Antiques series. This episode is about all that glisters, and expert Anita Manning finds a couple of out-of-this-world compacts.
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For many years, you've trusted the "Flog It!" team to value
and sell your unwanted antiques and collectibles.
Of all the official jewels that you could possibly bring along today,
these are fabulous.
And during that time we've learned a great deal about the objects
that have passed through our hands.
In this series, I want to share some of that knowledge with you
so stand by to hear some of our trade secrets.
When it comes to hunting for treasures, like magpies,
we're always drawn to things that sparkle and glint
and we see so many exquisite gold and silver items on Flog It!
Today's show is dedicated to everything that glisters -
all the shiny objects that have crossed our tables at valuation day.
Coming up, the kids are in town...
When little Katie put them on the table, I thought,
I've never seen these before!
And they have treasures to impress the experts.
This is the highlight of my day.
As well as the bidders.
-What do you think about that?
Now, it doesn't always follow that
if an item has been made of precious metal or adorned with gems
that it's going to increase in value, but in most cases it does.
Now, take this exquisite example of Huguenot craftsmanship made in 1710.
Reputedly, it is the world's largest solid silver wine cooler
and it weighs a staggering 3,000 ounces.
Now, if this same wine cooler had been made using the finest
Cuban mahogany of the day, richly carved and adorned
like this has been, it would set you back around £20,000-£30,000.
This one, well, you can definitely add another couple of noughts,
so when does that extra sparkle make all the difference?
When buying a precious metal object in silver or gold,
name and craftsmanship are absolutely crucial, alongside
condition and markings etc.
I would always advise people to be
guided by the individual quality of an object
and if you just buy on names, you could come a cropper.
The name can be the value, rarely, but not all pieces are named,
so if it is an unnamed piece, go for quality of craftsmanship.
A good finish, good materials and you can't really go wrong.
Anything fashioned from gold
and silver has that extra little je ne sais quoi that our experts love,
and Adam Partridge knew exactly what he had in front of him.
They were really, really smart, enamelled with birds,
in lovely condition, by a great maker.
They ticked all the commercial boxes.
Aren't they wonderful?
Silver and enamel menu holders,
obviously for the dining table, in sets of eight and upwards.
These were produced by a company called Sampson Mordan & Co,
which is quite a famous company,
particularly well known for inventing the propelling pencil.
Sampson Mordan is one of the major names in small silver, I would say.
They were prolific manufactures, but always very high quality
and small items. Desktop items, ink wells, the list is endless.
They assayed items in London, Birmingham, and these ones,
more of interest to me, as I'm in the north-west,
were assayed in Chester...
which is slightly rarer, slightly more interesting,
than the ones that were in Birmingham or London.
We can put an estimate of £100 to £150, but I wouldn't be surprised
if they made more like £200 to £250 once the bidding had happened.
Two silver menu holders. It gets exciting now. Here we go.
Were they going to fly at auction?
We've got 520 here. 550, 580...
-I can't believe this.
£700. There's the bid on that telephone at £700.
At £700 and done, thank you.
-Excellent, thank you.
What do you think? A big smile there.
Small silver is extremely desirable,
so I was a bit conservative with my estimate on those ones.
Oh, well, Adam, at least you were right
about the collectability of Sampson Mordan.
Their charm and quality always attract the buyers.
Why not see if you can find any of their propelling pencils,
enamelled vesta cases or pin cushions?
Small items with glittering prices.
We often come across this question on "Flog it!" -
to scrap or not to scrap our precious objects
made of gold or silver?
And the team is divided on the matter.
Scrapping is a real bugbear of mine
and it's not a big question for me at all.
I can't stand it that things get scrapped.
If something is horrible, it's thin and tinny,
and has no artistic merit whatsoever,
but it's worth £300 if you melt it down,
melt it down and hopefully an artisan silversmith
will get hold of that and make something beautiful.
If you've got a lovely piece, though, beautifully made,
don't scrap it, because it'll probably be a one-off
and there won't be another one around,
so think carefully before you put everything in a melting pot.
When we scrap gold or silver,
we're aiming to maximise price by weight,
but when Michael Baggott came across a silver teapot,
it wasn't so much the weight that appealed, as what it told him.
It's a super thing,
and anybody that knows anything about silver will be looking at that
and saying, "Oh, that's a beautiful London teapot of about 1830." But...
Oh! The first hint that something's up
is the fact that I'm having difficult lifting it.
Lifting it, yes.
Weight, when you're looking at silver, is a very good indicator,
not in itself, but taken as a whole, as to quality.
Obviously, the heavier something is,
the more expensive it is to make,
so obviously there might be more
skill required in the manufacture of it.
-Actually, the second thing is this handle.
-Because it's horn.
English handles are silver with ivory insulators or they're wood,
so we're not in England anymore.
Turn it over, and, great, that's what we want to see.
We've got H&C in a rectangular punch,
then we've got an elephant, which is signs of things not English,
and a little A.
These are the marks that were used by Hamilton and Company,
who were probably the leading silversmiths in Calcutta,
and things were worked to a very heavy gauge.
So whenever you see something which is very elaborate like this
and it weighs a tonne, those are the warning bells that it's going
to be a piece of colonial silver.
It's still not, frustratingly, as valuable as if it were English,
despite the fact it's much rarer.
Rarity doesn't always mean value,
because it can mean that there are less collectors,
and if there are less collectors for something, it won't make as high a price at auction.
At auction, it's going to be in the region of about £350 to £550.
-That's the sort of bracket and see how it goes.
A piece like this is about so much more than its weight.
It evokes an important part of British history.
But would the bidders agree?
I'm going to start the bidding at 600. Is there 20 in the room?
-At £600, it's selling.
-Is there 20? At £600. Any more?
At £600. Commission bid. Are you all done? That's £600, last time.
Yes, the hammer's gone down. £600.
Strangely, at the time we sold it, it was less valuable
than an English teapot,
because Indian colonial silver was in a slump.
That's now not the case and colonial silver is sought after,
so were it to be offered again today,
it would probably make slightly more.
But that's just how the markets go.
Sophia's solid silver teapot may have conjured up
the days of the Raj, but Anita found two starry items which oozed
the style of another bygone era, and were truly out of this world.
These wonderful compacts from the 1950s were absolutely marvellous.
When little Katie put them on the table, I thought,
"I've never seen these before!"
-Do they belong to you?
-Yeah, they do.
-Do you play with them?
Compacts you usually keep in your handbag to powder your nose
when you're out. These are like dressing table examples of them.
If we open it up, it's very interesting.
It's called The Flying Saucer.
It is a lot of fun. I like it.
This other one, again a dressing table example,
and this one is called Pygmalion, Made in England.
The inventiveness and the reflection of what was happening at the time
was shown in these little compacts
and I think they were really just the best fun in the world
and a perfect example of 1950s bags of style.
I think we'll estimate them
at maybe £50-60 with a reserve of maybe 45
but hope that we've got those hip kids
that are out for that type of item.
I can start the bidding straightaway at £120.
180. 180 on commission.
On the phone at 200. 220.
No? At £240, these very rare compacts.
-What did you think about that?
What mattered was the style
and the period. That's what made these items interesting,
not the components
that made the item.
The sparkly nature of those compacts was only part of their appeal.
Their space-age kitsch was a real bonus.
Appealing to people's nostalgia can prove profitable.
Sometimes, though, all that glisters is indeed gold,
or in this case, a very special piece of silver.
There is absolutely no doubt that this is the highlight of my day.
-Do you know what you've got here?
-No, not really.
-I had a quick look last night on the internet.
-What name did you find?
-Never heard of him.
You'd never heard of him? What's it made of?
-It is indeed.
Very, very typical piece.
You could see this was Omar Ramsden from the other end of Ely Cathedral.
Omar Ramsden was born in 1873, died in 1939,
and was one of the great 20th-century silversmiths
in this country.
Quality, quality, quality, but also he did his own enamelling.
A lot of silversmiths would send their work off to an enameller
to have that work done.
He did his own enamelling so that he did the whole object.
And it's hugely collectible.
I'm going to turn it over, just so we get all the info here.
The monarch, there we are, George V, and the date letter, 1935,
and it's even got Omar Ramsden and the OR mark on it.
Frankly, it couldn't be better. What's it worth, Jack?
-I don't know, 500, maybe?
-£500, you think?
Jack was a very bright boy, IS a bright boy,
but I can't believe he looked at a bit of Omar Ramsden and said,
"I think this is worth £500," not at his age.
Well, he's got a huge future ahead of him if it was his own valuation.
This is worth over £1,000.
Oh, that was a funny noise, Jack!
This is worth, in my opinion, certainly £1,000-1,500.
Wow, indeed, and at auction the shocks kept coming.
1,100, 1,200, 1,300,
-We've done it.
2,200, 2,300, you're both out down here.
-2,400 this side.
-This is great, Jane.
2,600. At 2,600, look at the action pose.
2,600 there. Where are the other two phones now?
I sell on the phone with the bid.
At £2,600, are you sure you're done?
-The hammer's gone down.
OK, Jack, do you know where all the money's going?
-Has Mum and Dad decided?
-To my bank.
The Jack Bank!
A good, full price,
but it was the quality.
Everybody knows that if you buy the best
and you buy a bit of Omar Ramsden,
the fact that it's 2,600 on that day -
it comes up in another five years' time, it'll be 3,600.
It's not going to go down.
There's no more of it being made
and that was a perfect hallmark,
no chipping to the enamelling. The whole thing was perfect.
If you can't stretch to gold or silver, take my advice -
go out and buy some pewter.
That would be my number one choice.
Start off with the small plates,
18th-century ones, with a stamp on it, the maker's initial,
known as a touch mark.
They start at around £30-60 in auction.
Work your way up to the larger plates, the chargers.
Hopefully, get one with a broad rim, late 17th-century,
again, with a bit of punch detail,
a stamp mark on it and a little bit of wriggle work, as it's known,
decoration in the style of William and Mary or King Charles II.
Now, they're affordable as well.
They start at around £100-200 in pretty average condition,
so there you are, get out there and get buying.
It's great way to get into precious metal.
If you're interested in something shiny
that's a cut above the rest, there's a lot to think about.
Bear in mind changing fashions.
Objects go in and out of vogue,
so think about whether it shines out above the crowd now
or whether it makes sense to hang onto it for the future.
On trend right now are British colonial objects
and seek out home-grown, retro, quirky items
which have a new-found appeal.
A good name can help increase the value.
But named or not, remember the mantra -
quality and craftsmanship
and if you can tick those boxes, you'll have a piece
that should endure the changing fluctuations in fashion.
And there's a simple trick to test whether all that glisters is gold...
..use a magnet.
Iron or nickel will jump to a magnet,
while gold and silver won't be drawn towards it at all.
And finally, take a leaf out of Katie and Jack's book.
Encourage children's early interest in collecting
and you never know -
you could be looking at the antique collectors of the future.
-The hammer's gone down.
An area of collecting that has huge appeal is coins.
You shower us with them on "Flog it!".
From commemorative coins, to gold sovereigns,
whole collections and coins made into jewellery.
We're a nation, I think, of collectors.
I coined the term collectaholics.
They're absolutely addicted.
So I can relate to it. Although I've never been particularly bitten by
the coin bug myself, I can certainly understand why you'd want to.
But it's easy to feel overwhelmed by over 2,000 years' worth of coins
to choose from. So, where to begin?
There are a few key things that collectors bear in mind,
and Michael Baggott came across a coin that encapsulated all of them.
This is a fantastic condition gold coin.
We've got the head of King James I.
He reigned from 1603 to 1625.
The denomination of this is actually a laurel.
We've got the denomination actually struck here, which is XX,
and that's the number of shillings it represents.
So, it's a 20 shilling piece.
We have to think about a whole series of things
when we value coins. These, which are hammered coin...
And a hammered coin is anything that is struck by hand
and does not have a milled edge.
The first thing is, how even is the flan?
The flan being the surface of the coin.
We've got a little bit of trimming here, but that's fine.
But really, it is in absolutely wonderful condition.
And at the auction, it was clear the collectors agreed.
1,150, for the gentleman behind you. At 1,150...
Condition, condition, condition.
Good price, £1,150.
That coin perfectly sums up the things to check for
if you're thinking of collecting.
Most important is condition.
You can get something that's incredibly early,
or even a Roman coin, and it can be worth a very small amount
unless the condition is very crisp and fine.
Really, you've got to look for condition.
Still on really early coins, you can get some that were
in uncirculated condition.
You can still see just the very finest
wisps of hair on the monarch's head and they are beautiful.
And whatever you do, don't be tempted to polish your coin.
That all-important patina of age
shows that something is the genuine article.
And that's what the collectors want to see.
If a coin is not supposed to have a hole in it,
and it has a hole in it,
it's not worth anything as a coin, so remember that.
A lot of coins have been turned into jewellery
and they've been drilled or they have jewellery mounts still on them.
If you see any blemishes like that,
a coin collector would no longer be interested in it,
and it's worth then its scrap value.
Inevitably, very rare coins are highly sought after
and can fetch staggering sums.
This Queen Anne, period Vigo, five guinea coin from 1703
sold for £240,000 in 2012.
As with any collecting, it always pays to do your research.
If you're collecting coins, go immediately
and get yourself very good guides to coins. You're lost without it.
Then you know what you're looking at.
Then get familiar with condition.
You're only going to know that if you go to specialists
and handle coins in that condition and become familiar with it.
Once you've done that, there are enough price guides and general
reference works for you to work out a framework and collect from there.
Coins are collectable for many reasons.
They're a window into history,
they have intrinsic gold value, and they're terribly rare.
But you might be surprised to hear that one of the most collectable
coins on the market seems at first glance
to be one of the most ordinary...
the humble penny.
In 1933, the Royal Mint only struck a tiny number of pennies,
as there were already enough in circulation.
Exactly how many were produced has become
a subject of speculation amongst collectors.
One man who should know is Kevin Clancy, Royal Mint curator.
The truth of it is we don't know how many were made.
People might tell you they do know, but the truth is there isn't
a record that says six, seven, eight or however many were made.
Almost certainly less than ten,
and they've sold for in excess of £25,000 in recent times.
It's the story behind this that people are attracted by.
Don't be fooled, there were plenty of forgeries, but you never know.
If you're doing some renovation
and see something shiny in the rubble,
you might just have turned up your own lucky penny.
If you're very lucky, you may unearth more than a penny,
as I discovered in Mildenhall back in 2006.
It's everybody's dream to find buried treasure,
and one freezing January afternoon in 1943,
in the middle of the dark days of World War II,
Gordon Butcher was hard at work
ploughing a field in the middle of Mildenhall in Suffolk.
Suddenly, the plough hit something in the field
and Gordon ran round to see what it was.
He started digging and he unearthed a huge black metal rim
of a large plate, some two foot in diameter.
Gordon quickly fetched his boss,
Sydney Ford, and together,
they dug down into the soil and found many more objects,
including dishes, goblets and spoons,
an astonishing 34 items in all.
Thinking the finds were just pewter or lead, Sydney Ford gathered them
all up and stuffed them into a crude old sack and took them home.
There, he started to clean them up,
and he even straightened out all the dented items quite crudely.
Once they were cleaned up,
he put them on display on the mantelpiece and the sideboard.
In those days, any large, valuable collection found underground
came under the law of treasure trove.
If it was deemed to be lost, it belonged to the finder,
but if it was thought to have been buried intentionally,
it belonged to the Crown
and the finder received a reward related to the value of the hoard.
The find should have been declared immediately,
but it was another three years before it was brought to
the attention of the local authorities
and that came about because a local doctor went round to visit
Ford in his house after the war
and saw the collection on display.
And it was only then that the Mildenhall Treasures were
revealed as the most important collection of Roman silver
ever to be found in Britain.
I've come to the Mildenhall Museum to find out a little bit more
and talk to trustee Peter Merrick.
Peter, thank you very much for joining us.
Now, this is the largest item. Tell me about it.
Yes, it is an extraordinary large thing.
It weighs 18lb, or 8.25 kilograms.
What does it depict? What's going on there?
Well, in the middle, there's Oceanus,
or Neptune, he's been called in Greek times.
And dancing maidens and men all around,
beautiful dresses, with other animals.
It is exquisite.
Let's take a look at some of the other finds
you've got on the table.
It really is a treasure trove.
Yes, we think it's absolutely wonderful.
I've noticed there's a few dents on some of them.
Is that because they've been knocked by a plough over the years?
Well, as far as anyone knows,
the only damage that ever occurred was when they were found.
By the plough. But the whole story is shrouded in mystery.
So what was his reward for finding this?
He got £1,000.
That's nothing, is it, really? Absolutely nothing.
If he'd have reported this straightaway as a find,
he would have got the whole reward, wouldn't he?
Its value, its true value?
Allegedly, he would have got £50,000 for it,
but because he left it for so long, then all he finished up with...
The ploughman, Gordon Butcher, got 1,000 and so did Sid Ford.
It's not a lot, is it?
This is a fantastic collection of treasure.
Who knows? There might be even more out there.
We've got metal detectors going around like lunatics
looking for them.
"Flog It!" expert Anita Manning has eyes like a magpie
when it comes to spotting sparkly, shiny things
and it was just like her to zoom in on something rather special
Marion brought along to a valuation day in Cheshire back in 2012.
These are divine. Tell me about them.
I got these about ten years ago on the internet, £50,
including postage and packing.
When they arrived, they were a bit black,
but when I took a closer look at them,
I realised that they were absolutely exquisite.
I loved my day at "Flog It!" Tatton Park.
Anita Manning was lovely to me, very friendly, she loved my hat pins,
and she's very interested in jewellery
and items like that anyway, so it was just great.
Let's look at the actual items.
We have a little diamond set in silver or a white metal.
I'm not sure yet whether it's a white gold or a silver.
Dating, I would say, the late 1800s
and it would be one of these wonderful, big Belle Epoque hats
that you would wear.
Now, value - you've paid £50 for them.
-Well, somebody a while back offered me £650.
-In your hand?
In my hand, yes, cash.
But I actually declined it.
If you're wanting your 650 in your hand,
you're probably having to consider going with
a reserve of near enough £750.
-Well, I'd be happy for that.
-Shall we give it a go?
Let's give it a go!
And she wasn't disappointed.
740. In the room at 740.
At 740, selling them. At £740.
Which was brilliant,
cos that money went towards my 50th birthday party,
which was coming up later that year
and I had a great time.
I had friends and family, great food, a dance and we all had a great time.
Apart from enjoying a party, Marion is a real second-hand rose.
Those hat pins were part of a covetable collection
of vintage clothing and jewellery she's put together
over several decades.
I've been very lucky over the years of collecting
to acquire some very special pieces
that give a glimpse into our social history, really.
A 94-year-old lady sold these to me on the internet.
The beautiful embroidery on here,
it's so delicate you'd hardly think it was done by hand,
she did as the bombs were falling overhead in Portsmouth.
And she was willing to share her tips on collecting with us.
I'd recommend for anybody, if they were interested
in getting into acquiring items of vintage clothing,
to go along, if they can, to a vintage clothing store -
they're up and down the country - or vintage fairs,
where they actually get the chance to try things on,
see how they fit, see what suits them,
and then you can progress to looking at things online,
but be very careful about measurements,
because vintage clothing can be very different to modern sizing,
so if the measurements aren't given on the description, ask.
So if you're interested in starting out collecting vintage,
the place to start is to really think about your shape, your style,
what do you think would suit you,
because there's different shapes to different eras.
Also, you might be interested in a particular era
because of the music or the dance of that era.
Now, I hope we've inspired you today to go out there, get buying,
start a collection and, remember,
always trade upwards and look for quality
and enjoy yourself. Join us next time for more trade secrets.
This episode is about all that glisters, and expert Anita Manning finds a couple of out-of-this-world compacts.