least £150-£200,
but I think it might be more than that.
Well, it might be, yeah.
It's rather charming
when people underestimate the value of their items,
and it makes my job so much easier and far more enjoyable
when I can break good news rather than having to beat them
down from high expectations which are not achievable.
I would like to see this sell for between £700 and £1,000.
-Does that please you?
And the man whose job it was to make good on Elizabeth's estimate
was Flog It! regular Will Axon. So what did he make of the vase?
This was a nice early piece.
A William Moorcroft piece, signed on the base, an impressed Moorcroft.
The shape was quite interesting,
that sort of subtle baluster vase, which is very desirable.
You can value them to a certain degree on the more general patterns, by size and shape.
-But I suspect if she had known the name of the pattern,
which incidentally is Moonlit Blue,
I mean, at £700-£1,000
they'd be queuing up with the chequebooks at that sort of estimate.
I've got interest. At 500. 550. 600. 650. 700.
At 700. And it's in the market. 750. 800.
850. 900. 950. 1,000. 1,100. 1,200. 1,300.
-They absolutely love it.
1,450. It all helps. 1,500.
And another 50. At 1,500 I'm bid here. Try me again, sir.
At £1,500 I'm bid here. At 1,500.
Who else is in now? At £1,500. Are you sure?
I shall sell it. The hammer is up. On commission then, at £1,500...
-Not bad, eh? What are you going to put all that money towards?
-Go on a train journey to Austria.
-Oh, are you?
-Oh, how romantic!
This particular vase sold very well indeed, partly because of the
pattern, which is relatively rare, so a very choice collector's piece.
It was a nice size and the pattern suited the shape
and the condition was great.
Yes, Beryl's vase certainly had a lot going for it,
especially the name Moorcroft, whose items always do the business.
There are of course other pioneering potters. Take Clarice Cliff,
she was a leading businesswoman whose Jazz Age designs
bucked the trend.
Today there's a huge market for her work
and we see many pieces on the show.
-The magic name of Clarice Cliff.
Which is so desirable and so collectable.
Clarice Cliff is an old Flog It! favourite.
If you're eager to become a Clarice Cliff collector,
get to know your subject. When buying always check condition.
This is key. But it's also worth researching the pattern.
I've never seen this in this blue colour before.
You'd normally see this colour in reds and greens.
Clarice Cliff always does well at auction,
but some of her rarer designs can fly.
Gosh, this is rare! They know something we don't know, Philip.
Are we all done at £2,700?
Hammer's gone down. What a wonderful moment. £2,700!
What a result!
But it isn't just the great designers like Clarice Cliff
who demonstrated a pioneering spirit.
It was also the merchants who sold their wares.
In 1875 a new London emporium opened its doors.
It quickly became known for its eclectic and cutting-edge stock.
Arthur Lasenby set up Liberty's, which was a quite new
and innovative type of department store at that time.
And his association with the finest craftsmen
and artists of the day certainly showed in the goods that he sold.
He wanted to sell things which were, erm, innovative.
The most exciting goods, the best quality goods.
They are made of pewter and the pewter is hand-hammered.
They have these asymmetric squares on them
and we have the little enamelled medallions in the middle.
So they are aesthetically pleasing.
If we look on the back, we can see that these are called Tudric.
Tudric was the name for the Arts And Crafts pewter
that was made for Liberty & Company.
We had all sorts of boxes.
We had we had frames of clocks, Arts And Crafts, Art Nouveau -
these were the themes, the feeling that these items had.
-Where did you get them?
-Well, they belong to my son, really.
-I'm just bringing them in on his behalf.
-Where did he get them?
-I believe he got them at a boot sale.
-A car boot story, I love them!
How much did you pay for them?
Not a lot, knowing my son.
Probably under a tenner, I'd think.
I would put an auction estimate on these of £60-£80.
They may do more than that.
We do have a pair and they do have the Tudric name on them.
Anita was confident that the car boot napkins were going to
make a good return on their money.
What did auctioneer Claire Rawle think?
I love it if something has Liberty on it because you know it is
going to appeal across the board and is going to make good money.
That name is just so popular.
And this one I have to start away at £100.
-At 100. Do I see 110 in the room? At £100.
110. 120. 130. The bid is in the room now at £130.
At £130. Are you all done? Selling then at 130...
-The hammer's gone down.
Do you know, I wish it was as easy to turn
£4 into £130 just like that every day of the week.
It was a good price for the napkin rings.
I felt they made good money and it was down to the Liberty's name.
When you see the name Liberty and Tudric on an item, you know
that it's going to soar.
So the next time you're trawling a car boot, jumble sale or a
charity shop, it's definitely worth keeping an eye out for this stamp.
But what other innovative names are worth considering?
Well, Rene Lalique was a great pioneer in 20th-century glass-making.
And he was widely copied as a result afterwards by other glass-makers.
But they never managed to achieve the sort of design quality
and the production quality that Lalique used to achieve.
There was quite a range of glass that was produced - bowls
and vases and, of course, car mascots.
Sue, very nice to see you here in Hereford Cathedral.
Has this come off one of your cars?
Unfortunately not, because I think he would have gone on a Rolls-Royce.
-Right! He's a Lalique mascot.
He's a falcon, known as the Faucon.
-Designed in 1925, I believe.
And we've got the moulded Lalique mark just there.
What you did in those days, of course,
you didn't just have your Rolls-Royce with your
silver lady or whatever on the front,
you'd get your own mascot that you fancied for your car.
So you'd go and you say you wanted want a falcon or an eagle or a fox,
and then you'd have that done.
So they weren't made for specific cars,
they were made for the people who then bought them for their cars.
Condition, the chip to the beak,
which obviously drastically compromises the value.
There were often damaged, of course.
A glass mascot on front of a car isn't going to last long,
and I would have thought a few of them probably got pinched.
I think in good condition, this is £500's worth.
-I would have thought about 400-ish.
-£400-£500 in good condition.
-But because of the chip, I'd halve it, probably.
-As much as that?
-So 200 to 300, I'd think, is sensible.
-I think so.
-I would have thought less.
-You'd have thought less?
-Less than 200?
Well, that's what I'd just guessed.
Well, I figure 200 to 300 is a sensible guide on it.
There's a huge demand for all sorts of Lalique,
especially the early Lalique, and especially car mascots, actually.
But I'm acutely aware of the fact that any damage -
particularly on a piece of glass, that can't be restored, it can't
be made good, it's always going to have that chip on its beak -
I thought that would drastically reduce the price.
Was Adam right? Time to find out.
-I'm bid £500.
-That's a good start.
At £500 only.
-Twice the price already!
550 on the telephone. 580.
On the net, 580.
-That's the beauty of auctions, isn't it?
-Two people or more...
600 on the telephone.
620 on the net. 650. 680.
£700 only, on the telephone.
On the net at 720.
Is there any more?
£720 and done...
-It's made its money. 720.
It was damaged. Um...
But I'm not surprised it made what it did
just because of the strong areas of collecting.
-That's fabulous, Sue.
-I'd have got 700-800 if it was perfect.
I never thought it would make anything like that.
Indeed, I had undercooked the estimate.
Partridge values falcon too low.
We are quite familiar with the work of Rene Lalique on Flog It!
And often we see high prices realised at auction.
But Sue's car mascot, that took us all completely by surprise.
It had double the appeal.
The Lalique collectors were fighting it out
with the car mascot enthusiasts.
And there really is a huge market out there for the rarer designs.
In 2011 a Rene Lalique mascot of a fox sold for around £125,000.
And if you're interested in pioneering makers like Lalique,
what should you be aware of?
Never underestimate the value of a good name.
It can increase the worth of a collectable exponentially.
-Angela, that's wonderful!
-Thank you so much, that's great.
If you're investing in pieces from one of the leading potteries,
consider shape, colour and rarity of pattern
to find a winner.
And always think out of the box.
It's not only the designers' names you should keep an eye out for.
The association with an innovative retailer like Liberty
can help a collectible soar.
Liberty never revealed the names of its designers,
but between 1899 and 1912,
there was one prolific artist on its books whose work was so distinctive,
his name just couldn't be kept secret.
It's made by Liberty and the famous designer Archibald Knox
and when you put those two names together,
-of course it's a very, very collectible field.
The nice thing with Knox's work is it's very different.
You can see in his designs almost immediately
if it's an Archibald Knox piece, the way it's organic,
the enamelling is wonderful,
you get a very rich texture in the enamelling,
which is very appealing and which, of course,
adds a lot of value to the pieces.
And when Knox collectibles come up for sale,
they achieve great prices.
All done at £430? Any advance on 430? 430.
They've done it, £430. That'll do you, won't it?
Oh, yeah, champion, there.
Archibald Knox was born on the Isle of Man in 1864.
At a young age, he joined the newly-opened Douglas School of Art,
where he developed a lifelong interest in Celtic design.
His creative talent blossomed
and he designed a huge range of both ornamental
and utilitarian objects - clocks, jewellery,
tea sets, boxes, garden ornaments,
ink wells, carpets, fabrics and even gravestones.
His work at Liberty made him a household name.
He was one of their leading designers,
creating items for its Pewter Tudric range
and the Cymric range, made from precious metals.
Knox's sense of his Celtic ancestry can be seen in the stylised knots
decorating many of his wares.
These were often intertwined with flowering Art Nouveau motifs.
What I particularly like about it
are these little sort of Art Nouveau, heart-shaped roundels here,
which are rather nice.
So what do you need to know if you're interested
in collecting items by Archibald Knox?
Get to know your subject.
Although Knox's Liberty pieces weren't signed,
his designs often shout his name, but if in doubt,
look at a pattern number,
which can be related to a known book of Knox designs.
When considering one of Knox's silver items from the Cymric range,
check for a clear hallmark
and make sure the item hasn't been altered or isn't a cast copy.
Pewter is far softer than silver,
so with Knox's items from the Tudric range,
consider the clarity of the design and the original patination.
You should also take into account
any wear to the pattern from over-polishing.
If you're only going to invest in one Knox collectible,
then his clock cases in either silver or pewter
are a timeless favourite,
especially those which incorporate enamels into the decorative scheme.
Pioneers work across all areas of society, not just in design.
In mid-19th century Rochdale,
the Industrial Revolution brought benefits but also misery,
with long working hours, low pay, grinding poverty and hunger.
But those desperate living conditions
proved to be a force for good.
Back in 2007, I went to find out more.
A radical group of young men who, appalled at what they saw,
decided to offer the people of Rochdale an alternative,
a different way to feed their families and a chance
to escape the appalling poverty
and the conditions that most of them faced.
These young men were called the Rochdale Pioneers
and it was here 160 years ago
that their story began, right here in Toad Lane.
In fact, this building,
number 31, is regarded as the home of the Co-op.
This is where the Co-op began.
Let's go in.
So who were the men who started the Co-op, the Rochdale Pioneers?
Well, I've come to find out
and I'm here to meet the Co-op's historian, Dorothy Greaves.
-Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Where did it all start and why?
Well, it started because of the absolute poverty in this area.
People were starving because wages had gone right down from, say,
up to £2 a week to five shillings, six and ninepence.
When you had eight children, six and ninepence didn't go very far.
Of course, shop keepers used to adulterate their food
to make more profit.
What, give the wrong weights and the wrong measures?
They put sand in the oatmeal,
plaster of Paris and chalk in the flour,
-brown earth in the cocoa.
-Leaves from the trees in the tea.
And, of course, they put the blobs of lead on the back of the scales.
Now, everybody knew the lead was there, of course they did,
but everybody was in debt to the shopkeepers.
Angered by the poverty the people of Rochdale faced,
the Pioneers decided to save a small amount of their wages each week
so they could start their own co-operative shop.
They got £28 together and started looking for an empty shop
and then they came across this building.
So then it was a question of, "Right, lads, what's next?"
"Ee, well, we better do summat wit' t'walls."
"What about a counter?"
"I think a few planks and two barrels will do it."
-Incredible, isn't it?
-And then they bought some scales.
No lead on these scales. This was an honest co-operative, of course.
So tell me about the very first opening day.
-That was a red-letter night.
-Oh, a night?
Yes, don't forget these men had to do their own jobs during the day.
They couldn't give their jobs up,
so they were supposed to open at seven o'clock,
but there was such a big crowd waiting outside making such a noise,
all the cheeky doffers from the mill shouting,
"Come on, when are you going to open?"
"Hurry up, what are you selling?"
"Come on, it's dark, it's cold! Come on!"
All that noise made these men nervous.
The three anxious Pioneers in the shop that night were
James Smithies, Billy Cooper and Sam Ashworth.
Seven o'clock came and went, got to ten to eight, still haven't opened.
James said, "Come on, you lads, who's going to open the door?"
"Oh, no," they go.
So he went round and he opened the door wide.
There was such a rush forward from outside to see what was happening.
They heard so many stories, but what do they see?
This tiny dark room.
Just a few flickering candles.
Nine sacks on the floor.
And a bit of butter on the end of the counter.
One or two ladies walked in, then they walked out.
Then an old lady walked in and she asked for sugar.
And that was the very first sale here.
They went on to have a lovely evening and actually took five shillings and fourpence.
-I mean, how great can you get?
-Yeah, history was made.
It said, they hopped and skipped down Toad Lane just after midnight,
thrilled to bits that they had opened their honest co-operative shop.
So what happened when the group realised this was a roaring success?
One of the big things they did was to decide that
2.5% of their profits would to go education.
-They realised knowledge is power.
So they actually had a school for their members upstairs.
They did so many things.
And then, eventually they decided, let's have a nice big department store."
So by 1867, they bought a piece of land higher up Toad Lane
and they built a magnificent department store.
What an inspirational story.
The Rochdale Pioneers proved what can be achieved
when people come together and work for a common cause.
The world of antiques would be a poorer place
without the talent and vision of those rare individuals
whose pioneering approach pushed the boundaries of their craft.
-Not bad, eh?!
And there's little doubt
that the astonishingly innovative work they produce
will continue to be sought after for many more years to come.
Well, that's it for today's show.
I hope you've enjoyed it, so go out there, buy some antiques,
have some fun and put some of this knowledge to good use.
And see you next time for more Trade Secrets.
The Trade Secrets team take a look at the work of pioneering designers and craftsmen, and Paul Martin unravels the story of the co-operative movement's early days.